|Born:||January 4, 1947|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||180 lb (82 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1968 / Round: 7 / Pick: 190|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
George Henry Atkinson II (born January 4, 1947) is an American former professional football player who was a safety and kick returner in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for the Oakland Raiders from 1968 to 1977. He played college football at Morris Brown. He was a member of the Raiders' Super Bowl XI championship team.
In a regular-season game in 1976 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders' arch-rival, Atkinson hit an unsuspecting Lynn Swann in the back of the head with a forearm smash, even though the ball had not been thrown to Swann. The hit rendered Swann unconscious with a concussion. Atkinson had also hit Swann in a similar manner in the previous season's AFC Championship game, which also gave Swann a concussion. After the second incident, Steelers' coach Chuck Noll referred to Atkinson as part of the "criminal element" in football. Atkinson subsequently filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Noll and the Steelers, which Atkinson lost.
Atkinson currently works as a Raiders broadcaster, doing the pre-game and post-game shows. He also hosts a television program called Behind the Shield. Since 2008, Atkinson has been a major spokesperson for "The Clothing Broker", a warehouse-style clothing store in Oakland, California. He also appears regularly on NFL Network "Top 10" shows that involve the Raiders, providing insight and his perspective on the many "controversial" calls made against the Oakland Raiders. Some examples are: 1) Perhaps the most controversial call - the Immaculate Reception - Atkinson contends that it was a dead ball because of the "double touch" rule (since disproven by physicists Timothy Gay and John Fetkovich, and also by video review), and because Raider's linebacker, Phil Villapiano, was "clipped". 2) Atkinson incorrectly (e.g., Jets vs. Patriots - 2001) points out that the Tuck Rule had never been used until it was used against the Raiders in the 2001 AFC divisional playoff game (it was actually used earlier that season against the Patriots) and never used again (the Tuck Rule was abolished on March 20, 2013).
Atkinson's twin sons George III and Josh played college football for Notre Dame. George III became an NFL running back. Both George III and Josh died prematurely; Josh killed himself in December 2018, and George III died of unannounced causes (following a suicide attempt shortly after Josh's death) in December 2019.
Atkinson's former significant other, the mother of George III and Josh, herself had severe mental illness and was institutionalized during the twins' childhood. She died in fall 2018, shortly before Josh died, of complications of Crohn's disease.