I join my fellow bloggers below who lament the passing of Alex Karras, and I agree that he was both a superb football player and a very likeable and humorous man. R.I.P.
That said, there was one time when he was laughing when, as it turned out, he shouldn’t have been.
On Nov. 8, 1970, a New Orleans Saintskicker with half a foot named Tom Dempsey lined up to try a 63-yard field goal in old Tulane Stadium. The Saints were awful; the Lions were very good at the time (they made the playoffs that year); the air is heavy below sea level in New Orleans; and nobody kicked the ball that far back then (I think the record field goal until then was just 54 yards, maybe 55). So, as the ball was snapped, rather than rush the kicker to try to block it, Karras and a couple of his teammates literally fell on the ground laughing. (Karras himself admitted this later.) They thought the whole idea of trying the kick was preposterous, especially for a pudgy guy with half a foot.
But Dempsey made the kick — and, for the first 21 years of the Saints franchise, it remained THE greatest moment in the woebegone team’s history.
The record still stands, although it has since been equalled three other times.
Karras retired at the end of the season.
Now he is retired for good. He will be missed.