Joseph Michael DeLamielleure (də-LAHM-ə-LEER; born March 16, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan) is a former American football offensive lineman who was an All-American at Michigan State. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft. He won All-Rookie Honors, after finding out a physical condition with his irregular heartbeat was not serious. In 1973 the Buffalo Bills rushing offense led the NFL in yards, yards per carry, as well as rushing touchdowns.
DeLamielleure was perhaps the central figure in the "Electric Company," the Bills' offensive line that paved the way for O.J. Simpson to rush for 2,003 yards in 1973, the first player ever to break that barrier, and the only player ever to do so in a 14-game schedule.
The league leading rushing yardage mark of 3,088 yards is still the 14-game record. Only the 1978 New England Patriots have bettered that mark and did it in 16 games. Individually, O. J. Simpson led the NFL in all four major rushing categories, a "quadruple crown". He also had the longest run in the NFL. The 2003 Yards Simpson rushed for is still the 14 game record (Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson achieved their marks in 16 games). Joe was also on the kickoff return team that blocked for Wallace Francis, who led NFL with 2 TD returns. DeLamielleure played on the wedge of the kickoff return team his entire career in Buffalo.
The following year, 1974, the Bills improved to 9-5 and made the playoffs. DeLamielleure was voted second-team All-Pro. In 1975 the Bills displayed one of most potent offenses of the decade. They led NFL in eleven categories, including total offense, rushing, rushing average, points, touchdowns and touchdown passes en route to an 8-6 record. The offensive line also allowed the fewest sacks in AFC. Simpson, behind the "Electric Company" achieves his second "quadruple crown" in three years and also had longest run in NFL. Individually, DeLamielleure is named First-team All-Pro.
- 1976 Simpson again leads NFL in rushing and DeLamielleure is named First-team All-Pro.
- 1977 With Simpson injured at mid-season, Bills pass more often and lead NFL in Passing Yards and throw the most passes in NFL.
- 1978 With Simpson traded, Bills running back Terry Miller takes over and is 9th in the NFL in rushing.
Six times he was named All-Pro and was named to the Pro Bowl six times. In 1975 he was named by the NFLPA as Offensive Lineman of the Year. In 1973 he was Co-Offensive Linemen of the Year as awarded by the 1000 Yard Rusher Club, Columbus, Ohio. In 1977 Joe received Forrest Gregg Award as NFL's Top Offensive Lineman.
In 1980 DeLamielleure was traded to the Cleveland Browns where he blocked for his 2nd NFL MVP, Brian Sipe. DeLamielleure becomes first player ever to block for a 2,000 yard rusher and a 4,000 yard passer. Of those who have done it since, (Jackie Slater, Doug Smith, Irv Pankey, Kevin Glover, and Tom Nalen) only DeLamielleure's duo were NFL MVPs and the passer (Sipe) also won the NFL passing crown. Also, the 1980 Browns offensive line led NFL in allowing the lowest sacks percentage and blocked for a 1000 yard runner (Mike Pruitt). During his five years with Cleveland, he played every game. In 1979 he was named the NFL's All-Decade Team. He played his final year in the NFL, 1985, back with the Buffalo Bills.
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By Dean Hanley
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