HOUSTON — Adrian Burk, one of five quarterbacks to throw seven touchdown passes in a game who also officiated in two of the National Football League's most memorable postseason games, died Monday. He was 75.
Burk, who died at Henderson Memorial Hospital in east Texas, played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1951 to 1956.
He tied the record for most touchdown passes in a game when he threw seven at Washington on Oct. 17, 1954. The others to throw that many in a game are: Sid Luckman, Chicago, 1943; George Blanda, Houston, 1961; Y.A. Tittle, New York Giants, 1962; and Joe Kapp, Minnesota, 1969.
Burk was part of the officiating crews for both the so-called Immaculate Reception game between Pittsburgh and Oakland in 1972 and the longest playoff game ever, between Kansas City and Miami, on Christmas Day in 1971.
The quarterback was also remembered by Houston Oilers founder Bud Adams for his work as a lawyer in helping the team secure Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon for what was then a charter team of the fledgling American Football League.
"Billy Cannon was a two-time All-American and Heisman Trophy winner," said Adams, who moved the Oilers to Nashville after the 1996 season. "We had the No. 1 player coming into the new league and not going into the NFL. It was a big signing."
Burk, a Baylor Law School graduate who served as Oiler attorney and for two years assistant to the president and general counsel, waited for Cannon, who played at Louisiana State University, to finish his final game -- the Sugar Bowl -- and then signed him underneath the goal post on Jan. 1, 1960.
Burk "could certainly talk the players [into] signing better than a lawyer who had never been around a pro team or a pro league," Adams said. "It was right down his alley to be working with the Oilers and signing players."
Burk lettered at Baylor in 1948 and 1949. He was an all-Southwest Conference selection in 1949 and threw for 2,034 yards and 20 touchdowns in his career.
After retiring from his law practice, Burk worked as a missionary.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Neva Nelle Wright, and son, Robert, who lives in California.