Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ben Agajanian Dies at 98


GREEN BAY – Ben Agajanian, a kicker with a storied NFL career that included three games with the Green Bay Packers in 1961, died in Los Angeles at the age of 98.

Agajanian was with the Packers for only those three games, including the 1961 NFL Championship game, which the Packers won 37-0 over the New York Giants. He was the oldest living former Packers player. His death on Feb. 8 came on the same day as John Martinkovic, a former Packers defensive end who lived to age 91.

According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, Agajanian was the first kicker to require that football laces be turned outward, and developed the two-step ritual that soccer-style kickers routinely use. He was a straight-on kicker himself.

He lost four toes on his right foot in an industrial accident in 1939 while playing for the University of New Mexico. Agajanian talked doctors into making the nubs the same length so he could continue kicking. When other players accused him of cheating, he suggested they could do the same thing if it would help.

During his 13-year career, he played for 10 teams and three football leagues, including the NFL, American Football League and All-America Football Conference. He was a member of two championship teams: the 1956 New York Giants, on which future Packers coach Vince Lombardi was an assistant, and the 1961 Packers. He also was a special consultant for the Dallas Cowboys for 20 years and a world-class gin rummy player.

His best year was 1960, when he played for the Los Angeles Chargers of the AFL. He was 13-for-24 on field goals and 46-for-47 on extra points.

For the Packers, he kicked one field goal and scored eight extra points, all in Green Bay's two 1961 games against the Los Angeles Rams. Paul Hornung handled most of the Packers' field-goal and extra-point chores that season, but did not play in those games. Agajanian kicked off for the Packers in the NFL title game.

According to the Sporting News, Agajanian was the second kicking specialist in the NFL. He is a member of the American Football Kicking Hall of Fame.

— Green Bay Press-Gazette

No comments: