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David John Casper (born September 26, 1951 in Bemidji, Minnesotamarker) is a retired American football player. He was an offensive lineman and tight end. His nickname was "The Ghost."

High school

Dave spent his first 3 years of high school at St. Edward Central Catholic Highschool in Elgin, IL. His final year of high school was at Chilton High School in Chilton, Wisconsinmarker. He was a member of the 1969 football team that outscored their opponents 363-0 in eight games. The small-town team was ranked eighth in the state behind the largest schools in the state; there was no playoff system at the time.

Notre Dame

Casper played collegiate football at the University of Notre Damemarker, where he earned Honorable Mention All-America as a tackle in 1972. In 1973 he was an All-American on the 1973 National Championship Team He was the 1973 ND Offensive MVP and recorded 21 receptions for 335 yards and four touchdowns in career. He was drafted in the second round of the 1974 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. Casper only caught a total of 9 passes his first two seasons, but was a top 10 receiver in 1976. That season he had 53 catches for 691 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Ghost to the Post

One of Casper's most memorable games as a Raider came in a 1977 Divisional Playoff game against the Baltimore Colts. Casper made an over-the-head catch of a soft pass lofted by Ken Stabler on "The Ghost to the Post." The 42-yard reception set up a game-tying field goal that forced overtime and the Raiders went on to a 37-31 victory with Casper's 10-yard touchdown reception in the second overtime period. He finished the game 4 receptions for 70 yards and 3 touchdowns.

The Holy Roller

Casper was also involved in another famous NFL contest on September 10, 1978, between the Raiders and San Diego Chargers. The Raiders trailed the Chargers 20-14 with just ten seconds left in the game. Oakland quarterback Ken Stabler, about to be sacked, dropped the football, which he then flicked toward the goal line in an effort to save the game. It is uncertain whether he actively threw the ball towards the goal line, or whether he dropped it accidentally and it rolled in that direction. Raiders running back Pete Banaszak recovered the ball at the San Diego 12-yard line but dropped the ball again, and it rolled further forward. Casper kicked the ball at the San Diego 5-yard line and finally recovered it in the end zone to tie the game. The extra point attempt was good and Oakland won the game, 21-20.

The Chargers protested on the grounds that Stabler's fumble was actually a forward pass, and therefore should have been ruled incomplete when it hit the ground. As a result of the play, the NFL changed its rules to make it illegal for a team to advance the ball on its own fumble on fourth down or in the last two minutes of the game.

Other career highlights

Casper caught the first touchdown of Super Bowl XI, a 32-14 Raiders victory over the Minnesota Vikings. As a Raider, Casper was selected to four straight Pro Bowls (1976-1979).

Midway through the 1980 season Casper was traded to the Houston Oilers for their first and second round draft picks. He was reunited with his former Raider quarterback, Ken Stabler, when he was traded to the Oilers. He finished the 1980 season with 56 receptions and was named to his fifth Pro Bowl. In 1984 he returned to the Raiders for his final NFL season.

Casper finished his pro career with 378 receptions, 5,216 yards and 52 touchdowns. In 2002 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker. He was the 13th Raider to be inducted.

Current activities

In recent years, Casper has been working for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Walnut Creek, Californiamarker (and now Vernon Hills, Illinoismarker) assisting business owners with financial planning and consultation work.

See also



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