The Kicker

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Garo Yepremian played in the first NFL game he ever saw, as a placekicker for the Detroit Lions, against the Baltimore Colts in 1966. At 5’7″ tall, Garo was an immigrant from Cyprus who only knew a few words of English, and as one of the first soccer-style placekickers in the league, Garo faced many skeptics. Players were resentful of this “specialist” whose only purpose was to kick the football. Ray Nitschke and other opposing players took illegal cheap shots at Garo on the field, and he was even taunted and bullied by his own Lion teammates both on the practice field and off.

Despite these and many other obstacles, Garo was on his way to a stellar career, and went on to become the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s choice as “Kicker of the Decade” (1970-1980).

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Garo’s NFL career spanned fifteen years, as he played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From 1966 through 1981 he missed one season (1969) when he proudly volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army.

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Accomplishments
Voted “Kicker of the Decade” (1970s) by The Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee

Named to Sports Illustrated “Dr. Z’s All Decade Team” (1970s)

Named one of the top 40 Greatest Players in Miami Dolphin History, 2005

Named one of the top 50 Greatest Players in Miami Dolphin History, 2015

Converted a record six field goals in one game as a member of the Detroit Lions (vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1966)

Ended the longest game in NFL history (82 min. 40 sec.) on Christmas Day, 1971 (37-yard field goal, Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs playoff game)

Leading scorer of the 1972 Super Bowl Champion Miami Dolphins, the only undefeated team in NFL history

Two-time NFL Pro Bowl selection (1974, 1979)

Voted Most Valuable Player in 1974 Pro Bowl after kicking five field goals to win for the AFC (15-13)

Kicked 20 consecutive field goals without a miss (1979).

Played in three Super Bowls (VI, VII, and VIII), scoring in all three for a total of 11 points

Nominated to The Pro Football Hall of Fame

Member of The Florida Sports Hall of Fame

Scored over 1,000 points and converted over 200 field goals

Recipient of numerous national and local awards for both sporting achievements and humanitarian efforts

In 2013, Garo and his former 1972 “Perfect Season” undefeated Miami Dolphin teammates were honored by President Obama during a special ceremony at the White House:

 

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5 thoughts on “The Kicker

  1. Garo,

    I read your biography on wikipedia, and I have to say that it is inspiring.
    I wondered why your story hasn’t been turned into a movie, it’s one of those underdog immigrant success stories.

    Just wanted to say that I enjoyed your “story”.

    Regards,
    Kegham

  2. To the family fo Garo, I’m sooo sorry for your loss. At least he’s not suffering now. You see, I have chronic headaches since I was 10 Years old and I’m 58 now. Diagnosed with chronic migrain/cluster headaches and they sure hurt.

  3. Even with the failed field goal attempt that was his biggest fail, he was still a little guy with a huge heart and respected by all. Thanks for the memories sir.

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