Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
RIP, Daryle Lamonica, 80, a Raiders and Valley Legend
bill-new-mug-002
By Bill McEwen, News Director
Published 2 years ago on
April 21, 2022

Share

 

Daryle Lamonica, revered by Raiders fans around the world and people throughout the Valley, passed away at his Fresno home at the age of 80 on Thursday morning.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office said that he died of natural causes.

Lamonica was a star quarterback at Clovis High School, where the football stadium is named in his honor, before matriculating to Notre Dame.

He spent his first four pro seasons as a backup with the Buffalo Bills of the American Football League. But, at age 26, following a trade to Oakland, Lamonica blossomed into the “Mad Bomber” —not only taking the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance but also leading the AFL in touchdown passes with 30.

The 6-foot, 3-inch, 215-pound Lamonica led the Raiders into the postseason five times from 1967 to 1972, winning at least one playoff game in four of those trips.

The Las Vegas Raiders called Lamonica “a pioneer of the vertical game” in a statement on their website. “The Raiders Family is deeply saddened to learn of Daryle Lamonica’s passing earlier today. … The Raider Nation will forever miss his easy-going nature and warm smile. Our deepest condolences are with his wife Mary, son Brandon, the rest of the Lamonica family, teammates, and friends.”

Said Clovis Unified in a statement: “The Clovis Unified community lost an icon today with the passing of legendary athlete Daryle Lamonica, the namesake of Lamonica Stadium on the Clovis High School campus.  Lamonica established a high standard of athletic excellence, performance, and character for student-athletes who followed his graduation from Clovis High School.”

Watch: Lamonica Explains ‘the Right Way’ To Play the Game  

A Match Made in Heaven

Lamonica’s strong arm and penchant for throwing the deep ball meshed perfectly with receivers such as Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff and turned the Raiders into a powerhouse.

They went 13-1 during the regular season in Lamonica’s first year at the helm and he was named both first-team All-Pro and AFL Player of the Year. He tossed two TD passes as the Raiders defeated Houston for the AFL title game before falling, 33-14, to Green Bay in the Super Bowl.

In his six seasons as a starter for the Raiders, Lamonica was one of the game’s most prolific passers, leading pro football with 145 TD passes — 24 more than second-place Fran Tarkenton. His 16,006 yards of passing ranked third from 1967-72.

Lamonica was an All-Pro and AFL Player of the Year again in 1969 as he threw for 3,302 yards and 34 touchdowns.

He was at his best during the playoffs, throwing five TD passes in a 41-6 win over Kansas City in 1968 and a record six the following season against Houston. Only Steve Young and Tom Brady have matched Lamonica’s six TD passes in a playoff game and only Patrick Mahomes and Kurt Warner have multiple games with at least five.

The ‘Heidi Game’

Lamonica also played a starring role in one of the most memorable games ever, throwing four TD passes, including the go-ahead score to Charlie Smith in a 43-32 win over the Jets in a game now known as the “Heidi Game” because NBC cut away from the finish on the East Coast before the Raiders comeback to show the children’s movie.

Ken Stabler replaced Lamonica as the starter in 1973  and Lamonica later finished his career in the World Football League.

The Raiders went 62-16-6 in Lamonica’s starts for the best winning percentage for any starting QB in the Super Bowl era with at least 75 starts.

Check out Lamonica’s career stats at this link.

Here is a look at his 18 fourth-quarter comebacks and 17 game-winning drives.

(Associated Press contributed to this article.)

 

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

DON'T MISS

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

DON'T MISS

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

DON'T MISS

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

DON'T MISS

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

DON'T MISS

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

DON'T MISS

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

DON'T MISS

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

DON'T MISS

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

UP NEXT

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

UP NEXT

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

UP NEXT

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

UP NEXT

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

UP NEXT

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

UP NEXT

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

UP NEXT

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

UP NEXT

California Legislators Break with Gov. Newsom Over Loan to Keep Last Nuclear Plant Running

UP NEXT

After Bitwise: Many Employees Need to Enhance Skills to Match Their Old Salaries

UP NEXT

California’s Manure-to-Fuel Solution Grows, Critics Warn of Community Risks

Bill McEwen,
News Director
Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

11 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

13 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

14 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

14 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

15 hours ago

California Senate Passes Ban on Schools Notifying Parents of Child’s Pronoun Changes

16 hours ago

Cal State LA President Bars Pro-Palestinian Protesters After Building Takeover

16 hours ago

Supreme Court Overturns Trump-Era Bump Stock Ban, Reigniting Political Debate

16 hours ago

Trump’s 78th Birthday Showcases Loyalty from Fans and Republicans

16 hours ago

California Legislators Break with Gov. Newsom Over Loan to Keep Last Nuclear Plant Running

16 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

Fresno Fire Department investigators have identified a woman whom they think left handwritten notes at homes before lighting them on fire. F...

9 hours ago

9 hours ago

Investigators Have Name & Face for Suspected Arsonist Who Left Notes at Fresno Homes

11 hours ago

Gavin Newsom and Top Democrats Are Deciding California’s Budget Behind Closed Doors

11 hours ago

Fresno State Is 1 of Carnegie Foundation’s 25 Leadership for Public Purpose Colleges

1978 Le Mans: 3 Americans in France
11 hours ago

As the Flag Drops at Le Mans, Remembering the 3 Americans Who Won in 1978

13 hours ago

Paw-sitively Spikey: The Rise of a Supermutt!

14 hours ago

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Environmental Law Relied on by Housing Opponents

14 hours ago

The Latest | Hezbollah Says Its Intensified Attacks Show Israel That All-out War Would Be Costly

15 hours ago

Alex Jones’ Assets Sold to Pay Sandy Hook Debt as Infowars’ Fate Decided

Search

Send this to a friend