George Blanda, who in 1970 became a national phenomenon for leading the Oakland Raiders to a number of last-second victories as a place kicker and quarterback at age 43, has died.
Details weren't immediately available, but Raiders official John Herrera confirmed Blanda's passing Monday. Blanda was 83.
A member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Blanda played with the Raiders from 1967 through 1975 as a kicker and backup quarterback. He retired in 1976 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Blanda played 26 professional seasons, starting with the Chicago Bears in 1949 and playing with the Baltimore Colts (1950), the Bears again (1950 through 1958) and joining the new American Football League with the Houston Oilers in 1960.
One of the most prolific passers in AFL history, Blanda played for the Oilers through 1966 before joining the Raiders the following season and ending his career there at age 48.
Blanda is best known for a string of games in 1970 that helped the Raiders win a division title.
He started by throwing three touchdown passes in a 31-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next week, Blanda's 48-yard field goal in Kansas City forged a tie with the Raiders' division rival in the final seconds.
In Oakland the following week, Blanda relieved starter Daryle Lamonica and threw a touchdown pass with 1:34 left to tie the game and kicked the game-winning field goal with three seconds remaining that prompted the Raiders announcer, the late Bill King, to proclaim Blanda ``King of the World.''
Against Denver in the next game, Blanda threw a touchdown pass with 2:28 left for a 24-19 victory, then dispatched the San Diego Chargers 20-17 with a 16-yard field goal in the final seconds.
In Blanda's last game at age 48, he kicked a 41-yard field goal and made an extra point in the 1975 AFC championship game in a 16-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Raiders released a statement mourning the loss of one of their greatest players.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of the great George Blanda. George was a brave Raider and a close friend of Raiders owner Al Davis.
"Our heart goes out to his wife Betty and the Blanda family, and we grieve with them for our great friend."
When Davis presented Blanda for induction into the Hall of Fame, the Raiders owner called Blanda "the greatest clutch player the game of football has ever known."
A private funeral service will be held for the family. A memorial service will be held, with the time and place to be announced at a later date.