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Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

Raiders Passer Daryle Lamonica Is Dead

Daryle Lamonica, the appropriately nicknamed “Mad Bomber” because of his fondness for the deep pass, and who led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl when he earned the 1967 AFL MVP award, has died at the age of 80.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office stated Lamonica died in his Fresno, California, residence on Thursday morning. His death is considered to be from natural causes.

“The Raiders Family is deeply saddened to learn of Daryle Lamonica’s passing earlier today,” the Raiders announced in a statement. “The Raider Nation will forever miss his easy-going nature and warm smile. Our deepest condolences are with his wife Mary, son Brandon, the rest of the Lamonica family, teammates and friends.”

Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

Lamonica, who played quarterback for the Raiders between a pair of Hall of Famers in Tom Flores and Ken Stabler, was initially drafted into the AFL by the Buffalo Bills out of Notre Dame in 1963. But after starting just four games in four years as Jack Kemp’s backup, he was traded to the Raiders, along with receiver Glenn Bass, for Flores and receiver Art Powell, with draft, picks also involved.

Lamonica was an instant fit in owner Al Davis’ vertical threat offence as he led the AFL with 30 touchdown passes in 1967 while passing for 3,228 yards with targets such as Warren Wells and future Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff, leading the Raiders to a 13-1 record. He threw two TD passes in the Raiders’ 40-7 AFL title-game win over the Houston Oilers and had two more TD passes in the 33-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl II.

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Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

“Each game I’m getting more confidence,” Lamonica told Sports Illustrated in the Nov. 13, 1967 issue. “I feel that I’m becoming a leader. I had to improve in a hurry because I knew they were counting on me. By playing regularly, the game plan is becoming second nature to me. I’m getting to the point where I can see situations on the field and use plays, in special instances, that aren’t even in our game plan. Some day I want to finish a game with 100% completions. But the fans don’t ask about your statistics. All they ask about is whether you win or lose.”

Lamonica led professional football with 145 touchdown passes between 1967 and 1972, 24 more TD passes than Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton in that time frame, and Lamonica’s 16,006 passing yards were the third-most in that span.

Davis told Sports Illustrated at the time the Raiders were “willing to wait a couple of years” for Lamonica to develop and fit in their system.

“We knew we could play defence and we knew we could run the ball, but it was up to Daryle to get our passing game going,” Davis said. “He seems to be doing it sooner than we had expected. Now what we’ve got to watch out for is not to let ourselves get fatheaded.”

Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

Lamonica won the AFL MVP award in 1968 and was named to the first team of All-Pros the following year after leading the league in passing yards (3,302) and touchdown passes (34) with the Oakland Raiders. However, the Raiders were defeated in the AFL championship game by the eventual Super Bowl IV champion Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 at home.

When the Oakland Raiders won their first Super Bowl, Lamonica threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Charlie Smith in the Heidi Game, which was one of the most famous games ever played in professional sports. His 34 TD passes in 1969 remain the Raiders’ single-season franchise record 53 years later. On Nov. 17, 1968, NBC cut away from the Raiders’ 43-32 triumph over the New York Jets to play a children’s movie, so East Coast viewers missed the Raiders’ comeback finale, which saw Oakland score two touchdowns in the final minute.

Against the Chiefs in 1968, Lamonica threw five touchdown passes, and against Houston in 1969, he threw a then-record six. In the playoffs, only Hall of Famer Steve Young and Tom Brady have passed for six touchdowns, and only Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and Patrick Mahomes have had multiple playoff games with five touchdown passes.

Daryle Lamonica Dies At Age 80 – Raiders Star Player In The 60’s

In 1973, Stabler took Lamonica’s place as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, and in 1975, Lamonica played for the Southern California Sun of the World Football League.

With the Raiders, Lamonica had the best-winning % of any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 75 starts, and he threw for 16,655 of his 19,154 career passing yards and 148 of his 164 throwing touchdowns.

Lamonica was picked by the Packers in the 12th round of the NFL draft in 1963 and the Buffalo Bills in the 23rd round of the AFL draft.

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