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Monday, September 27, 2010
Oakland Raiders remember George Blanda

By Bill Williamson

Oakland Raiders legend George Blanda died Monday at the age of 83.

The Raiders put out a release honoring the great former quarterback/kicker, including highlighting one of his finest moments. I will be back with some thoughts later. In the meantime, here is Oakland’s heartfelt goodbye to one of their greats:

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the great George Blanda. George was a brave Raider and a close personal friend of Raiders Owner Al Davis.

When the Raiders Owner presented him for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, Davis called Blanda the greatest clutch player the game of pro football has ever known.

The Miracle of George Blanda in 1970 will live for eternity in the history of the Raiders as well as all of professional football. That year, Blanda’s last-minute heroics as a quarterback and place kicker resulted in four victories and a last-second tie for the Silver and Black.

Our heart goes out to his wife Betty and the Blanda family and we grieve with them for our great friend.

A private funeral service will be held for the family. A memorial service will be held with the time and place to be announced at a later date."

THE MIRACLE OF GEORGE BLANDA—1970

"On October 25, 1970 against Pittsburgh, Blanda came off the bench to throw three touchdowns and kicked a field goal to lead the Raiders to a 31-14 victory.

The next week in Kansas City, he kicked a 48-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to tie the Chiefs at 17. The following Sunday, Blanda came off the bench to throw a touchdown pass to tie Cleveland at 20, then kicked a game-winning 52-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to earn the Raiders a 23-20 win.

The magic continued the next week when Blanda threw a touchdown pass late in the game to defeat Denver, 24-19.

The streak culminated with a 16-yard field goal with seconds remaining to beat San Diego, 20-17. For his supreme efforts and accomplishments, Blanda was honored as the AFC Player of the Year in 1970."