Born at Fresno, California on July 17, 1941. Daryle grew up on a farm which produced grapes and peaches. He was a gifted young athlete, getting his first sports thrill by being in the Little League World Series
held in Hershey Park, Pa. While a student at Clovis High School he lettered in 4 sports and earned All State honors at quarterback
. He turned down an opportunity to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs
, electing instead to accept a scholarship to attend Notre Dame University
Daryle graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in Business Management. While at Notre Dame, Lamonica was an All American and the starting QB for 3 years. He was voted MVP in the 1963 East-West Shrine Game, playing under coach Ara Parseghian.
Lamonica was drafted in 1963 by the Green Bay Packers of the NFL and by the Buffalo Bills of the rival AFL. He went to Buffalo where he played from 1963 until 1966. Part of his legacy at Buffalo was as back-up to starting QB Jack Kemp and as place kick holder and punter.
The Buffalo Bills were in post season play each of the 4 years Lamonica was on their roster. In 1963 they played the New England Patriots for the Divisional title, losing 26-8. The Bills became the AFL Champions in 1964, beating the San Diego Chargers 20-7. The Bills repeated in 1965, again beating San Diego for the Championship. In 1966 the Bills again played for the AFL crown, but were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs 31-7.
To Oakland, and fame
Daryle Lamonica made the move from chilly Buffalo, NY to the Bay area to join the Oakland Raiders in 1967. He was voted the AFL's Most Valuable Player in 1967 and again in 1969. In his first 3 years as Raider starting QB, he helped amass a record of 37-4-1 and was dubbed The Mad Bomber by sportscaster Howard Cosell. In that 3 year span he threw for 89 touchdowns and stretched defenses to and beyond their breaking point. He led the Raiders to the 1967 AFL Championship by besting the Houston Oilers 40-7.
Lamonica was the Raider starting QB in Super Bowl II against the team who had tried to draft him out of college. The Raiders were pitted against the powerhouse Green Bay Packers led by QB Bart Starr and legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
In a game played in Miami Florida's Orange Bowl on January 14, 1968, the Raiders went in with the better record at 13-1 compared to the Packer's 9-4-1 record. Green Bay apparently failed to read the record as they went on to manhandle the Raiders by a score of 33-14.
The Heidi Game
In 1968 the Raiders were once again bidding to become league champs. On their way toward that goal they met the up-and-coming New York Jets at the Oakland-Alemeda County Stadium. The date was November 17, 1968. The game was a classic, pitting Daryle Lamonica, Oakland's Mad Bomber against Joe 'Willie' Namath. Lamonica surgically carved his way through the Jet defense, amassing over 300 yards in passing and 3 touchdowns. Joe Namath retaliated, giving no quarter, matching Lamonica yard for yard. The game was a thriller, a frenzy, a football fan's dream come true. The Jets were ahead 32-29 with 1:05 on the clock, thanks to a Jim Turner field goal. Fans were treated to a commercial break, anticipating the final act of this titanic struggle. The commercial ended and the announcement was made Welcome to NBC's world premier of Heidi. I swear to God, it happened just like that. The game continued and fans howled...and lit up the switchboard at NBC. The Raiders scored just 22 seconds after receiving the ensuing kickoff following the field goal. Lamonica nailed Charlie Smith with a 43 yard TD pass. The Jets fumbled the kickoff and Oakland scored again, and the game turned around in that 1:05 interval for a Raider victory 43-32. Daryle Lamonica was the winning QB in the legendary Heidi game, a game which changed NBC and network TV's policy regarding football telecasts. Never again would the networks cut away from a football game just to start a 'previously scheduled program' on time. Lamonica was part of history.
In 1969 Oakland fans once again had something to cheer about as their Raiders went to the AFL title game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs were led by QB Len Dawson and coach Hank Stram. The Raiders failed in their bid to be league champions, losing by a score of 17-7.
Daryle Lamonica was chosen to play in 4 Pro Bowl games. The AFL and the NFL merged in 1970 and Lamonica continued as a Raider until his retirement in 1974. He was the start of a dynasty of QB heroics continued by Ken 'the Snake' Stabler and Jim Plunkett.
Life after football
Following his career as a pro football QB, Daryle Lamonica enjoyed his love of golf and fishing. he has represented various corporate names such as Chrysler, Motorola, and Ford Credit. He has been both guest and host of several national outdoor programs.
Daryle Lamonica, along with his wife Mary and their 2 sons Brandon and Brian reside in Fresno, California.
- 12 years as pro QB-4 with Buffalo Bills, 8 with Oakland Raiders
- played in 151 games
- 2,601 pass attempts
- 1,288 completions
- 49.5% pass completion percentage
- 19,154 yards gained passing
- 7.4 yards average gain/pass
- 164 touchdowns passing
- 138 pass interceptions
- 166 rushing attempts
- 640 rushing yards gained
- 14 rushing touchdowns