Mike Stratton, one of the American Football League’s greatest linebackers and a member of the Bills Wall of Fame, has died at the age of 78.
Stratton is best remembered for what has been described as “The hit heard ’round the world” in the 1964 AFL Championship Game. Stratton leveled Chargers star running back Keith Lincoln, breaking his ribs and knocking him out of the game, and that hit turned the tide in a game that the Bills were trailing but came back to win. Chargers head coach Sid Gillman called Stratton’s hit, “one of the most beautiful tackles I have ever seen in my life.”
But Stratton’s career consisted of much more than one play. He was a six-time AFL All-Star, and a leader on a Bills defense that went 17 consecutive games without allowing a rushing touchdown, a professional football record. The Bills put Stratton on their Wall of Fame and named him to their 25th anniversary and 50th anniversary all-time teams.
The team announced that Stratton died of heart complications after a recent fall.