Ben Agajanian
refer to caption
Agajanian, circa 1947
No. 3, 8
Personal information
Born:(1919-08-28)August 28, 1919
Santa Ana, California, U.S.
Died:February 8, 2018(2018-02-08) (aged 98)
Cathedral City, California, U.S.
Height:6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight:215 lb (98 kg)
Career information
High school:San Pedro (CA)
College:New Mexico
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Field goals:104/204 (51.0%)
Points scored:655
Player stats at · PFR

Benjamin James Agajanian (August 28, 1919 – February 8, 2018), nicknamed "the Toeless Wonder", was an American football player, primarily a placekicker in the National Football League (NFL), the All-America Football Conference (AAFC) and American Football League (AFL).

Early life

Born in Santa Ana, California, he graduated from San Pedro High School in the San Pedro community in Los Angeles. A placekicker, he played college football at Compton Junior College and the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.[1] He served in the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II as a physical training instructor.[2] While playing in college, Agajanian had four toes of his kicking foot crushed in a work accident and then amputated in 1939.[2][3]

Pro football career

1955 Bowman football card

Agajanian played professionally in the National Football League from 1945 through 1959, then in the newly formed American Football League for the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers in 1960 and 1964. He also played for the Dallas Texans in 1961 and the Oakland Raiders in 1962. He is one of two players (the other was Hardy Brown) who played in the All-America Football Conference, the American Football League, and the National Football League.[4]

He was pro football's third kicking specialist (after Jack Manders and Mose Kelsch), booting field goals for 10 different professional teams in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, including two NFL champions: the New York Giants in 1956 and the Green Bay Packers in 1961.[5] In the 1956 title game, he went 5-for-6 on extra points and 2-for-3 on field goals, while in the 1960 title game he was perfect on extra points (one) and field goals (three).

He led the league in field goal attempts in 1947 (24) and 1954 (25) and also led in made field goals (15) in the former.

Later life

After retiring from the field at age 45,[6] he was the Dallas Cowboys kicking coach for 20 years. He also coached Chicago Bears kicker Mac Percival for the 1968 season.

Agajanian died in Cathedral City, California, on February 8, 2018, at age 98.[7] His older brother was the late Motorsports promoter J. C. Agajanian.

See also


  1. ^ "Agajanian signs with grid Dons". Pittsburgh Press. United Press. May 14, 1947. p. 23.
  2. ^ a b "Agajanian became star kicker after injury to right foot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 1, 1945. p. 12.
  3. ^ "Bootin' Ben Agajanian, oldest active gridder, released by Green Bay". Florence Times. Alabama. Associated Press. p. 11, section 2.
  4. ^ Giants Among Men, Jack Cavanaugh, p.54, 2008, Random House, ISBN 978-1-4000-6717-6
  5. ^ Lea, Bud (November 18, 1961). "Agajanian signs with Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 7, part 3.
  6. ^ "History: Players Who've Played in NFL at Age 40 or Older". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2012-12-01.
  7. ^ "Ben Agajanian, Square-Shoed Kicking Star, Dies at 98". The New York Times. February 13, 2018. Archived from the original on February 13, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.