Daryle Lamonica has passed away. He was a deep-throwing quarterback who won the AFL Player of Year award and led Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance. He was 80.
Fresno County Sherriff said that Lamonica had died in his Fresno home Thursday morning. It is believed that the death was natural.
Lamonica was acquired by the Raiders in 1967 as a Buffalo trade.
Lamonica was nicknamed the “Mad Bomber” because he made an immediate impact in Oakland, having started only four games in four seasons for the Bills.
Lamonica's strong arm combined with Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff made the Raiders a formidable team. He was a first-team All Pro and AP AFL Player Of The Year. His first season, they went 13-1.
Lamonica then threw two TD passes to Houston in a win in the AFL championship game. This sent the Raiders to the Super Bowl, where Green Bay lost 33-14.
Lamonica's six seasons as a Raiders starting quarterback saw him become one of the most prolific passers in professional football. He had 145 touchdown passes to his credit, 24 more than Fran Tarkenton. His 16,006 yards passed ranked third between 1967 and 1972.
Lamonica again was All-Pro in 1969 as he led AFL's passing with 3,302 yards and 34 touchdowns. More than half a century later, the 34 touchdowns are still the franchise's single season record.
Lamonica was at his best in the playoffs. He threw five touchdown passes in a win over Kansas City of 41-6 in 1968, and six in the record-setting season against Houston the following year. Only Steve Young was able to.In a playoff game, we have matched Lamonica’s six TD passes and only Kurt Warner and he have at least five games.
Lamonica was also a star in one of the greatest games ever. He threw four TD passes including the score to Charlie Smith in a win over the Jets, 43-32. This game is now called the “Heidi Game”, because NBC removed the East Coast finish before the Raiders came back to show the children’s movie.
In 1973, Lamonica was replaced by Ken Stabler as the starter. He then went on to the World Football League in the following season, where he ended his career.
Lamonica ended his career with 19,154 yards of passing and 164 TDs. Lamonica's starts were 62-16-6 for the Raiders, the highest winning percentage of any starting quarterback in Super Bowl history with at least 75 starts.
Lamonica was raised in Fresno and went to college at Notre Dame. He was drafted in Green Bay's 12th round in 1963. Bills drafted him in the 23rd round in 1963. In 1963, he opted to join the AFL. Before becoming a star in Oakland, he was a backup for Jack Kemp in Buffalo.