Immigrant Of The Day: Garo Yepremian of Cyprus
Garo Yepremian (Cyprus)
Garabed "Garo" Sarkis Yepremian (born June 2, 1944) is a former National Football League placekicker (1966-81). Yepremian played for the Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Yepremian was born in Larnaca, Cyprus. At the age of sixteen, he moved to London, England. Yepremian later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, hoping to earn a college scholarship playing football. However, Yepremian's brief experience as a professional soccer player prevented him from playing college football per NCAA rules. Nevertheless, he continued to practice kicking at Butler University, where he was discovered and signed by the Detroit Lions.
In his rookie year, Yepremian broke a record by kicking six field goals in a single game for the Lions against the Minnesota Vikings. In the 1974 Pro Bow,l Yepremian kicked five field goals to lead the AFC to a win, and was voted Most Valuable Player in that game. He was elected to another Pro Bowl in 1979 after a season in which he kicked twenty consecutive field goals without a miss. Over his career, Yepremian was successful on 210 of 313 field goals and 444 of 464 extra points for a total of 1,074 points. He led the league in field-goal accuracy three times. Yepremian was voted Kicker of the Decade by both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Sports Illustrated.
Yepremian is perhaps best known for two feats — one famous, one infamous. In a divisional playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Christmas 1971, he kicked a 37-yard field goal in double overtime, ending the longest game in NFL history and sending the Dolphins to the AFC Championship game. Many remember Yepremian for an incident in Super Bowl VII. With his team leading the Washington Redskins 14-0, Yepremian was set to kick a field goal with slightly more than two minutes left. The field goal attempt was blocked, and Yepremian managed to get to the ball. Instead of just falling on the ball, he picked it up and frantically attempted to throw a pass. The ball slipped from his hands and went straight up in the air. Yepremian then batted it back up in the air, and it went right into the arms of Redskins cornerback Mike Bass, who returned it for a touchdown. The Dolphins managed to hold on to win 14-7 to preserve their perfect season.
Yepremian is currently a motivational speaker and the author of several books including an autobiography titled I Keek a Touchdown (1995). He is also the Founder & CEO of The Garo Yepremian Foundation for Brain Tumor Research.This article was originally published by the Immigration Prof Blog on August 31, 2007.
Kevin R. Johnson is currently Dean, Professor of Law and Chicana/o Studies, and the Mabie-Apallas Public Interest Law Chair holder at the University of California at Davis. He is also one of the editors of ImmigrationProf Blog.
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