Category Archives: Daryle Lamonica
We all love to speculate what would have been in the AFL. Here is a fun guest post by author and historian, Dave Steidel, wondering how the Raiders would have fared if Daryle Lamonica had never worn the silver & black.
The “what ifs” of the sports world are usually an exercise in speculation, and although there are theories a plenty, can never be proven beyond the articulation and long winded debates. “What if the Yankees really did trade Joe DiMaggio to the Red Sox for Ted Williams?” “What if Mickey Mantle had not stepped into that drain in Yankee Stadium during his rookie year?” “What if Lance Alworth had not been traded from the Raiders to the Chargers?” Even more paramount “What if the Bidwell’s did sell the Chicago Cardinals to Lamar Hunt, or the NFL expansion committee had allowed Hunt and Bud Adams a franchise when they could not purchase those Cardinals?” On and on we could go with the “what ifs” of the sports might have beens. But here’s one that I found that could have set off some interesting and speculative conversations that could have altered the fortunes of more than one AFL franchise and at least two college football powerhouses.
When the AFL began in 1960, the Raiders and Titans (later Jets), were two of the most feeble franchises in the league. However, by the late 1960s, both teams had been completely overhauled, and were among the AFL powerhouses. Dave Steidel takes a look at how these two teams fared against each other in 1967.
Since Joe Namath was a rookie and became a starter late in 1965 the Jets and Raiders have played to final scores of 24-24, 24-14 Raiders, and in 1966, 24-21 Raiders and 28-28. So when the two met in the fourth week of the 1967 season it was as both franchises were on the rise and each ready to establish themselves as the elite team of their respective divisions. After two consecutive 8-5-1 finishes Oakland had finally found their leader in new quarterback Daryle Lamonica whom they acquired in a trade with Buffalo. And Jet coach Weeb Ewbank, who had successfully mentored Johnny Unitas into the best quarterback in the NFL, was becoming more convincing in the change of mindset he felt necessary for his formidable but oft times distracted young play caller.
Daryle Lamonica floundered in relative anonymity for four seasons on the Buffalo Bills bench, backing up the great Jack Kemp. Once he arrived in Oakland, however, his cannon-like right arm melded with Al Davis’s penchant for the deep pass, and thus Lamonia earned his nickname, The Mad Bomber. This video illustrates a few points very well:
- Lamonica could throw a ball 50 yards with very little effort.
- #81 Warren Wells had phenomenal breakaway speed. He is practically uncovered in many of these clips.
- Al Davis LOVED the deep pass.
In 1969, two men were chosen as Most Valuable Players of the American Football League. Both were quarterbacks, and oddly enough, they had individually been selected for the same honor in the previous two years as well. Quarterbacks Daryle Lamonica (MVP – 1967) and Joe Namath (MVP – 1968) split the honor in 1969, the last season for the American Football League prior to the merger with the NFL.
Daryl “The Mad Bomber” Lamonica wasted no time putting the ball into the air, and leading the silver and black to victory. In 1967, his first season in Oakland, Lamonica threw the ball 425 times, completing 220 of those passes for 3,228 yards and a league-leading 30 touchdowns. The Raiders went 13-1 under Lamonica’s leadership, and ran away with the AFL Western Division title. In the AFL championship game, Lamonica threw for two touchdowns and rushed for another as he led Oakland to a 40-7 victory over the Houston Oilers.