George Blanda Dies at Age 83: Oakland Raiders Lose Another Hall of Famer

Lower the flags to half-mast.

Turn on the autumn wind.

Break out the photo albums.

George Blanda is no longer among us, Raider Nation.

George, known for his never-ending career and the ability to keep going when other athletes simply ran out of energy, passed away today, 11 days after his 83rd birthday.

For those of us who grew up hearing about his stories, he was a legend in Silver and Black, a kicker who could also pass, a scoring weapon that could beat opponents two ways.

His career would start back when your dad was born, in the 1940s, and would end in the 1970s—1975 to be precise.

Playing originally with the Chicago Bears, George Blanda played nine seasons, plus a part of the Baltimore season in 1950, handling linebacker duties at times. He also got tired of being put in a box, being told he could only kick, and he elected to retire in 1958.

It was short-lived, as the Houston Oilers approached him in 1960 to handle both passing and kicking duties...and it was a good matchup. The Oilers would win the first two AFL titles, with Blanda winning the 1961 Player of the Year award. Blanda has been known at times to say that the Oilers could have beaten the Packers back then, but no Super Bowl existed until some years later.

While his passing was effective, at times it also suffered. He set a record for interceptions, 42 in 1962, that still stands to this day.

Early in 1967 though, the Oilers felt Blanda's career had run dry and opted to release him. Only someone desperate—or creative—might consider him at his age...he was 39, going to be 40 in September...who would?

Oakland, of course.

The Raiders brought in George Blanda, using him as a kicker and an emergency quarterback should Daryle Lamonica go down injured. He would score 116 points in the season, as the Raiders would end their year in the S...

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