November 11, 2015

Highlighted Year: George Blanda, 1963

Quarterback/Placekicker, Houston Oilers

Age:  36 (Sept. 17)
14th season in pro football, 4th in AFL & with Oilers
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 Championship. Blanda was still an AFL All-Star choice in ’62 as he threw for 2810 passing yards and 27 TDs, but he was intercepted 42 times. Houston topped the Eastern Division for the third straight year, losing the AFL title to the Dallas Texans in overtime.

1963 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Attempts – 423 [1]
Most attempts, game – 43 at Denver 10/13
Completions – 224 [1]
Most completions, game – 25 at NY Jets 9/22
Yards – 3003 [1]
Most yards, game – 342 at Oakland 12/22
Completion percentage – 53.0 [3]
Yards per attempt – 7.1 [5]
TD passes – 24 [2]
Most TD passes, game – 5 at Oakland 12/22
Interceptions – 25 [1]
Most interceptions, game – 5 vs. Oakland 9/7
Passer rating – 70.1 [4]
300-yard passing games – 2
200-yard passing games – 10

Attempts – 4
Yards – 1
Yards per attempt – 0.3
TDs – 0

Field goals – 9 [5, tied with Dick Guesman]
Most field goals, game – 2 vs. Oakland 9/7, vs. Denver 9/14
Field goal attempts – 24 [4, tied with Dick Guesman & Mack Yoho]
Most field goal attempts, game – 6 vs. Denver 9/14
Field goal percentage – 37.5 [7]
PATs – 39 [3]
PAT attempts – 39 [3]
Longest field goal – 46 yards vs. Oakland 9/7, at Boston 11/1

Field goals – 9
PATs – 39
Points – 66 [7, tied with Lance Alworth]

Awards & Honors:
2nd team All-AFL: AP, NY Daily News
AFL All-Star Game

Oilers went 6-8 to finish third in the AFL Eastern Division while leading the league in passing yards (3210).

Blanda led the AFL in both passes and completions in 1964 and ’65, although again in interceptions as well. The team’s record tailed off badly and QB Don Trull was drafted and groomed to be Blanda’s replacement. At age 39, Blanda was let go by Houston following the 1966 season and signed with the Oakland Raiders. He proved to be a capable backup quarterback, especially in a remarkable 1970 season when he again received MVP consideration, and placekicker for the Raiders through 1975, at age 48. Blanda retired as the all-time NFL leader in scoring (2002 points) and field goals (335), as well as seasons played (26 – the record that still stands), 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

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