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View Diary: "The Grand Old Man": Memories of a Famous Season. George Blanda and the 1970 Raiders (70 comments)

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  •  Also a Blanda fan (6+ / 0-)

    And I, too, think he's probably my favorite player (although Unitas would come close). Growing up in South Florida, we didn't have professional sports teams to follow. I'm not sure how the arrangement worked, but one of the networks began airing Houston Oilers games—probably in 1960—and we (Dad and brother) became fans.

    We quickly got to know the roster and followed the team religiously. I remember Billy Cannon (mentioned above) and I remember Charlie Tolar (the Human Bowling Ball who fought oil well fires in the off season). Looking at the old rosters just now, I note Wahoo McDaniel, John Henry Johnson, and Ernie Ladd, but there are too many years gone by to remember more.

    I lost interest in the Oilers when the Dolphins were formed, but Blanda was indelibly etched in my memory, and I continued to marvel and follow him in his peregrinations throughout the league(s). I suffered through the George Wilson years, the building years with Shula, and even though I left South Florida, I was there in spirit for the magic '72 season. Still, though, Blanda kept showing up. In my fandom for the Oilers and the Dolphins, one team kept cropping up with spoiler performances (or so it seemed). That was the Raiders…and Blanda. Talk about mixed emotions.

    I hoped he would play longer, just like Gordie Howe, but 48 isn't too bad, and like Ryan's seven no hitters, it's hard to imagine that mark to be broken. In those Oiler years, it was hard to imagine (or experience) a predicament Blanda couldn't pull the team out of.

    Oh, by the way—back in those days, the leading scorer of the league was always a competition between place kickers—they're involved in every score except safeties. Blanda, with his odd TD run and all of his kicks was usually in the thick of the comptetition. He's still #6 on the all time list—and ahead of his long time rival, Jan Stenerud.

    LRod—UID 238035
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    by exatc on Sat Sep 07, 2013 at 10:44:43 AM PDT

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