Cards: Fleer 1961, Fleer 1962
Acquired: TTM 2013, C/o Home
Sent: 3/4 Received: 3/11 (7 days)
Bill Groman was one of the original AFL Houston Oilers hailing from tiny Heidelberg University in Tiffin, OH. During his time at the school he showed versatility playing End, Flanker, Offensive End, and Split End. Bill earned All-American Honors in 1957.
He signed with the upstart AFL Houston Oilers in 1960 and was a part of a powerhouse offense that included George Blanda, Charlie Hennigan, and Billy Cannon. The offense lit opposing teams up scoring 379 points that season in only 14 games. Early on Bill became a star on the team and in the league. He’d dispense with opposing team’s defensive backs with ease. In 1960, he recorded 1473 yards on 72 receptions, to go along with 12 touchdowns- one of them for 92 yards. His yards, yards per reception, yards from scrimmage, and long catch, all led the league. He was a shoe-in for All-AFL his rookie year, and the team walked away that season with the championship. In 1961, he only had 50 receptions, but for a mind boggling 23.5 yards per reception, and 17 touchdowns to lead the league- in only 12 games. Again he was named All-AFL and the team won its second championship. Between he and Hennigan over those two years, they combined to be one of the best duos in early modern history with over 5,000 yards and almost 50 touchdowns. Groman’s rookie season for yards, combined with his Sophomore season, have never been bettered, even by modern pass-happy offenses with guys like Anquan Boldin and Randy Moss last taking their shots.
Groman suffered a grizzly knee injury during the 1962 AFL Championship Game, and an equally bad surgical repair that next year. He later signed with the Denver Broncos, playing there for one season in 1963, and the Buffalo Bills in 1964 and 1965, where he provided depth for the young receiving corps. The Bills won the AFL Championship those two seasons as well. Groman all told, appeared in 5 AFL Championship games in his 6 seasons in the league, winning 4 of them. He is the only player in the history of the league to be able to make that statement.
G 66 Rec 174 Yds 3481 Avg 20.8 Td 36 Lg 92t
UPDATE: 6/22/20- Bill Groman passed away of natural causes this week at the age of 83.