December 23, 2015

Highlighted Year: Lyle Blackwood, 1977

Safety, Baltimore Colts

Age: 26
5th season in pro football, 1st with Colts
College: Texas Christian
Height: 6’0”   Weight: 190

Blackwood was an All-Southwest Conference selection in 1971 and ’72. Chosen by the Denver Broncos in the ninth round of the 1973 NFL draft, he was waived prior to the season but signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he was primarily used on special teams, including returning punts. Following three seasons as a backup safety for the Bengals, Blackwood moved on to the Seattle Seahawks in the 1976 expansion draft. After an undistinguished year, he was waived prior to the ’77 season and picked up by the Colts. Thus far, he had started a total of seven games and intercepted two passes in four NFL seasons. Blackwood moved into the lineup at free safety with surprising results.

1977 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Interceptions – 10 [1]
Most interceptions, game – 3 vs. NY Jets 11/20
Int. return yards – 163 [2]
Most int. return yards, game – 64 (on 3 int.) vs. NY Jets 11/20
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 4

Kickoff Returns
Returns – 1
Yards – 24
TDs – 0

Punt Returns
Returns – 7
Yards – 22
Average per return – 3.1
TDs – 0
Longest return – 10 yards

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Divisional playoff vs. Oakland)
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 2

Kickoff returns – 1
Kickoff return yards – 17
Punt returns – 2
Punt return yards – 6
Punt return avg. – 3.0
TDs – 0

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-NFL:  AP

Colts went 10-4 to finish first in the AFC East while finishing second in the NFL in interceptions (30). Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Oakland Raiders (37-31).

Blackwood intercepted four passes in 1978, returning two of them for touchdowns, and had another four in ’79. He lost his starting job in 1980 and moved on to the Miami Dolphins in 1981, where he teamed with his brother Glenn as part of an outstanding safety tandem and enjoyed his greatest notoriety. Blackwood spent the last six years of his career with the Dolphins, before being waived in 1986. He ended up intercepting 35 passes, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and recovering 15 fumbles. 19 of the interceptions and 11 fumble recoveries occurred while with the Colts. He also returned 69 punts for a 4.6-yard average and 20 kickoffs with a 20.2 average.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970