Pete Gogolak

Pete Gogolak

Infobox Pro Football player

fontcolor=Red|DateOfBirth=Birth date and age|1942|4|18|mf=y
Birthplace=Budapest, Hungary
AFLDraftedRound=12 / 6th Pick
Honors="'American Football League
Champion, 1964 and 1965
Retired #s=
teams=Buffalo Bills (AFL)
New York Giants

Peter Kornel Gogolak (born April 18, 1942 in Budapest, Hungary) is a retired American football placekicker in the NFL for the New York Giants and in the American Football League for the Buffalo Bills.

Gogolak attended Cornell University where he was elected to the Sphinx Head Society. He was signed out of Cornell by the American Football League's Buffalo Bills in 1964, becoming another example of innovation in the AFL, as professional football's first "soccer style" (as opposed to "conventional") kicker. Prior to Gogolak, placekickers approached the ball straight on, with the toe making first contact with the ball. Gogolak approached the ball at an angle and kicked it with his instep. Virtually all placekickers in American college and Professional Football now use this technique. In 1964 his 102 points were 25% of the Bills' total. In 1965, he scored 115 points and was selected by his peers as a Sporting News AFL All-League player.

Gogolak was a prime factor in the "war between the leagues" and the subsequent merger of the National Football League with the American Football League. Bills general manager Harvey Johnson recognized a revolutionary trend and gave Gogolak a chance. Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. paid Gogolak $10,000 in 1964 and offered him $13,500 for 1965: exceptional pay, in those days, for a kicker. Gogolak wanted to "play out his option"; so he chose to take a standard pay cut to $9,900. Playing out your option meant that your team could match any other team's offer.

Other than by "gentleman's agreement", a team in a competing league didn't have to respect that process, and the NFL was evidently ungentlemanly. Their New York Giants, whose incumbent field goal kicker, rookie Bob Timberlake, had missed 13 straight kicks since making his first kick attempted, signed Gogolak, ignoring the AFL's rules and reneging on the gentleman's agreement. This led to the signing blitz by then-AFL Commissioner Al Davis of John Brodie, Roman Gabriel, Mike Ditka, and other NFL stars; and it was this that ultimately led to the negotiations for the AFL-NFL Merger.

Gogolak made Ivan Maisel's Top 40 Moments that Define College Football. He kicked a 41 yard field goal, the first by a soccer-style kicker, on October 28, 1961. []

He was not the only placekicker in his family; his younger brother Charlie played college football at Princeton and followed him into pro football, playing with the Washington Redskins and New England Patriots in a six-year career.


*Giants’ all-time leading scorer, with 646 points
*Giants’ franchise records for most points after touchdowns attempted (277) and made (268)
*most PATs in a game (eight vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 26, 1972)
*most consecutive PATs (133)
*most field goals attempted (219) and made (126).

ee also

Other American Football League players

External links

* [ Gogolak's 1965 Topps football card]
* [ Career stats]

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