Fred Biletnikoff at an autograph show in 2003|
Fred Biletnikoff at an autograph show in 2003
No. 14, 25
Date of birth: February 23 1943|
|College: Florida State|
|NFL Draft: 1965 / Round: 3 / Pick: 39|
|Debuted in 1965 for the Oakland Raiders|
|Last played in 1978 for the Oakland Raiders|
|Made coaching debut in 1980 for the Montreal Alouettes|
|Last coached in 2006 for the Oakland Raiders|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
|Pro Football Hall of Fame|
|College Football Hall of Fame|
Frederick S. "Fred" Biletnikoff (born February 23, 1943) is a former American football wide receiver and coach. He spent the majority of his professional playing and coaching days with the Oakland Raiders. Biletnikoff retired as an NFL player after the 1978 season, and played one additional season in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes.
Early years[edit | edit source]
Biletnikoff was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania, by Russian parents who emigrated to the US during the Russian Civil War. In Erie, he attended what was then Technical Memorial High School and is now Central Tech. The Central Tech field is now named Fred Biletnikoff athletic field.
Turning down other notable offers Biletnikoff chose Florida State University, where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
Playing career[edit | edit source]
Biletnikoff was the first consensus All-American to play for Florida State University. After graduating from Florida State he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the American Football League draft and Detroit Lions in the third round. Biletnikoff signed with the Raiders where he played until retiring at the end of the 1978 season. He also played one season (1980) with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
In high school he excelled in football, basketball, baseball and track and field earning 1st team recognition his senior year on Pennsylvania's all-state football and basketball teams. He was later honored along with other HS football greats Tony Dorsett, Joe Montana and Mike Ditka to the all-time 1st team Pennsylvania football team.
At Florida State, Biletnikoff missed several games his first varsity season (as a sophomore -- freshmen were not eligible) with a broken foot. He played on both sides of the ball his junior season leading the team in receptions and interceptions taking an interception the length of the field for a touchdown (99 yards off a pass thrown by George Mira, one of the best quarterbacks ever to play for the Miami Hurricanes), a record that held until another NFL Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders, broke the record by one yard.
He was famous for using liberal quantities of Stickum on his hands to improve his chances of catching a pass.
Biletnikoff's NFL career total of 589 receptions and record 10 straight seasons of 40 or more receptions is even more impressive when it is taken in account that he played most of his career when teams' emphasized running the ball over passing it down field and 13 of his seasons where played in 14 game regular seasons. He played in the second AFL-NFL World Championship game and in Super Bowl XI, in which he was named MVP. In 1969, he was selected to the Sporting News AFL All-League Team. He also played in three American Football League title games, two American Football League All-Star games, five AFC Championships, and four AFC–NFC Pro Bowls.
Coaching career[edit | edit source]
Biletnikoff began his career in coaching soon after his retirement from playing. He served on the coaching staff of the Orange Glen High School (1982), Palomar College (1983), Diablo Valley College (1984), Oakland Invaders (1985), Arizona Wranglers (1986) and Calgary Stampeders (1987–88).
On January 31, 2007 Biletnikoff retired as the wide receivers coach for the Oakland Raiders, which had been his role for 10 seasons. His retirement ended an 18 year coaching career with the Raiders.
Fred Biletnikoff, Jr. is currently the Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach of the Arena Football League team, the Spokane Shock. Biletnikoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988 and was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991. The Fred Biletnikoff Award, awarded annually to the best wide receiver in college football since 1994, was named in his honor. In 1999, Biletnikoff was ranked number 94 on The Sporting News' list of the "100 Greatest Football Players".
Awards[edit | edit source]
1978 – Fred Biletnikoff Award