American Football Database
Elvin Bethea
No. 65     
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1946-03-01) March 1, 1946 (age 76)
Place of birth: Trenton, New Jersey
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 260 lb (118 kg)
Career information
College: North Carolina A&T
Debuted in 1968 for the Houston Oilers
Last played in 1983 for the Houston Oilers
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Sacks     105
Tackles     691 (1974-1983)
Touchdowns     1
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Elvin Lamont Bethea (born March 1, 1946 in Trenton, New Jersey) is a former American football defensive end who played his entire career with the Houston Oilers. He played for North Carolina A&T State University and was the first person from that school to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Bethea played high school football and track at Trenton Central High School.[1] He set the New Jersey state record in the shot put in 1964 - 66 feet 4.5 inches - which stood until 1997.[2] He won the shot put and discus competitions at the Golden West Invitational track meet in 1964. [3]

During his career in Houston, Bethea played in 210 games, including a stretch of 135 consecutive. He played at defensive end and guard in the 1968 season and didn’t miss a game until breaking his arm in a game against the Oakland Raiders in 1977. He led the team in sacks six times, finishing his career with 105 unofficial sacks.[4]

His career high was in 1973 with 16 sacks, which still ranks as the best in Oilers/Tennessee Titans history.[5] In 1976 Bethea recorded 14½ sacks, yet was not voted to the Pro Bowl. In a game against the San Diego Chargers in 1976, he recorded four sacks (his career high) and had one fumble recovery.

He also had 14½ sacks in 1969. Other notable seasons in terms of sacks were: 1970 and 1971 with 10½ sacks in each, 1975 with 10 and 1978 with 8. He played in the AFC Championship game in 1978 and 1979.

In 1975 Bethea was named All-pro by "College and Pro Football Newsweeky", the only time Bethea was a First-team All-Pro in his 16-year career. He was Second-team All-Pro in 1969, 1973, 1978 and 1979 to go with his 8 Pro Bowl selections.

Bethea was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003. He was officially inducted during the Enshrinement Ceremony on August 3, 2003,[6] where his college coach and presenter, Hornsby Howell, unveiled the bust of Bethea,[7] which was sculpted by Scott Myers.

In 2005 Bethea was inducted to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame [8]

Bethea is also the author of "Smash-Mouth: My Football Journey from Trenton to Canton".

See also


External links