Category Archives: Oakland Raiders
George Blanda was one of the great stories of professional football. Twenty-six years in the AFL & NFL will do that. But not only did Blanda endure, he succeeded and late in his career, inspired 40-somethings all over the country with his physical exploits while playing against men literally half his age. While the video above doesn’t necessarily focus strictly on the AFL, Blanda talks about some of his inspirations, and what football meant to him.
The Louisiana State University football team was dominant in 1958 & 1959. Paul Dietzel’s recruiting classes of 1955 & 1956 paid huge dividends, and led the Tigers to an NCAA championship in 1958, and a third place national ranking the following year. LSU junior, Billy Cannon, took home the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate football star in ’59, and was joined in the Tiger backfield by three other athletes who all went on to play professional football – Johnny Robinson, J.W. Brodnax, and Warren Rabb.
I found this neat bit of film on YouTube recently. It shows the highlights of the New York Jets playing a preseason game in 1963, against the Oakland Raiders. The game, played before a mere 8,317 fans, featured the former Titans in all-white uniforms, before they unveiled the new jet logo.
While browsing new releases on Amazon a couple of months back, I was pleased to see that a new biography on AFL legend, Billy Cannon, had been written. I placed my order, and when the book arrived, I set it on my stack to read. I completed it just the other night, and sadly, have mixed feelings about it.
Billy Cannon is a fascinating figure. An All-American and Heisman Trophy winner from LSU, the AFL’s first marquee draft choice, a two-time AFL champ, Super Bowl II participant, dentist and felon convicted of counterfeit. There is enough juicy stuff there to keep a storyteller busy for quite some time, and I must say that author Charles deGravelles did a fine job of covering most of the material. In fact, I found the book to be very well-written. DeGravelles touts Cannon’s attributes, but also of pointing out his flaws. He digs a bit into Cannon’s psyche, and tries to determine what led to his ingrained streak of rebellion that got Cannon into several spots of trouble throughout his life.