George Blanda Biography, Life, Interesting Facts
George Blanda started playing professional football in 1949. George Blanda set records as a quarterback and kicker through the 1970s.
Childhood And Early Life
George Blanda was born on September 17, 1927, in Youngwood, Pennsylvania. His father was a coal miner. The family lived in poverty as there were many times that the mines were closed and there was no money for food.
George Blanda enjoyed sports at an early age and excelled in sports such as football, basketball, and track, and field.
George Blanda was a graduate of Youngwood High School. George Blanda attended the University of Kentucky where he was a quarterback and kicker.
When George Blanda was at the University of Kentucky, he ended his college playing career with 120 completions in 242 passes. He also had 12 touchdowns to his statistics. George Blanda signed with the Chicago Bears signed in 1949. As a Bear, George Blanda was mostly a quarterback, but George Blanda also proved his talents as a placekicker. He was able to make long goal kicks. There were also times that he was playing the linebacker spot. The Houston Oilers signed George Blanda on as a quarterback and kicker as well. As an Oiler, George Blanda achieved remarkable statistics including 36 touchdown passes in 1961 and 42 interception passed in 1962.
George Blanda became a leader in passing attempts and completions in the AFL. George Blanda stayed with that team until 1967. At the age of 40, George Blanda had already played for 18 years. However, George Blanda did not retire. Instead, he signed on with the Oakland Raiders. In 1967, the team qualified for the Super Bowl but lost in the postseason.
In 1971, his kicking was also at its best. At the age of 43, he was kicking field goals from 48 yards to 53 yards away. George Blanda retired in 1976 at the age of 48. His nickname was The Grand Old Man as George Blanda was the oldest professional football player with the most seasons anyone had played.
Personal Life And Legacy
George Blanda married his wife Betty Harris in 1949. The couple had two children. They were together until his death. Blanda died on September 27, 2010, at the age of 83. George Blanda set high expectations for the records he made. George Blanda played 340 games during his professional career between 1949 and 1975. That record was broken by two kickers and a punter in the late 2000s. George Blanda also had the most interceptions thrown in a career as a quarterback at 277 before it was broken by Brett Favre.
Awards And Achievements
• AFL Player of the Year, 1961
• Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1981 in his first year of eligibility
• University of Kentucky Hall of Fame
• Ranked 98 in The Sporting News list of 100 Greatest Football Players, 1999
• 53-yard field goal, 1971
• Completed 1,911 of 4,007 pass attempts for 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns
• Held record for most interceptions thrown at 277
• The first player to score more than 2,000 points; total career points = 2,002
• Played 26 seasons, the most ever played
• One of two players to play in four decades
• Oldest player to play in an NFL game at 48 years, 109 days