To discourage spam, I have inserted "nospam." in front of e-mail addresses.
Ange, This week's Charger- Patriot matchup brings back many fond memories of '63 when they met for the AFL title. Chargers were favored but not by much. I was in fourth grade at the time and playing my first year of Pee-Wee football for Good Shepherd in Camp Hill PA. Our area was a mix of Colts, Eagles, Steelers and I was one of only 3 people that knew much about the AFL. In the neighborhood pickup games, I was either playing for the Oilers or the Chargers. Keith Lincoln was the preferred. Even made up a jersey with magic marker and the #22 and some lightning bolts. Can't forget the name on the back either. Loved the playoff the week before, Bills- Pats, and have acquired a copy of the highlights of that game and the 63 Bills. I really think that if there was a Super Bowl that year, the Chargers would have won, BIG . . Great offense, Lincoln, Lowe, Hadl, Rote, Mix, Norton etc. But especially the defense with Ladd, Faison, Emil Karas, Westmoreland etc. No Contest. Agreed ????? Yours in the AFL Paul B York Jr. More soon.
Makes me want to switch my Time Warner Cable subscription to the dish even more. I'd love to see Super Bowl III in it's entirety. I was eight years old in '69. I remember the ecstasy on my Dad's face when the Jets won.
"I thought we didn't like the Jets, Dad?"
"We do today, son, we do today."
Only the NFL could get away with owning their own network. I could see them starting up more networks in the future, one to cover NFC games and one to cover AFC games and eliminating ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX broadcasts altogether. We'll all have to pay the NFL just to watch their games from home, a privilege we all enjoyed for free. ~ Chuck Maley
Dear Sir, just to clarify on the recent email I sent - - while I would be fine with you opting to put my kudos on your guest book, mainly I wanted to email you to simply show appreciation for the obviously large amount of "fun work" you put into it. I hope you intend to keep this site up for a long, long time.
I kinda feel like I know ya, as much as you're obviously into the old-school stuff, particularly the greatness of the AFL. Though just a young child thru the 60's, I grew to love it all so much, and enjoy "time-warping" back to it.
With the baby boomer generation being the largest by far of any other, I know there's bound to be several others who enjoy such recollections.
Just wanted to give you major kudos on a wonderful site. I've placed it even as a link on my blog. Speaking of old school, you may want to check it out a sec if time permits. It's not solely AFL, though, but it covers that era. http://boomerball.blogspot.com/
Take care, Bert Hancock
My name is Brian Wittkop Sr. and I live in Rapid City Michigan (near Traverse City) . . . I came across your web site and loved it. I too love the AFL and was and still am a Chargers fan. My son and I are also big Electric football fans and players. We collect old teams and also play seasons . . . in honor of the AFL we are going to play an AFL season with teams painted in the original colors and uniforms. We will play a 6 game season (I have lots of time since I'm retired and on dialsyis).
Your site is an invaluable resource for the way some of the uniforms looked, and some of the players' numbers. Thanks so much for your hard work.
If you have any interest in looking in on our season . . you can go to miggle.com and go to the chat board and see any post under Old AFL season . . . by 'wolverine'.
Again thanks so much . . . . Yours truly Brian D. Wittkop Sr.
Hello, my name is Brooks Davison. My friend, Mark Kelly and I own and operate the website www.maddenhistoric.com. We do the historic rosters for the popular video game John Madden football. I have used your site many times as a research tool to help build not only the regular rosters but also the All Time Teams.
I also plan on building these custom teams not included in the game:
Mark Kelly is a two time Emmy award-winning researcher for ESPN network and I have been an amateur pro football historian/nut since the early seventies. Your site is truly awesome and I visit it often. I am currently reading "Going Long". It is a fantastic book about the AFL that is hard to put down and I highly recommend it.
I hope it is okay that I posted a link to your website on my personal page on our website.
