January 18, 2016

Highlighted Year: George Blanda, 1967

Quarterback/Placekicker, Oakland Raiders

Age:  40 (Sept. 17)
18th season in pro football, 8th in AFL & 1st with Raiders
College: Kentucky
Height: 6’2”   Weight: 215

Blanda was chosen by the Chicago Bears in the 12th round of the 1949 NFL draft and, with a very brief hiatus in Baltimore, played for them for ten years. He led the league in passing attempts (362) and completions (169) in 1953, but otherwise was forced to share the quarterback job while handling the placekicking. After two seasons (1957 & ’58) in which he saw scant action at quarterback, he retired. The creation of the new AFL in 1960 pulled Blanda out of retirement, and he led the Oilers to the first league title while throwing for 2413 yards and 24 touchdowns. He followed that up with a 1961 season that started slowly (he was actually briefly benched) but ended up with his winning AFL Player of the Year honors, leading the league in passing yards (3330) and yards per attempt (9.2) as well as tossing a record 36 TD passes (tied by Y.A. Tittle in the NFL in 1963 but not broken until 1984) as the Oilers, following a fortuitous coaching change, went on to win a second AFL title. Blanda was an AFL All-Star after each of the next two seasons and led the Oilers back to the AFL Championship game in ’62 despite being intercepted a record 42 times. He led the league in interceptions thrown for four straight years (1962-65), but also in passing yards in 1963 (3003) and both passes and completions from 1963-65. The team’s record had tailed off badly after ’62, however, and young QB Don Trull was drafted to be Blanda’s replacement. At age 39, Blanda was let go by Houston following the 1966 season and signed with the Oakland Raiders.

1967 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 38 [15]
Most attempts, game – 13 vs. Buffalo 12/24
Completions – 15 [15]
Most completions, game – 3 vs. Denver 9/10, at Kansas City 11/23, vs. Buffalo 12/24
Yards – 285 [13]
Most yards, game – 111 vs. Denver 9/10
Completion percentage – 39.5
Yards per attempt – 7.5
TD passes – 3 [10, tied with Jacky Lee]
Most TD passes, game – 1 vs. Denver 9/10, at Boston 10/22, vs. San Diego 10/29
Interceptions – 3 [14]
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Buffalo 12/24
Passer rating – 59.6

Field goals – 20 [2]
Most field goals, game – 4 at Houston 12/10
Field goal attempts – 30 [4, tied with Dick Van Raaphorst]
Most field goal attempts, game – 5 vs. Kansas City 10/1, at Houston 12/10
Field goal percentage – 66.7 [1]
PATs – 56 [1]
PAT attempts – 57 [1]
Longest field goal – 46 yards at Denver 11/5

Field goals – 20
PATs – 56
Points – 116 [1]

Postseason: 2 G
Pass attempts – 2
Pass completions – 0
Interceptions – 0

Field goals – 4
Most field goals, game – 4 vs. Houston, AFL Championship
Field goal attempts – 7
Most field goal attempts, game – 6 vs. Houston, AFL Championship
PATs – 6
Most PATs, game – 4 vs. Houston, AFL Championship
PAT attempts – 6
Longest field goal – 42 yards vs. Houston, AFL Championship

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-AFL: Sporting News
AFL All-Star Game

Raiders went 13-1 to finish first in the AFL Western Division while leading the league in scoring (466 points) and TDs (58). Won AFL Championship over Houston Oilers (40-7). Lost Super Bowl to Green Bay Packers (33-14).

Blanda followed up in 1968 by kicking 21 field goals and 54 PATs for a total of 105 points, and he also started a game at quarterback. After a similar year in ’69, both Blanda’s quarterbacking and placekicking came into play in 1970 as he put together a remarkable string of clutch performances during the season and received the Bert Bell Award from the Maxwell Club as NFL Player of the Year. Blanda remained a capable backup quarterback and placekicker for the Raiders through 1975, at age 48. He retired as the all-time NFL leader in scoring (2002 points) and field goals (335) at the time, as well as seasons played (26), and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1981.


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