Bye, George

“Waiting for the snap . . . fourth down . . . here it is . . .snap! spotted down! It’s kicked. That’s got a chance. That is — good! It’s good — Holy Toledo! Holy Toledo! This place has gone wild. I don’t believe it! I do not believe it! There are three seconds left in the game. If you can hear me, this place has gone wild . . . the Oakland Raiders 23! . . . the Cleveland Browns 20!

“George Blanda has just been elected king of the world! I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! Holy Toledo! It went 53 . . . no 52 yards! George Blanda has just been elected king of the world!”

That was Raiders radio announcer Bill King’s call of George Blanda’s 52-yard field goal to beat the Cleveland Browns at the Coliseum on Nov. 20, 1970.

I remember it all, and not just because I’ve heard the replay dozens of time since as well as thousands of times in my mind. King’s inflection . . . “that’s got a chance . . . told listeners something truly remarkable was happening, and happening a week after Blanda pulled out a 17-17 tie with the Chiefs in Kansas City with a 48-yard field goal.

If you’re old enough to remember rollling your eyes when your parents told you stories about huddling around the radio as if it were a television set, you may remember that at the time Blanda was in his five-week streak of miracles, the NFL blackout rule was even more ridiculous than it is today.

Home games were blacked out. Period. Didn’t matter if it was a sellout or not. I watched the 17-17 tie with Kansas City on television (while at the same time listening to King on the radio, of course). The Cleveland game was for ears only, yet remains one of the most memorable moments in my mind in club history.

It was the quintissential Bill King call corresponding with the perfect Blanda moment. It happened when I was 12 years old, but thinking about it can bring chills to the spine, one of those instances that lets me know that although I haven’t been a fan for years, I remember what it’s like.

I was delighted when my dad eventually go a chance to get season tickets, even if they were only for half of the games for the first year or two.

I eventually met King, having covered a lot of baseball when he was the A’s radio announcer. I met Blanda only in passing, saying hello when introduced by a Raiders employee.

He had a reputation for being difficult with reporters, so I figured it was best if I didn’t mention to him that I remembered the time the Raiders practiced in my neighborhood at Chabot College in Hayward. My dad had heard about it somehow, and I rounded up a few friends to go watch.

We stood in the end zone as Blanda, square-toed shoe and all, practiced kicking field goals while a bunch of kids _ me included _ shagged balls. I don’t remember who the holder was, but the center was Jim Otto. Two future Hall of Famers getting in some work and entertaining some kids in the process.

Those are my most vivid Blanda memories.

A few more Blanda links:

My Blanda obituary for the Bay Area News group.

Monte Poole’s column on Blanda.

Jeff Faraudo’s story and interview with Blanda last month regarding his longevity.

A sampling of what people are saying about Blanda and his legacy.

A look back at the five-game run that made Blanda famous in 1970.

A MediaNews editorial which calls Blanda “one of a kind.”

A slide show tribute to Blanda.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • RaiderDebo

    1. I’m still not sure how the Bears have found their way to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, but I do know they’re the last and most unlikely team to be perfect in the NFC. This Chicago team is living something of a charmed existence so far in 2010; and in its own way, this game deserves to be right there alongside the Week 1 win over the Lions, in terms of winning with good fortune. It’s true that Chicago hasn’t played a complete game yet, but it’s also true the Bears haven’t lost yet, either. Would you rather be lucky or good?

    Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was his team’s poster child for this peculiar game. He threw one interception against Green Bay, but it could have easily been five. The Packers dropped two passes that were right in their hands (Nick Collins and Charles Woodson) and penalties wiped out two other Green Bay picks. When you add in Green Bay’s team-record 18 penalties for 152 yards (breaking a record set in 1945), and the Packers’ special-team lapses, this had the feel of a self-inflicted Green Bay loss more than an impressive Chicago victory.

    Relax, Bears fans. I applaud Chicago’s resiliency and its opportunistic style of play against the more talented Packers. The Bears made the most of what they had to work with Monday night. But I still can’t see Chicago keeping this kind of mojo going throughout the season, looking downright outmatched in some parts of every game, but still finding a way to win. It happened against Detroit, in Chicago’s shaky second half. It happened at Dallas, where the Bears started the game looking overmatched on the offensive line. And it happened against Green Bay, a team that dominated Chicago statistically for most of the night.

    But at 3-0, the Bears look to be in pretty good shape for turning this streak into an even longer run. In the next six weeks, Chicago plays at the Giants, at Carolina, Seattle, Washington and at Buffalo, with a bye thrown in, as well. That’s the makings of a 7-1 first half, maybe 6-2 in a worst-case scenario. The Bears don’t face another NFC North foe until Week 10, when Minnesota visits. Lucky may be prevailing over good right now in Chicago, but I have a feeling the Bears will take it and offer no apologies.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/don_banks/09/28/packers.bears.5things/index.html#ixzz10o6d3uV4

    Hmmm…. Sound familiar? Except for one thing: The Cards still beat us!


    Jerry, nice writing.
    R.I.P George Blanda.

    One of the Raider greats. In just over a year we’ve had Upshaw, Tatum, and now Blanda. All part of that great Raider team led by Snake and put together by Al.
    Al’s got to be looking at the clock.

  • Rhino

    R.I.P Mr.Blanda

    Just recovering from sundays game,i was really pissed at Jano…but alot of points got left on that field

    {1st and goal on the 2 yard line}….run Bush 3 times become the BULLY im not convinced any defence can stop Bush 3 times from the 2 ..apart from that we did ok


    Man, what an effin combination: Snake Stabler holding and George Blanda kicking!

  • LoneRaider

    Great Job Jerry,

    Blessed that I am old enough to have seen all the great Raiders teams of 70’s and 80’s. Al must be very sad right now, losing so many of the all time greats and team not doing well. Stay Strong Mr. Davis.

  • Rhino

    Barnes needs a shot at LT…im done with the V+Mario thing

  • lefty12

    Unfortunately I didn’t get to HEAR the call live,but I had the privIlege of watching him live.I’ll never forget those games or years,but The Sea of Hands will probably be my most remembered great Raider moment-the immaculate deception was the worst. The thing about King George’s great run is it was probably the beginning of the end for D. Lamonica.How I long for those days.

  • hendu

    post 4, RIP,Mr Blanda, I was 19 and will never forget those games,a great clutch Raider, made me proud,made us all proud of the RAIDERS!

  • ambulance

    we’re going to work it out NATION. We’re going to be OK. Be patient. WE WILL REGAIN OUR REIGN. No kool-aid involved. Please believe.

  • ohioraider

    Screw “Mr. Davis.” He’s crazy old Al to those of us not stupid enough to have any confidence in this ridiculous regime. Blanda’s passing only heightens the poignancy of this franchise’s fall from grace.

  • Que

    RIP ALL RAIDER GREATS OF THE 70s…When football was real before the cant touch a guy before he catches it league of the mid 80s till now . I just watched the game again from sunday. I still say the raiders coaches panic with jason campbell and the program. Bruce was ok but some people on here might be hiding there heads had some of those timely INTS that could have been. The 11 minute mark on the game wow , it made me see something and that was. Ah when pressured bruce is crazy with the ball and thats why i like campbell. He s smart just give him time , he s pocket passer. RUN HARD PLAY ACTION THROW DEEP. The raider way, if anything I think AL for once didnt step in and say stay with the program. He let them bench the starter too soon . Yes our kicker missed the field goal but just as he missed we could had three ints and in te 4th quarter very much so. I dont who to blame for the lack luster getting to the line scrimage. You cant go back to the opening day starter like I said before. I wouldnt fight for the team if I treated that way and I thoughht after reading all these post for a week or so wow none of these guys on here would fight either being treated that way. He was the scape goat for terrible line play AL s fault center tackle even guard. Didnt bruce fumble just like campbell when he got hit blindside just like someone else in preseason and during regular season. How accurate was bruce once hit a few times. watch fourth quarter? This team is still a decent team they fight and i like that. We have to continue with bruce until that 3 INT day comes and I hate to say it but its coming and a lot people will hiding. The next two games are gonna be fun. Also the talk of DHB , watch the throws he had jump for the 1st throw and the end zone bomb was late and weak throw. DHB is fine he should go get that ball more not wait for it. Raider fans we have to stick to the program and decisions that have been made. Continue running and short ball play action and hang in there until we can steal the game.

  • fat kidd

    there is a silver and black universe at the center is al davis.

  • fat kidd

    When Al Davis spoke to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

  • RaiderRockstar

    Q: Mitchell got some time in base defense as a strong safety, is he making a push for a starting job?

    Cable: No, actually it was more because of guys getting knocked out – put Mike in there for a few snaps. It was really just out of need.

    Q: Plan on keeping Stevie Brown on the roster?

    Cable: Well, I hope so. We’ll see.



    can you say “puppet” ???

    this guy obviously has NO CONTROL …

  • RaiderRockstar

    Barnes needs a shot at LT…im done with the V+Mario thing


    couldn’t agreed more.

    Barnes at LT. Can Loper play RT? is BCamp ready yet?

    We know Gallery failed as a tackle and Pears sucks!

    Walker is slow and has a banged up elbow

    need a change at both tackle spots. tired of reading Cable transcipts saying “we’re close. almost over the hump” after a loss

  • Pretty Rick

    Texans-31 Raiders-17 next coach will be,,,,

  • RaiderRockstar

    next coach will be,,,,


    hopefully Jim Harbaugh or Jon Gruden

    most likely Hue Jackson, Kevin Gilbride or Jim Fassel

  • Pretty Rick

    The usual suspects, I said the same thing on the Cable quick notes thread. Sad.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Rick, sincere appologies

    I forgot Rob Ryan!

  • Pretty Rick

    Forgeting Rob Ryan is a good thing bruh.

  • RaiderRockstar


    if your choices were Hue Jackson, Kevin Gilbride, Jim Fassel or Rob Ryan … who would you pick ???

    of course we could always get a wildcard candidate like Winston Moss, Sanjay Lal or Randy Hansen

  • Just Fire Baby

    Hue Jackson looks no different than Tom Cable as a co-ordinator.

    Total confusion at important times, questionable clock management, and tons of 20 yard passes, and very minimal 5-10 yard passes, mixed with a crappy O-line.

    Really, after 3 games, I can’t tell them apart.

  • fat kidd

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    September 28th, 2010 at 5:32 am

    if your choices were Hue Jackson, Kevin Gilbride, Jim Fassel or Rob Ryan … who would you pick ???

    Steve mariucci

  • RaiderRockstar

    questionable clock management


    Cable: Really the clock was running down. Made the assumption that the quarterback would get time out and we wouldn’t have an issue. He didn’t and when I tried to it was too late.

  • RaiderRockstar

    nice one fatty … I forgot about Mooch!

  • Pretty Rick

    Jim Fassel,,he atleast has a Super bowl appearance on his resume’ but its still terrible list of candidates.

  • Just Fire Baby

    What about at the end of the first half? If McFadden gets tackled they come away with zero points.

    Bruce ABSOLUTELY has to call that timeout. Inexcusable.

    At the same time, it is not his job to send in the play and the players. They had guys running into the huddle with 10 seconds on the play-clock.

    For a QB sneak no less!!!!! How hard is it to call that play and send in the formation?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Jim Fassel,,he atleast has a Super bowl appearance on his resume


    his first task as Head Coach would be to fire his son!

  • hwnrdr

    Good Morning Nation!!!
    R.I.P. George Blanda! Another Raider Legend!!! Another sad passing! I was old enough, but still too young to see him play…but seen enough highlights during the 70’s that made me know who he was!!!
    ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~
    Now, we’re talking coaching changes already? Has everyone given up hope? LOL…well, I don’t think a coaching change now would help anything! Sorry…look at the list of candidates….ummmm…no!

  • I wonder if Cable will tell Janishanki he loves him after he(Cable) is out of a job?

    It will take a miracle game against the Texans to save this season.

  • RaiderRockstar

    It will take a miracle game against the Texans to save this season.


    Agreed, we can’t keep saying “well, at least the 49ers, donks & dolts ALSO lost” every week!

  • Pretty Rick

    Jon Gruden needs to sit down with Al Davis & say ” Look Al enough with the bullsh@t I wanna coach again & you need a coach,,give me my job back,,pay me my muthaf@cking money this time, & sit down & shut up,& let me get this damn thing turned around.

  • RaiderRockstar

    Jon Gruden needs to sit down with Al Davis & say


    Rick, nobody plays hardball with Al

    that chat would last about 3 minutes before Herrera escorts him out

  • Pretty Rick

    Well my man, we’ll just have to get used to losing for years to come. 8 yrs & counting. Atleast the Raiders are good on Madden 11.

  • RaiderRockstar

    At least the Raiders are good on Madden 11



    at least theres that

    I usually just look forward to fantasy football when the Raiders are losing, but I’m in 4 leagues this year and in 3 of them my teams suck!

  • hwnrdr

    There’s 3 games in row that we have to win and I don’t give a rat’s arse how we do it! Weeks 5-7 and 2 are on the road!!!

  • fat kidd

    mike vick vs d. mcnabb this weekend that should be interesting.



  • hwnrdr

    September 28th, 2010 at 6:10 am

    He needs to be…well, I won’t say it for fear of being banned!

  • The next 2 games are critical for the season.

    If the Raiders fall to 1-4, look for a 5 win season at best.

    I know Janishanki feels bad and all, but a team this close to the edge can’t afford to have their vets choke in game winning situations.

    The early momentum of winning 2 in a row and feeding off of that could carry a team through some tough losses. Now that is up in smoke and 1 good push from the Texans could send this group into the abyss.

    Thanks a lot Janikowski. Nice to know we can count on you.

  • fat kidd

    we need to look past this weeks game too the next i ran a computor simulation of this weeks game it has us winning by a last minute field goal thats only a chip shot.

  • RaiderRockstar

    There’s 3 games in row that we have to win


    hwnrdr: we should have beat the Titans & Cards bro

    much easier games than the Texans or Chargers!

  • wcraider

    Well written, Jerry.

  • hwnrdr

    Rockstar… I know…but I was thinking more along the lines of SD, SF, and DEN…of course going 4 in a row starting with Houston (ummm…it could happen) would be nice too, but I would lke those 3 and I don’t care what happens after that!
    Let me ask you this…do you think, if Bruce was the starter against Tenn and Satele was the Center, that we could have won that game? Anythings possible, but what is your take?

  • Hmmm, Jerry says Otto did the longsnapping?

  • RaiderRockstar

    Let me ask you this…do you think, if Bruce was the starter against Tenn and Satele was the Center, that we could have won that game? Anythings possible, but what is your take?


    Hwnrdr, if we can’t beat the Cards with Bruce & Samson theres no stinking way we beat the Titans!

    maybe we lose by 10 instead of 25, but a loss is a loss imo (still 1-2)

  • sec144r18

    Anyone who thinks that Jerry is a hater needs to read what he wrote above. Being a journalist you are supposed to be impartial and critical. Jerry used to listen to Raiders home games over the radio, his father was (obviously) a fan… ya think that deep down Jerry wants the Raiders to win???

  • guest123

    We need to shake off that heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals already. We have seen that we have some good players on both sides of the ball, but are razor thin at depth. If we get healthy, this team is going to roll at some point.

    I look to the home game against Houston as our turning point. The Houston secondary has been God awful to this point. We should be able to exploit them through the air.

    On the other side, Houston’s uber-stud WR Andre Johnson is hobbled. He may just be a decoy if he plays. Have heard that Foster may be nursing a bum shoulder as well. Foster was wearing an ice pack on his right shoulder after the game vs. Dallas, and was reportedly visibly wincing anytime he moved his right arm.

    This is about a must win a game for the Raiders as we can get. 2-2 puts us right back in the race.

    If we can just float around .500 ball ‘till mid November, then we got a chance in this division.



  • RaiderRockstar

    Guest123 with the Kool-Aid splash this morning!

    thanks brother!

    we will dominate the Texans like the Cowgirls did.