It is sites like yours that will help educate fans on the history of this great game of professional football. ~ S. Brooks Davison, www.maddenhistoric.com
I came across a link for your site on the AFL article on wikipedia and I must say that I regret not visiting it before! What a wonderful experience! I am a lifelong Chiefs fan from New York City. (The Bills are my #2 team -- I developed a warm spot in my heart for them when I attended the University at Buffalo from 1984-1988.) If you are interested, I've attached a letter that I wrote to the late Lamar Hunt a few years ago that tells the whole story on how I became a Chiefs fan at the tender age of seven. Sadly, I did not receive a reply. Throughout my life, I've been a rabid collector of Chiefs memorabilia. My greatest achievement just might be that I own 180 different Chiefs caps. I can send you a picture if you like.
And since the glory days were the 60s, I've amassed quite a few AFL items. I own every AFL yearbook except 1961. The 1960 issue is one of my prized possession -- as is an old Spalding signed by the 1966 Chiefs team. Ebay has been a godsend: I just won a little commemorative plate from the 1970 AFL All Star game. I own just about every book you have highlighted on the site and am proud to say that I can easily rattle off the winners and losers from each AFL Championship Game. Not that anyone seems to care! It always amazes me when I ask a Jets fan when New York joined the NFL and they say 1960.
I have not yet managed to explore your entire site yet but I must commend you on what you have written about Johnny Robinson. Simply a crime that he is not in the Hall of Fame. The same for Otis Taylor: he was a man among boys. Again, I thank you for the work you have put into remembertheAFL.com. I'm not sure exactly what I could do, but let me know if you need any help keeping it going. ~ Sincerely, Tom Flynn
February 15, 2007
Thank you so VERY MUCH for this website honoring the memories of the American Football League. I am very disillusioned with today's National Football League. It (the NFL) has become an institution for the rich & beautiful while pushing away the real blue collar fans who built it up ($3200 for a cheap seat at Super Bowl XLI? $5000 for the best seats in Miami? $200,000 for a luxury box suite at Dolphins Stadium? No tailgating allowed either? THAT IS ABSURD!). In short, the National Football League is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE!
I was born in 1965, so by the time I started watching football as a kid all that I was exposed to was the National Football League and the AFC and NFC that is underneath their wings. And I have followed many teams over the course of time.
But no team has captured my imagination quite like the OAKLAND RAIDERS! Oakland . . . Los Angeles . . . Oakland . . . IT IS ALL GOOD! And the fact that the Silver & Black were charter members of the American Football League makes it EVEN BETTER! I consider the Raiders-Chiefs rivalry to be the real deal in my mind. I feel that their battles in the 1960's are CLASSICS! Not even a writer in Hollywood could have wrote a better script. "The Patriarch" of the AFL (Lamar Hunt) versus "The Godfather" (Al Davis) in the most heated football games ever played. Once again . . . they were CLASSICS!
I think that the Raiders have gotten such a bad rap over the years because Al Davis (just like David fighting Goliath) showed incredible bravery in his brief term as Commissioner of the AFL in 1966. The AFL clearly won in the AFL-NFL merger and Al Davis has forever paid the price for standing up to the NFL and its monopolistic ways. How ironic that the NFL claims to be "America's Game" and yet in a country that has been built on competition and a free market economy, nobody is more socialistic and HATEFUL of another league than the NFL. Some of the "good old boys" of the NFL may look at Al Davis as "Jimmy Hoffa" and Pete Rozelle as "Bobby Kennedy" . . . but we know better!
Thank you for honoring Al Davis (and the rest of the brave American Football League pioneers) the way they should be honored. Thank you for telling the truth about the real deal in professional football in the 1960's. Thank you for educating so many people about the bellwether called the American Football League. This website has to be the best "Mom & Pop Shop" website that I have ever seen on the Internet. The very best of fortune to you and your family in the future! ~ Sincerely, Karl L. Brown
Hunt was a good man, the best, and without him there would be no AFL, nor pro football as we know it today. But he was "born with a silver spoon in his mouth", while Al Davis had to claw and fight for what he got. Hunt was just too nice, and didn't realize that the AFL would have buried the NFL if Al Davis had been allowed to fight the fight. - Remember the AFL
February 22, 2007
I want you to know, I visit your site often. I think it is a wonderful dedication to football from yesteryear. Personally, I feel football of today is such a washed out game that it is hard to remain enjoyable anymore. So it is refreshing to see websites dedicated to the games history, and in fact, to the AFL. As I have always felt the AFL was and is, what is the best about the NFL today. If it was not for the AFL merging with it, I do not think the NFL would have the success that it has. And who knows, if there was never a merger, the AFL could have taken the NFL out of existence. We will never fully know about that. But I enjoyed your site a lot and I visit it as often as I can. It is a great reflection of a great league, that showcased what football is all about and what it stood for. ~ TC, Jennifer
Note: The next writer
is referring to a recent Buffalo News article that stated that no Buffalo
team had ever won a major championship.
What a great site, my dad who still lives in Buffalo sent me a copy of First Sunday with the article “Did the Bills Win a World Championship”--- Damn Right they did.
I have many great memories of going to the Bills games at the old rockpile as a young child. I still remember trying to catch balls that were kicked into the end zone stands box seats (pre-net era). Going to watch Cookie, Kemp, Paul Costa, Sestak, Maguire (which included a trip to Sestak & McGuire’s for chicken wings), I could go on with all the great players I watched growing up. It was always a treat to go to the Saturday night games while they lasted.
The Browns used to be on local TV every Sunday and my favorite player was Jimmy Brown, but once the Bills beat the Chargers for the AFL championship in '64, I was forever an AFL fan 1st and foremost. One of my fondest memories was going to the Bills/Chiefs Championship with my older brother (tickets were $10) our bond was forever formed. We were even lucky enough to go to the Bills/Giants Superbowl; to this day we still talk about the Bills losing to KC and missing out on going to the 1st SB game (at that time The World Championship Game).
To this day our families go for the original AFL teams in the Superbowls; we're half & half if the Steelers, Colts, Ravens or possibly the Browns make it. We were just as proud as the Jets fans when Broadway Joe beat the Colts and then the following year the Chiefs beat the Vikings --- Go AFL!!!! ~ Sincerely, Jim “Goose” Siragusa
What an absolutely great site... Growing up in Boston, I will never forget the great battles we had with the Bills.
Have some bad news to relay to you this evening. Ernie Wright a former Ohio State great and original member of the LA Chargers (and personal friend of mine) passed away last month in San Diego.
I worked in football for the past 34 years as a talent scout (three leagues), but like you, most fondly remember the AFL
All my best, ~ Tom Marino
I only just found out about your web site, despite loving football all my life.
What I remember the most about the AFL was the New York Titans' first night game at the Polo Grounds in 1960. I was at the game with a group of friends.
The Titans were leading the Boston Patriots with just a few seconds left. The Titans had to punt; the punter fumbled the snap and in a wild melee one of the Patriots picked up the loose ball and ran for the winning touchdown as time expired. There was no screen replays to analyze what went wrong. It was just a blur, pretty much left to our aging memories.
I do not remember the sequence of plays that led to the punt; I've often thought about the game and wondered if the Titans used smart time management strategy then they would have trotted off the field with the victory in hand.
I sort of rooted for the Titans for the following few seasons even though owner Harry Wismer was a turn off. I remember Al Dorow's scrambling passes, Art Powell's leaping pass receptions, hard nosed tackling of Larry Grantham.
I do miss the ugliness of the Polo Grounds; never would there be a stadium like the Polo Grounds. There is beauty in this ugliness.
Barry Strassler, Washington, DC, but a native of New York.
In the second week of the 1960 season, on Saturday night, September 17, before 19,220 fans (Wismer's count) at the Polo Grounds, the Titans were leading 24 - 21 in the fourth quarter. Their punter was Rick Sapienza, who fumbled late in the game, and the Patriots' Chuck Shonta picked it up and ran 52 yards for the TD. Cappelletti kicked the extra point, and the Patriots won 28 - 24. The next game, the Titans then had Al Dorow do the punting, and later gave the job to Joe Pagliei. - Remember the AFL
This is a great site. I am a New York Jets fan since 1972 (I was born in 1968) and attended every game from 1972 until 1978 or there abouts. I also watched them practice at Hofstra University numerous times. I have only seen them play three times since they moved to Giants Stadium, but I am still a fan. It's just that seeing them anywhere but Shea Stadium just isn't the same for me. ~ Ian
Thanks for the great site. I have wonderful memories of the Jets and the AFL.
