American Football Database
American Football Database
Joe Blahak
No. 27, 21     
Personal information
Date of birth: (1950-08-29) August 29, 1950 (age 71)
Place of birth: Columbus, Nebraska
High School: Columbus (NE) Scotus Central
Career information
College: Nebraska
NFL Draft: 1973 / Round: 8 / Pick: 183
Debuted in 1973 for the [[{{{debutteam}}}]]
Last played in 1977 for the [[{{{finalteam}}}]]
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Games played     44
Games started     1
Interceptions     3
Stats at
Stats at
Stats at

Joseph Philip "Joe" Blahak (born August 29, 1950 in Columbus, Nebraska) is a former professional football player, a defensive back for several NFL teams in the mid-1970s. He played college football at Nebraska under head coach Bob Devaney, and was a member of the 1970 and 1971 undefeated national championship teams. Blahak played high school football at Scotus Central Catholic High School in Columbus.

Collegiate career

During his junior season at Nebraska in 1971, Blahak was involved in a controversial play on national television. In the "Game of the Century" against #2 Oklahoma on Thanksgiving, he was accused of clipping Sooner punter Joe Wylie during a punt return that Johnny Rodgers returned 72 yards for a touchdown, but was not penalized.[1] He forced a fumble and recovered another in the game.[2] He also ended Alabama's best scoring chance in the 1972 Orange Bowl by intercepting a Terry Davis pass in the end zone; Nebraska crushed the #2 Crimson Tide 38-6 for the consensus national title.[3] In his senior season, the 1972 team finished fourth and won a third consecutive Orange Bowl, defeating Notre Dame 40-6.

NFL career

Blahak was one of ten Huskers selected in the 1973 NFL Draft, taken in the 8th round by the Houston Oilers, the 183rd overall pick. He was claimed off waivers the next year by the Minnesota Vikings, where he played two years before going to the newly formed Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976 NFL Expansion Draft.[4] Blahak was an opening-day starter for the Bucs, but only played with the team for two games. He was one of two players cut to make room for newly signed receiver Morris Owens, and running back Rod McNeill.[5] He was picked up toward the end of the season by the New England Patriots,[6] and returned to the Vikings in 1977 before retiring.


  • 1st team All-Big Eight, 1971
  • UPI 2nd-team All-American, 1972


  1. Babcock, Mike, Michael Babcock, Trev Albert. "Go Big Red: The Complete Fan's Guide to Nebraska Football". 1998: Macmillan. p.155
  2. Babcock, Mike. "Stadium Stories: Nebraska Cornhuskers: Colorful Tales of the Scarlet and Cream". 2004: Globe Pequot. p.76
  3. Wire services. "'Huskers maul Tide 38-6". St. Petersburg Times. 2 January 1972
  4. "Bay Buc Draftees". St. Petersburg Times. 1 April 1976
  5. Zier, Patrick. "Bucs' McKay is Ready, But How About Team?" The Lakeland Ledger. 25 September 1976
  6. Wire Reports. "Simpson, Dolphins Collide". The Boca Raton News. 2 December 1976