Tuesday, September 28, 2010

George Blanda (1927-2010)

He will be remembered as the oldest player to ever appear in an NFL game, a feat likely to be eclipsed by Brett Favre by the end of the decade (though that's another story), but the entire sports world was mourning on Monday afternoon with news of the passing of George Blanda at 83.

Blanda, who played for the Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans) and the Oakland Raiders for much of his stint in the AFL & NFL in the 60's & 70's, was both a star quarterback and placekicker, something else rarely seen in the pros these days. Blanda was one of the last of the straight-ahead kickers, as the position now is dominated by soccer-style players. He retired prior to the start of the 1976 season, a month short of his 49th birthday. We see baseball players continue in the major leagues deep into their 40's. Julio Franco, for example, retired just shy of his 50th birthday after finishing his career with Atlanta and the Mets. Indeed, unless the next generation of players includes a few with the versatility and toughness of Blanda, we won't see anyone with his talent again.

Rest in peace, George. You'll be missed.

No comments: