FRESNO, Calif. – Daryle Lamonica, the deep-throwing quarterback known as the “Mad Bomber” who led the Oakland Raiders to their first Super Bowl, died Thursday. He was 80.
According to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Lamonica died at his Fresno home, KMPH-TV reported. His death is considered to be from natural causes, the sheriff’s office said.
Lamonica led the Raiders to four straight Western Division titles and one AFL title, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. He was a two-time AFL MVP and a three-time All-Star.
The quarterback’s deep throws helped the Raiders go 13-1 in 1967, when he threw 30 touchdown passes, according to Pro Football Reference. Lamonica then threw two TD passes in a victory against the Houston Oilers in the AFL title game to earn a berth in Super Bowl II. Oakland would lose 33-14 to the Green Bay Packers.
Lamonica was an all-state quarterback at Clovis High School in central California, KMPH reported. The school named its football stadium after him in 1974, according to the television station.
After four seasons with the Buffalo Bills backing up Jack Kemp at quarterback, Lamonica was traded to the Raiders and threw 145 touchdowns over a six-season span. He threw for 16,006 yards between 1967 and 1972.
Lamonica finished his career with 19,154 yards passing and 164 touchdowns during his 12-year career, according to Pro Football Reference. Oakland went 62-16-6 in Lamonica’s starts for the best winning percentage of any starting quarterback in the Super Bowl era with at least 75 starts, according to The Associated Press.
Lamonica also played a starring role in one of pro football’s most memorable games. He threw four touchdown passes against the New York Jets in a 43-32 contest dubbed the “Heidi Game” because NBC cut away from the game to show the children’s movie. Oakland scored twice in the final minute to win the game, but many viewers did not see the comeback.
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