Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica, known as “The Mad Bomber,” passed away at age 80 from unknown causes. He was a part of the first NFL draft class that included African-American players in 1962.
Daryle Lamonica, who was a prolific Raiders passer and the first player in pro football history to pass for over 4,000 yards in a season died at the age of 80.
Daryle Lamonica, dubbed “Mad Bomber” for his fondness for the long throw, died at the age of 80. He led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl victory when he earned the 1967 AFL MVP award.
Lamonica died on Thursday morning at his home in Fresno, California, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. His death is said to have occurred as a result of natural causes.
The Raiders released a statement saying, “The Raiders Family is extremely sorry to hear of Daryle Lamonica’s death earlier today.” “His easygoing demeanor and pleasant smile will be sorely missed by Raider Nation. His wife Mary, son Brandon, the rest of the Lamonica family, teammates, and friends have our heartfelt sympathies.”
Lamonica was chosen into the AFL by the Buffalo Bills out of Notre Dame in 1963, and he played quarterback for the Raiders between two Hall of Famers in Tom Flores and Ken Stabler. However, after playing just four games as Jack Kemp’s backup in four years, he was sold to the Raiders, along with receiver Glenn Bass, for Flores and receiver Art Powell, as well as draft selections.
Daryle Lamonica was a successful thrower in the American Football League, leading the league with 145 touchdown passes in his six seasons as a starter with the Raiders. With 34 touchdown passes in a single season, he still retains the Raiders record. Getty Images/Focus on Sport
Lamonica was an immediate fit in Raiders owner Al Davis’ vertical threat style, leading the AFL with 30 touchdown passes while throwing for 3,228 yards and guiding the Raiders to a 13-1 record with receivers like Warren Wells and future Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff. He threw two touchdown passes in the Raiders’ 40-7 AFL championship game victory against the Houston Oilers, and two more in the Raiders’ 33-14 Super Bowl II defeat to the Green Bay Packers.
In the November 13, 1967 edition of Sports Illustrated, Lamonica said, “Each game I get more confidence.” “I’m starting to feel like a leader. Because I knew they were dependent on me, I had to improve quickly. The game strategy is becoming second nature to me as I play on a daily basis. I’m getting to the point where I can identify scenarios on the field and employ plays that aren’t even in our game plan in exceptional circumstances. I’d want to complete a game with 100 percent completions one day. Fans, on the other hand, do not inquire about your statistics. They just want to know whether you won or lost.”
Between 1967 and 1972, Lamonica led professional football with 145 touchdown passes, 24 more than Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton during that time period, while Lamonica’s 16,006 throwing yards were third highest during that time period.
The Raiders were “prepared to wait a couple of years” for Lamonica to mature and fit into their system, Davis told Sports Illustrated at the time.
“We knew we could play defense and run the ball,” Davis said, “but it was up to Daryle to get our passing game working.” “He seems to be doing it earlier than we anticipated. Now we have to be careful not to grow too fat-headed.”
Lamonica was named UPI’s AFL MVP and a first-team All-Pro two years later, after leading the AFL in passing yards (3,302) and touchdown passes (34) while leading the Raiders to a 12-1-1 record. However, the Raiders were defeated 17-7 at home in the AFL title game by the eventual Super Bowl IV champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Lamonica’s 34 touchdown passes in 1969 remain the Raiders’ single-season team record 53 years later, and he played a key part in one of pro football’s most famous games, the Heidi Game, in which he completed four touchdown passes, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Charlie Smith. However, East Coast fans missed the Raiders’ 43-32 victory against the New York Jets on Nov. 17, 1968, when Oakland scored two touchdowns in the last minute, as NBC moved away from the game late to air the children’s film.
Lamonica shone greatest in the playoffs, tossing five touchdown passes against the Chiefs in 1968 and a still-record six against Houston in 1969. Only Hall of Famers Steve Young and Tom Brady have thrown six touchdown passes in a postseason game, and only Hall of Famers Kurt Warner and Patrick Mahomes have thrown at least five touchdown passes in successive playoff games.
Lamonica was displaced as the Raiders’ starting quarterback by Stabler in 1973, and Lamonica played for the World Football League’s Southern California Sun in 1975.
With the Raiders, Lamonica went 62-16-6, the greatest winning % of any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 75 games, and 16,655 of his 19,154 career throwing yards and 148 of his 164 passing touchdowns were with the Raiders.
Lamonica was born and reared in Fresno and attended Clovis High School. He was picked by the Packers in the 12th round of the NFL selection in 1963 and the Bills in the 23rd round of the AFL draft in 1964.
Daryle Lamonica, known as “The Mad Bomber” for his exploits with the Oakland Raiders during their 1970s heyday, died of heart failure at age 80 in his hometown of San Diego. Reference: daryle lamonica number.
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