I Keek A Touchdown!
Garabed Sarko Yepremian – or just Garo Yepremian as he is better known by, is one of the more unusual success stories of NFL History. Born in Cyprus to Armenian Parents who had fled genocide from the Ottoman Empire he was working in a London warehouse and playing semi-pro soccer when his brother – a student at Indiana University – became convinced Garo could be a kicker in American football. Ineligible for college ball (playing semi-pro soccer ruined his chance to play in college) his brother acting as his agent, contacted the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons for tryouts. Landing one with the Lions he quickly impressed and was signed in October of the 1966 season.
Alledgedly, Garo Yepremian had never even seen an football game in the US and it was pretty apparent his rookie year. He didn’t know how to darn the equipment, would go the opposing team’s sideline after plays and even ran to middle of the field one game to help look for coin after the Lions had “lost” the coin toss. During one game, after he kicked an extra-point, Jubilantly he came off the field celebrating. The Lions were being beat badly this game so Alex Karras, the Lions Hall of Fame Defensive Tackle angrily asked “What the hell are you celebrating for”? At which Garo proudly exlaimed “I Keek a Touchdown”!!
Despite his lack of football knowledge he proved his kicking talent was worth taking a look at. He actually set an NFL record with 6 field goals against Minnesota. He is also the last player to play without a facemask. Word is he felt he could concentrate on kicking better without it. After an encounter with Packers linebacker Ray Nitzchke though he rethought this strategy and started wearing a helmet with a facemask.
He did not return to the Lions for the 1968 season choosing to fulfill military obligations instead and was not re-signed by the Lions in 1969, so he played semi-pro ball that year. In 1970 got on with Don Shula and the Miami Dolphins and kicked there for 9 seasons winning 2 Super Bowls while making the All Pro team twice. In 1971 he led the NFL in scoring with 117 points. As a Dolphin he led the league 3 times in Field Goal Conversion Percentage. After being released by Miami in 1979 he joined the New Orleans Saints were set set another NFL kicking record of 17 consecutive field goals made. He finished his career with 2 seasons in Tampa Bay.
Image Gallery of Kicker Garo Yepremian, 1966-1967, 1970-1981
Garo Yepremian All Time Career Statistics
|1968||Did not play due to Military Obligation|
|1969||Played for Michigan Arrows of the Continental Football League|
|9 seasons Dolphins||127||352||335||95.2%||242||165||54||68.2%|
|2 seasons Lions||17||34||33||97.1%||28||15||44||53.6%|
|2 seasons Bucs||19||38||37||97.4%||27||18||44||66.7%|
|1 season Saints||14||40||39||97.5%||16||12||44||75.0%|
|14-Year NFL Career||177||464||444||95.7%||313||210||54||67.1%|
|Field Goals||Xtra Points|
|Post Season Totals||12||20||12||60.0%||29||28||96.6%|