My husband, Dee Mackey, was a player in that great league. He never made the All-Pro Team, or the HOF; however, his career is one to be envied. Dee was drafted by the 49'ers
in 1959 where the great quarterbacks, Y.A. Tittle and John Brodie were field generals. Dee
was traded to the Baltimore Colts in 1961, and was on the receiving end of Johnny Unitas passes. When Weeb Ewbank made the move to New York, Dee also made the move, giving him the opportunity to perform at the infamous Polo Grounds. Then came the move to Shea
Stadium, making him a part of the Sonny Werblin/Joe Namath dynasty. Unfortunately, his career ended in 1967; and we all know what happened in 1968. It was sad, but the knowledge that he had a career alongside the greatest quarterbacks in pro football history eased the pain. Dee's legacy also includes being on the short list of father/son players in professional football. Our son, Kyle Mackey, also wore the green and white of the Jets. Dee died February 26, 2001 in Gladewater, TX. How we miss the big guy!
My major project is spearheading an exhibit for the East Texas Museum in Gladewater.
We will be honoring professional athletes from Gladewater, White Oak, Big Sandy, Winona, and Sabine. Our list includes the famous Jet, Winston Hill, Coach Lovie Smith, ,Max McGee, and Deb Mohon of rodeo fame. Our athletes are from many sports - if any fan has memorabilia to donate, we would appreciate the offer.
Thanks for the platform, ~ Barbara Mackey
I must say that your site is one of the best sites, if not the best, that I have ever visited. I think that when you were creating those player articles [on Wikipedia] last July, you should've been allowed to keep your links to remembertheafl.com up and not have Cholmes75 remove them as "linkspam". I think they should go back up because your site is the only site I know with detailed information into the AFL. Yeah, I know about profootballreference.com and databasefootball.com, but your site gives expert information from someone who loved and watched the AFL. I think that you deserved better then.
Anyway, getting back to the likes of Sestak and Robinson (I read your comparison of Robinson and Larry Wilson in the New York Times link you have on your website, I like the picture of you as well), I think that you have valid points on why they should be in the hall of fame. If I were the NFL, here is what I would do:
I would make a section dedicated to the AFL and have Sestak and Robinson and Cappelletti there if they can't make it in the January vote. It would be justice, and, even being posthumous for Sestak, it would be a great honor for the players who played in the AFL to know that they were hall-of-famers.
I love your reasoning for the NFL to be called the AFL. The NFL is everything the AFL was. Only if the AFL played hardball for a couple more years, and the NFL might have merged into the AFL, not vice-versa. The AFL changed football forever in a great way. And they had just as good players as the NFL did. Thanks for the response. ~ Troy
July 14, 2007
Thank you very much for placing Bud Adams in the AFL Hall of Infamy. You are so very correct when you say he has turned his back on the AFL and all it once represented. It is a shame that someone that did so much for the AFL style game would slap all the fans in the face, especially the great city of Houston. What he did, refusing to allow Houston the name rights of the Oilers, is an atrocity that no Houstonian, Texan, or AFL fan should ever forget or forgive. Additionally, his lobbying with the NFL, in an attempt to deny Houston a team should be considered a grievous and petty crime against professional football. It is because of Bud Adams and his actions that I no longer tune into or even follow professional football. It's only high school and college for me.
I'm sure in time the wonderful city of Nashville will see Bud Adams for what he truly is, a man with a great and glorious past that has been corrupted by the all mighty dollar and lust for power in the NFL's elitist circles. The hard working citizens of Cleveland once felt the same embarrassing sense of misfortune when their team was stolen away from them. However, they again have the Browns and all the history that is associated with the name. After many more years people will not remember that George Blanda once roamed the sidelines in Houston, or that Earl Campbell smashed through defenses under the glass-roofed Astrodome. Certainly few will remember that it was with the Oilers that a new high flying offense called the Run-N-Shoot was first brought to the NFL through the AFL/AFC Oilers.
Again, I just want to thank you for the opportunity to voice my disgust of Bud Adams and where professional football has gone due to people much like him. Thank you very much for your insight in placing Bud Adams' name where it rightly belongs: THE HALL OF INFAMY!
