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Frederick S. 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 Football player after the 1978 season, and played one additional season in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes.

Early years

Biletnikoff was born and raised in Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker to Russians who immigrated to the USAmarker during the Russian Civil War. In Erie, Pennsylvaniamarker 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. His family later relocated to Panama City, Floridamarker. He attended Florida State Universitymarker, where he was a very active member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

Playing career

While at Florida State, Biletnikoff was chosen as the first consensus All-American football player in the school's history. After college, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round of the 1965 American Football League draft, and by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 1965 NFL Draft. Biletnikoff signed with the Raiders, and he spent his entire American Pro Football playing career in Oakland, retiring from the team after the 1978 season. He also played one season (1980) with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

Small and slow even for the times, Biletnikoff was known as a wily, sure-handed receiver who made clutch catches to keep crucial drives alive. He had an uncanny ability to get open, even when everyone in the stadium knew that the ball was coming his way. He was famous for using liberal quantities of Stickum on his hands to improve his chances of catching a pass. He was the last player to play without wearing pads.

Biletnikoff's career total of 589 receptions may appear modest by today's standards, but it is remarkable considering the more run-oriented offenses in the 60s and 70s, and that the regular season in those years was only 14 games long. The same can be said of his record of 10 straight seasons with 40 or more receptions. 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

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 Collegemarker (1983), Diablo Valley Collegemarker (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 a coach in the af2 for the Central Valley Coyotes.


Biletnikoff was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker in 1988 and was voted into the College Football Hall of Famemarker 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".


1978 - Fred Biletnikoff Award

See also

External links

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