An AFL Legend: George Blanda

Some of the early success of the AFL can be attributed to players with previous NFL experience who signed on with the new league and helped lend immediate leadership on the field.  George Blanda was one of those players.  Formerly a quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Blanda had been out of football for a year when the AFL began in 1960.  After being courted by several teams, Blanda signed with Houston and promptly led the Oilers to AFL championships in 1960 and 1961.  He eventually left the Oilers, but again reestablished himself, this time as a kicker and back-up quarterback with the Oakland Raiders.  Blanda was the AFL Most Valuable Player in 1961, a three-time AFL champion, and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

This video was put together by NFL Films after George Blanda passed away in 2010.

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

4 Responses to An AFL Legend: George Blanda

  1. rick smith says:

    That looks like Clarence Davis, a from USC good running back and 59-foot shot putter at Washington High in L.A. He wasn’t that big, but tough guy who died several years ago from a muscular-neuro problem, i think. Made catch that beat Miami in epic 1974 playoff. I think that’s Raiders doctor, Rosenfeld with Blanda and Davis.

    • Tom says:


      By most accounts Clarence Davis is still alive but as you say has experienced serious health problems. In 1967 Clarence was the LA City High School Shot Put Champ and in 1968 Sam Cunningham Santa Barbara Hi won CIF SS in the event. When do you think both City and CIF SP champs will be in SC or any other D1 or NFL back field ever again? My guess is never. Dave Brown was LA City SP champ in 1968 and all three later were USC teammates, Brown played Center.
      Clarence played linebacker at Washington Hi the only High School in America to produce three PFHOFers Bill Walsh, Hugh McElhenny and James Lofton (Walsh did not graduate but attended) .In 1968 Clarence played on East Los Angeles Junior Colleges California State Championship team the school that earlier produced NFLs Brady Keys and AFL/NFL star Ben Davidson.

  2. Howard says:

    I met George Blanda at a banquet in Boston in the late 1980’s. He was a terrific guy. He was funny, opinionated, and very knowledgeable about matters of sport and non-sport. I remember he said that he was shocked at the success of John Madden. He said Madden when coaching Oakland did not come across as the funny, “guy next door” type that made him such a broadcasting giant.

  3. John W says:

    Please feel free to check out my folder of old Oilers photos. There may be some that you have not seen yet.

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