53 Facts About Billy Cannon


William Abb Cannon was an American football halfback, fullback and tight end who played professionally in the American Football League and National Football League.

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Billy Cannon attended Louisiana State University, where he played college football as a halfback, return specialist, and defensive back for the LSU Tigers.

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At LSU, Billy Cannon was twice unanimously named an All-American, helped the 1958 LSU team win a national championship, and received the Heisman Trophy as the nation's most outstanding college player in 1959.

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Billy Cannon was selected as the first overall pick in the 1960 NFL Draft and as a first-round territorial pick in the 1960 American Football League draft, resulting in a contract dispute that ended in court.

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Billy Cannon played in the AFL for the Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders before ending his football career with the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

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Billy Cannon began his professional career as a halfback for the Oilers.

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Billy Cannon was named the most valuable player of the first two AFL championship games, which were won by the Oilers.

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Billy Cannon was moved to fullback and later tight end after being traded to the Raiders, with whom he won another league championship in 1967.

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William Abb Billy Cannon was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to Harvey and Virgie Billy Cannon.

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In football in 1955, his senior year, Billy Cannon scored 39 touchdowns, was included in All-State and All-America teams, and led the Istrouma Indians to a state championship.

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Billy Cannon's leading options included Florida and Ole Miss, but he chose LSU, who offered a job between semesters at a local car dealership; other colleges did not guarantee a job.

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Billy Cannon first played for the LSU varsity football team as a sophomore in 1957 under coach Paul Dietzel.

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Billy Cannon played in the halfback position and shared the backfield with Jim Taylor, who was selected as an All-American that year.

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Billy Cannon played defensive back and was the team's primary punter.

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Billy Cannon quickly emerged as a star, scoring twice in early season victories over Alabama and Texas Tech.

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Billy Cannon recalled that Texas Tech's focus was solely on Taylor.

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The White Team comprised the starting unit for the Tigers and, led by Billy Cannon, consisted of the most talented players, who excelled on both offense and defense.

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Billy Cannon was responsible for all seven points scored in the game; he threw a touchdown pass to Mickey Mangham and then kicked the extra point.

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Billy Cannon was awarded player of the year honors by United Press International, The Sporting News, and the Touchdown Club of Columbus.

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Billy Cannon finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy, behind winner, Pete Dawkins of Army, and runner-up, Randy Duncan of Iowa.

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Billy Cannon showed his versatility in those games; he led the team in total yards on offense, returned an interception for a touchdown on defense, and averaged 40 yards per punt while returning punts and kickoffs.

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On Halloween night, Billy Cannon led LSU into Tiger Stadium to face the third-ranked Ole Miss Rebels.

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Billy Cannon was a repeat winner of nearly every award he won the previous season, including unanimous All-America recognition.

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In November 1959, Billy Cannon signed a contract with Los Angeles Rams general manager Pete Rozelle, in which he agreed to play for the Rams in the National Football League.

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Two months later, on the field after LSU's Sugar Bowl loss, Billy Cannon signed another contract; this one was with the American Football League's Houston Oilers, whose owner Bud Adams offered Billy Cannon $33,000 a year for three years with a $10,000 signing bonus.

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When it became known that he had signed with two different teams, the Rams filed a suit that claimed Billy Cannon was bound by their contract and could not sign with Houston.

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Billy Cannon joined the newly formed Oilers under head coach Lou Rymkus.

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In one of those games, against the New York Titans, Billy Cannon set a professional football record with 373 all-purpose yards and scored five touchdowns.

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The Oilers repeated as AFL champions and Billy Cannon again was the game's MVP, scoring the only touchdown.

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Billy Cannon injured his back in the third game of the 1962 season, which affected his performances, but he still finished second on the team in scoring behind Blanda.

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Billy Cannon was traded to the Oakland Raiders before the 1964 season.

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At first Davis moved Billy Cannon to fullback, where he was an asset in catching passes, an attribute not all fullbacks then possessed.

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Billy Cannon eventually accepted his new role and adapted quickly to it.

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Billy Cannon caught only seven passes that season with no touchdowns.

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Billy Cannon established himself as a deep threat in Rauch's offense and caught fourteen passes for 436 yards—an average of 31.

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Billy Cannon convinced Davis to sign Blanda as a placekicker and a mentor for quarterback Daryle Lamonica.

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That year, Billy Cannon led all AFL tight ends with 629 yards receiving and ten touchdowns in his most productive season at the position.

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Early in the fourth quarter, Billy Cannon dropped a pass while wide-open on a play on which he would have scored.

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Billy Cannon had a modest 1968 season in which he caught six touchdown passes—including one of 48 yards in the second quarter of the famous Heidi Game—but knew he would not be in Oakland much longer.

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Billy Cannon was released by the Raiders during the 1970 preseason.

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Billy Cannon ended his eleven-year professional career with 2,455 yards rushing, 3,656 receiving yards, and 64 touchdowns on offense.

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Billy Cannon threw one touchdown pass and returned a kickoff for a touchdown.

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Billy Cannon holds the NFL record for the most yards from scrimmage in a non-overtime game and is tied with four other players for the most touchdown receptions by a running back in a season.

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Billy Cannon married his high school sweetheart, Dot Dupuy, while they were both freshmen at LSU.

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Billy Cannon reorganized the dental program with great success and was hired as a full-time employee.

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Billy Cannon remained the resident dentist at the penitentiary, where inmates typically call him "Legend".

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In February 2013, Billy Cannon suffered a stroke and was hospitalized in Baton Rouge.

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Billy Cannon was released two days later, returned to work the following Monday, and made a full recovery.

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Billy Cannon died in his sleep on May 20,2018, at his home in St Francisville, at the age of 80.

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Billy Cannon remains a respected and iconic figure in Louisiana sports despite his legal troubles.

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In 1975, Billy Cannon was inducted into the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame, followed by the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame the next year.

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Billy Cannon had originally been elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983, but the hall rescinded the honor before his induction due to his confessed involvement in the counterfeiting scheme.

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In 2012, Billy Cannon was retrospectively given the Jet Award as a "legacy" winner for the 1959 season, honoring the top return specialist in college football.

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