George Blanda, 1927-2010

09/27/2010

Story updated, 9/27/2010, 6:14 p.m. EDT

George Blanda, a Hall of Fame quarterback who also excelled as a kicker, passed away early this morning after a brief illness. He was 83.

Blanda played more seasons than any player in NFL history. He retired following the 1975 season and just shy of his 49th birthday after 26 seasons with the Chicago Bears, Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers, and Oakland Raiders.

A prolific passer, Blanda threw for nearly 27,000 yards and 236 TDs. He is also the first player ever to score 2,000 career points.

“All of us at the Pro Football Hall of Fame are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a great friend and a truly iconic figure in pro football history, George Blanda,” commented the Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director Steve Perry. “A seemingly ageless wonder, George inspired legions of fans over a 26-year career, with his clutch performances as a quarterback and place kicker.  He will be truly missed. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Betty and the entire Blanda family.”

Blanda began his career in 1949 with the Chicago Bears. He was dealt along with four other players to the Baltimore Colts in September of the following season. Two weeks later, the Bears reacquired him from the Colts after he played in just one game for Baltimore. He remained in a Bears uniform through 1958. Aside from handling the kicking duties, he quickly developed into an elite passer.

After a one-year hiatus, he was coaxed out of retirement by the Houston Oilers in the new American Football League. Blanda led the Oilers to back-to-back AFL titles. His finest season came in 1961 when he was named the league’s Player of the Year after throwing a then-record 36 TDs including seven in one game. He remains one of just five passers ever to throw seven touchdowns in a game.

Blanda joined the Raiders in 1967 and played the next nine years in Oakland before retiring. Blanda stepped away from the game just before the start of the 1976 season at age 48. During his tenure with the Raiders, the team never posted a losing season and won eight division titles.  His most memorable year in Oakland came during the 1970 season when he, at age 43, strung together five straight last-minute heroic efforts for the Raiders.

In all, Blanda played in 340 regular season games, completed 1,911 of 4,007 passes for 26,920 yards, 236 touchdowns, and 277 interceptions. His then-record 2,002 points came via 943 extra points, 335 field goals, and nine rushing touchdowns.

He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981 in his first year of eligibility.

There will be a private funeral service for the family. A memorial service will be held at a time and location to be announced later.


More from Profootballhof.com:

 Blanda’s HOF Bio
 Photo Gallery: George Blanda - Class of 1981
 Blanda throws for 300 yards, 3 TDs in first AFL Championship Game
 Blanda's memorable 1970 seasonHall of Fame display
 QBs with 7 TDs in game
 Top 20 Scorers
 Defunct Teams - Baltimore Colts (1947-49 AAFC, 1950 NFL)


Blanda, George, Chicago Bears Oakland Raiders Tennessee Titans
Recent Comments
  • KUJNE - July 28 2012 04:25 AM

    Wow.. It's so great. and you can visit http://www.jerseystribes.com/. Thank you!

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  • Fran Haefner - December 03 2010 12:20 PM

    Loved George Blanda, he was all the rage when I started following the game. To a young kid in the early 70s, it was cool to see someone that old playing so well. Kind of an inspiration for me 40 years later!

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  • Allen Eble - September 30 2010 03:43 PM

    One of the Greatest Legends in professional football has passed away. He leaves a legacy of wonderful memories and exciting moments that cannot be surpassed due to his passion for the sport and his unbelievable talent that continued through his amazing 26 year career. It was an exceptional moment in my life to have met and talked to him,and also recieve his autograph. After watching him play throughout his career,and sharing memories of him with others for the past 50 years I am truly saddened by his passing. My deepest condolances to his Wife, Children, and Family. May you always know our appreciation for sharing his life with us,his greatest fans

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  • tom - September 28 2010 07:36 PM

    george blanda is one reason that i am a lifetime oakland raider fan. i also became a kicker although soccer style. my son is also a raider fan and went on to get his college paid for as a kicker. thank you george blanda.. from singlewing

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  • Richard - September 27 2010 09:36 PM

    I watched the Raiders when I was young and Lamonica was QB and there was George Blanda the GREATNESS with an arm and foot RIP GEORGE ! Richard Right

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