Three AFL Championship rings, dozens of awards and several milestone game balls going back to his college football days at the University of Kentucky will be on the block early next year when SCP Auctions offers items from the career of football legend George Blanda.
All items offered come directly from his family and include his 1967 AFL championship ring, his 1974 NFL Man of the Year award, (the only Raider ever to win it), a 1948 University of Kentucky vs Tennessee game ball, an autographed record-breaking AFL game ball and his 1970 AFC MVP award.
“We are very excited to bring George Blanda’s football memorabilia to auction,” said SCP Auctions President David Kohler. “He was such an exciting and durable NFL player for so many years. Fans just loved him.”
Probably best known for his years with the Oakland Raiders in the 1960s and 70s, Blanda’s pro career lasted from 1949 through 1975, when he retired at age 48. He’s one of only four players in history to have competed in four different NFL decades.
Blanda entered the NFL after playing for Paul “Bear” Bryant at the University of Kentucky, spent time at quarterback and kicker for George Halas and the Chicago Bears, moved to the AFL’s Houston Oilers and finished as John Madden’s kicking specialist in Oakland.
Selected by the Chicago Bears in the 1949 NFL Draft, Blanda emerged as the Bears’ top signal-caller in 1953 but an injury the following season effectively ended his first-string status. For the next four years he was used mostly as a kicker and just before the ‘59 season, tired of only kicking, Blanda retired.
A year later, the American Football League was born and Blanda found a new opportunity as the starting QB and kicker for the Houston Oilers, promptly leading them to the league’s first two championships. He was named AFL Player of the Year in ’61 when he threw for an unprecedented 3,330 yards and 36 TD passes including seven in one game.
He played seven seasons in Houston before joining the Raiders in 1967 (just in time for the AFL-NFL merger) where his legacy continued well into his 40’s as the most dependable kicker in the league.
Blanda threw for a total of 26,920 yards and 236 touchdowns, kicked 335 field goals and 943 extra points in his patented straight-ahead approach, and retired in 1976 at the age of 48 as the game’s all-time leading scorer with 2,002 points. Blanda was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981 in his first year of eligibility and passed away on Sept. 17, 2010, at the age of 83.