Danny Villanueva
Date of birth: (1937-11-05) November 5, 1937 (age 82)
Place of birth: Tucumcari, New Mexico
Career information
Position(s): Placekicker
College: New Mexico State
 As player:
Los Angeles Rams
Dallas Cowboys
Playing stats at

Daniel Dario Villanueva (born November 5, 1937 in Tucumcari, New Mexico) is a former American football placekicker and punter in the National Football League for the Los Angeles Rams and the Dallas Cowboys. Villanueva, who was of Mexican American descent, played college football at New Mexico State University.

Early yearsEdit

Villanueva graduated from Calexico High School and would attend Reedley College, before accepting a scholarship to play college football at New Mexico State University. He was part of the teams that won back to back Sun Bowl games in 1959 and 1960, as well as going undefeated his senior season. These were significant accomplishments, considering that more than 50 years have passed without another postseason appearance for the New Mexico State University football teams.

He was inducted into the New Mexico State University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1970.

Professional careerEdit

Los Angeles RamsEdit

In 1960 he signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent, becoming one of the earliest players of Mexican descent in the NFL, and one of the last straight-away style placekickers.

Villanueva was both a placekicker and a punter, so he kept two different pairs of shoes on game day.

During his time with the Rams he was nicknamed "El Kickador" and bullfighting music was played whenever he walked onto the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In 1962 he set the Rams' record for the longest field goal (51 yards) and the single-season record for punting average (45.5), which would last for 45 years until it was broken in 2007 by Donnie Jones.[1]

In 1965 the Rams traded him to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for wide receiver and future hall of famer Tommy McDonald.[2] He left as the Rams career gross average punt leader with 44.3 yards, a record that was broken by Donnie Jones in 2009.

Dallas CowboysEdit

In 1965 he had an instant impact improving the special teams unit, eventually setting the franchise record with 100 consecutive extra point conversions (1965-1967). In 1966 he had a career high 107 points.

He retired after the 1967 NFL Championship Game famously known as the "The Ice Bowl". He finished with a 42.8 career punting average without a block and 491 career points.

Personal lifeEdit

Villanueva went on to become a self-made multimillionaire. He started as a sports broadcaster on KNBC in Los Angeles, California. In the 1970's he became part-owner of the Spanish International Network (SIN), a Spanish-language network based in the United States with stations located in cities across the US with significant Spanish language populations. In 1986 the network was sold and renamed to Univision. He has a wife and two sons.


External linksEdit

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