David Michael Stratton (April 10, 1941 – March 25, 2020) was an American professional football player who was a linebacker for 12 seasons in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). He won two AFL championships with the Buffalo Bills, where he was a six-time AFL All-Star. He was named to the AFL All-Time Second Team.
|Born:||April 10, 1941|
|Died:||March 25, 2020(aged 78)|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||224 lb (102 kg)|
|High school:||Tellico Plains|
(Tellico Plains, Tennessee)
|AFL draft:||1962 / Round: 13 / Pick: 100|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Stratton attended Tellico Plains High in Tellico Plains, Tennessee, a hamlet in the Great Smoky Mountains region. Football players there did not attract college recruiters, and Tellico Plains athletes rarely went to college. Stratton played tackle, fullback and wingback.
Stratton received a scholarship from Volunteers coach Bowden Wyatt to play at the University of Tennessee.  He was a two-way player with Tennessee, playing tight end on offense and defensive end on defense.
Drafted out of college by the Buffalo Bills in the 13th round of the 1962 AFL draft, Stratton was selected as an AFL All-Star six straight seasons from 1963 through 1968. Bills coach Lou Saban teamed him with Harry Jacobs and John Tracey to form one of the best linebacking crews, playing together for 62 consecutive games from 1963 through 1967, a pro football record. They helped the Bills defense hold opposing teams without a 100-yard rusher for seventeen consecutive games in 1964 and 1965, capturing AFL championships in both years.
In the 1964 AFL Championship Game against the San Diego Chargers, Stratton made the memorable "hit heard 'round the world". San Diego's Keith Lincoln had a 38-yard run on the game's opening play. The Chargers were leading 7–0 when Stratton drove his shoulder into Lincoln's midsection, breaking the star running back's ribs and knocking him out of the game. The Bills shut out San Diego for the rest of the game, and won 20–7. In the closing minutes of the first half with Buffalo leading 13–7, the Chargers drove to the Bills' 15, but Stratton intercepted a Tobin Rote pass to end the threat. Rote and San Diego coach Sid Gillman called the turnover a decisive play.
Stratton played 11 seasons for the Bills before ending his career with the Chargers in 1973. He finished his career with 21 interceptions—18 with the Bills and 3 with the Chargers. He was selected to the AFL All-Time Second Team.
On March 25, 2020, Stratton died at age 78 from heart complications after a recent fall.
- Johnson, Raymond (September 4, 1961). "'L'l Abner' End Promises Great Things For Vols". The Nashville Tennessean. p. 22. Retrieved March 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Mike Stratton Stats". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
- Miller, Jeffrey J. (2012). "41. The Man Who Made The Hit Heard 'Round The World". 100 Things Bills Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781623680183. Retrieved March 27, 2020.
- Malorana, Sal (March 25, 2020). "Mike Stratton, who made one of the most famous plays in Buffalo Bills history, dies at 78". Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
- "Harry Jacobs". Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
- "Mike Stratton". Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
- "Mike Stratton's 230 Pounds Helped Bills". The Herald-News. AP. December 28, 1964. p. 37. Retrieved March 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Best Outside Linebackers Not in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame". bleacherreport.com. May 22, 2010. Archived from the original on October 7, 2010.
- "Where Are They Now?". Arizona Daily Sun. November 16, 1979. p. 12. Retrieved March 27, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Bills 50th All-Time team member Mike Stratton passes". www.buffalobills.com. Retrieved March 25, 2020.