Former Buffalo Bills linebacker Mike Stratton, best known for the "hit heard 'round the world' in the 1964 AFL championship game, has died, the team confirmed. He was 78.
Stratton died from heart complications following a recent fall, the Bills said.
The Bills trailed 7-0 in the 1964 championship game at War Memorial Stadium when Stratton’s perfectly timed tackle knocked the wind out of running back Keith Lincoln and the Chargers. The Bills went on to win that game, 20-7. A year later, they’d beat the Chargers 23-0 in the 1965 title game in San Diego.
“It greatly surprises me,” he told The News in December about how well-known the hit had become. “I feel honored and blessed by it. It certainly has had a life of its own.”
Stratton, a member of the Bills Wall of Fame and one of the top linebackers in team history, played 11 of his 12 pro seasons with the Bills and his final season with the Chargers. He was a 13th round pick in the 1962 AFL draft out of the University of Tennessee in his home state.
He appeared in 156 games, had 21 interceptions and was key part of the Bills' formidable linebacker trio with Harry Jacobs and John Tracey. The trio played together for 62 games from 1963 to '67.
He was a six-time AFL All-Star and three-time All-Pro.
Stratton was selected to the Bills' 25th and 50th anniversary teams.