Blanda, George (1927-2010)

Card: Topps 1972
Acquired: TTM 2010, c/o home
Sent: 3/26  Received: 4/13  (18 days)

This card was the oldest card in my collection (for a time) ironically because my friend Josh brought over his card collection and accidentally spilled them all over the floor. He let me have this card, because he thought it was in such bad condition that it was trash.  Being the big Oiler fan I am, I knew about George’s history with the team, but it never seemed to cross my mind to locate him for an autograph and for many years the card languished in my collection.  I started a TTM drive to get autographs of many of the classic Oilers after watching the NFL Network presentation of “Full Color Football”. (While the broadcast gives the AFL some credit, it still failed to give the Oilers teams credit of the early 60s, Charlie Hennigan any exposure, and does not acknowledge the contributions of many of our now injured and fallen gladiators in dire need of medical attention and pension assistance.) George was at the top of the list.

George Blanda is an amazing story of longevity in sports history. In a sport like football, with players average playing time of less than 5 years, Blanda would play in 4 different decades, spanning 26 seasons, longer than any other player in football history. He began playing for the NFL in 1949 for the Bears, where he’d play for 10 seasons. Forced with an ultimatum to become a kicker full time and not a quarterback, he opted to retire; However fate would smile upon “The Grand Old Man” who was granted a reprieve when the upstart AFL started in 1960. Signed by the Houston Oilers, he led them to the first 3 championships, winning the first and second with an impressive aerial attack. After seven seasons, he’d move on to play with the Raiders, where he served as backup quarterback and kicker for the team for an additional nine seasons. Blanda at the time of his retirement held the record for most games played and most points scored. He was inducted into the Pro Football HOF in 1981.

George Blanda passed away quietly at the age of 84 on September 27th, 2010. He is survived by his wife and 11 children.

G 340   Att 4007   Comp 1911    Avg 47.6    Yds 26920
Td 236    Int 277
FG 335    Att 641   XPA 943    XPM 959    Pts 2002