Daryl Lamonica, the deep-throwing quarterback who won the NFL Player of the Year award and led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance, has passed away. He was 80 years old.
The Fresno County Sheriff said Lamonica died at his home in Fresno, California, Thursday morning. Death is considered to be of natural causes.
The Raiders acquired Lamonica in a deal from Buffalo in 1967 and was immediately the perfect fit for vertical attacking owner Al Davis that he was coveting for his franchise.
Nicknamed the “Mad Bomber,” Lamonica made an immediate impact in Oakland after starting just four games in four seasons with the Bills.
Lamonica’s deep arm teamed up with receivers like Warren Wells and Fred Pletnikov and turned the Raiders into a force. They went 13-1 in his first season as Lamonica was the first All-Pro and AP AFL Player of the Year, and he led the league with 30 touchdown passes.
Lamonica then threw two passes from TD in the victory over Houston in an NFL title game to send the Raiders to their first Super Bowl, where they lost 33-14 to Green Bay.
In his six seasons initially with the Raiders, Lamonica was one of the most prolific passers-by in the game, leading professional football with 145 touchdown passes – 24 more than second-placed Fran Tarkinton. His 16,066-yard passes ranked third from 1967 to ’72.
Lamonica was an All-Pro Championship back in 1969 when he led the AFL with 3,302 passing yards and 34 touchdowns. The 34 TDs still stand as the franchise’s single-season record after more than half a century.
He was at his best during the playoffs, throwing five TD assists in a 41-6 win over Kansas City in 1968 and a record six the following season against Houston. Only Steve Young and Tom Brady He equaled Lamonica’s six passes in TD in a playoff match and only Patrick Mahomes And Kurt Warner have several games with at least five games.
Lamonica also starred in one of the most memorable games of all time, throwing four TD passes, including Charlie Smith’s green score, in a 43-32 win over the Gates in what is now known as the “Heidi Game” because NBC walked away from The end is on the east coast before the invaders return to show the children’s movie.
Lamonica was replaced as a starter in 1973 by Ken Stabler and in the following season he went to the World Football League, where he ended his career.
Lamonica accumulated 19,154 passing yards and 164 stopping points. The Raiders went 62-16-6 in his starts for the best winning percentage of any Novice QB in the Super Bowl era with at least 75 starts.
Lamonica was born and raised in Fresno before attending university in Notre Dame. He was drafted in round 12 by Green Bay and round 23 by the Bills in 1963 and chose to go to the AFL. He was Jack Kemp’s backup in Buffalo before he became a star in Oakland.
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