BORN: September 5, 1939 in Topeka, Kansas
JOINED SAINTS: 1967
YEARS WITH SAINTS: 1967–1970
Billy Kilmer's Career Background
After rising from a backup to the early symbol of the New Orleans Saints franchise still in its infant years, Billy Kilmer's place in Saints history was honored as he was enshrined in the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame in 1990.
Selected by the Saints in the 1967 NFL expansion draft from the San Francisco 49ers, Kilmer spent his first season in New Orleans competing with former Baltimore Colts quarterback Garry Cuozzo for the starting quarterback spot. By 1968, Kilmer had won the job and would become the Saints starting quarterback for most of his remaining four years with the Black and Gold. Though the team never won more than five games in a season during his time, Kilmer emerged as an early fan favorite in the franchise's infancy, the first true starting quarterback and leader of the team. His role in Saints history was cemented on November 8, 1970, as he engineered a final minute drive to set place kicker Tom Dempsey up for his record-breaking 63-yard field goal to win the game against the Detroit Lions.
After his time with the Saints, Kilmer went on to play for the Washington Commanders, where he would eventually lead the team to a Super Bowl but was unable to finish as the Miami Dolphins won to complete the only perfect season in NFL history. The Topeka, Kansas native ultimately retired following the 1978 season and finished his career having played in 170 games with 124 starts, recording 1585-of-2984 completions for 20,495 yards and 152 touchdowns.
Kilmer now resides in Coral Springs, Fla.
Billy Kilmer's College Career
Prior to the NFL, Kilmer played three years for UCLA football while also lettering in basketball for two. During his senior year with the Bruins he threw for over 1,000 yards, rushing for over 800, scoring eight touchdowns and also serving as the punter. The All-American finished top five in school history for passing yards, rushing yards and total offense as he was awarded the W.J. Voit Memorial Trophy in 1960, which goes to the best football player on the Pacific Coast. He also finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1960 and was voted most valuable player at the 1961 College All-Star Game. As an honor to his illustrious college football career, Kilmer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Billy Kilmer's Career Honors
All-Pro – 1972, 1975
Pro Bowl – 1972
George Halas Award – 1976
Washington Commanders Ring of Fame
New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame