Former Raiders QB Daryle Lamonica dies at age 80

OAKLAND, CA - CIRCA 1970: Quarterback Daryle Lamonica #3 of the Oakland Raiders talks with head coach John Madden on the sidelines during an NFL football game circa 1970 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. Lamonica played for the Raiders

Daryle Lamonica, the deep-throwing quarterback who won an AFL Player of the Year award and led the Raiders to their first Super Bowl appearance, has died. He was 80.

The Fresno County Sherriff’s said Lamonica passed away at his Fresno home on Thursday morning. The death is considered to be from natural causes.

The Raiders acquired Lamonica in a trade from Buffalo in 1967 and he was immediately the perfect fit for the vertical offense owner Al Davis coveted for his franchise.

Nicknamed the "Mad Bomber," Lamonica made an immediate impact in Oakland after starting only four games in four seasons with the Bills.

Lamonica’s deep arm teamed up with receivers such as Warren Wells and Fred Biletnikoff and turned the Raiders into a powerhouse. They went 13-1 his first season as Lamonica was a first-team All-Pro and AP AFL Player of the Year when he led the league with 30 touchdown passes.

Lamonica then threw two TD passes in a win over Houston in the AFL title game to send the Raiders to their first Super Bowl where they lost 33-14 to Green Bay.

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