Cleveland got its team and their name back because they were an NFL city. The league didn't care that the city that hosted the AFL's first two champions got screwed. - Remember the AFL
July 17, 2007
Thank you for your great site. I, too, am a big fan of the AFL and have enjoyed your site for sometime. I am from Buffalo and was a big fan as a young boy going to the Rock Pile to see the 67, 68, 69 and 70 Bills playing there on Sundays. I am still a big football fan but my
greatest memory of football is the old AFL and the Buffalo Bills. I collect whatever I can about the AFL, books, pictures, whatever. It's good to know someone else has the passion that I have for this great time in football history.
I just finished reading your article on the net under Buffalo.com and enjoyed it tremendously. I love your idea of a 50-year anniversary and would like to help if I could. Please don't hesitate to ask if you need some support. I am just an individual but would like to help in whatever way I could.
Thank you for your time and this great site.
Fellow AFL Passionist ~ Jeffrey T. (JT) Evans
The following was sent at Eastertime. I was remiss in not publishing it sooner. - Remember the AFL
April 8, 2007
My father knew some of the founders of the AFL and was able to get access to all of the statistics from an entire season. These included about 7000 plays and recorded line of scrimmage, results, the type of play and the results. My dad used this data to invent a board game and was given the rights to label it as the "official" football game of the AFL. I have the original mock-up of the board, a few copies of the play book, which were typed as well as some correspondence between my dad and some game manufacturers.
This game never reached the market, but a manufacturer did produce something similar a year or so after Dad went to New York and showed them his game. He was convinced they took his idea. Anyway, I have been working on a plan to produce the game with a new board design, etc, but to leave it as a board game instead of trying to re-cast is as a video game or computer game. I was only going to produce enough to give to my brothers. My brothers and I went to every Oiler game in Houston with our dad between 1960 and 1965, including the longest game. I remember that one because it was so bitter cold. I also remember the day a player from the Titans was killed during a game in Houston due to a closeline tackle on a kick return.
Fights in the stands during the 3rd and 4th quarters were the routine at Oiler home games. Until the team moved to the Astrodome, they played in the University of Houston stadium on the UH campus and it was not legal to sell beer in a college stadium at the time. The parking lot was on the grounds just outside the stadium itself and people would go to their cars at half-time and get boozed up in their cars. At some point in the last half of the game, someone would get rowdy and start a fight. As kids, we just could not wait to see the police go up in the upper level seats and drag some guy out.
Anyway, I found your site when I did a search for Bob Talamini. His son called me the other day as a wrong number but I recognized the name on caller ID and spent a few minutes on the phone telling him about seeing his dad play in the "old days".
Enjoy your Easter day. ~ Robin Harrison
August 10, 2007
August 17, 2007
I am an old time AFL fan and very pleased with your website. I was 11 years old when the AFL started and was and still am a Houston Oilers fan. Blanda, Cannon, Tolar and Hennigan were my boyhood heroes. Thanks for promoting the AFL which was so much more exciting and colorful than the boring old NFL of old timey 3 yards and a cloud of dust football. When Namath showed them up in the Super Bowl, it was a trium ph for all AFL fans because we had been telling them that the NFL style was out of date. The AFL really was a reflection of youth and the Sixties. The merger should never have taken place in my opinion. We should have had two leagues just like MLB. Many of the stars of the AFL should be in the Hall of Fame. I remember attending an Oiler game in the late 1970's and the Oiler Championship players of the early sixties were honored. You should have heard the crowd cheer for Hennigan and Tolar in particular. We still loved them and the AFL. I wish the NFL Texans could approach that magic.
God Bless you ~ LH
August 18, 2007
What a great site! I am a lifelong Dolphins fan and remember the inaugural season of 1966 as if it were yesterday. I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale and participated in the contest to name the franchise. Mine was one of 600 entrants who suggested "Dolphins" as the team name. Could you imagine a team called the Miami Mariners, or heaven forfend, the Miami Moons! I remember fondly even those early hapless teams when the "stars" were George Wilson, Jr., Joe Auer, and Wahoo McDaniel. I commend your efforts to see the great AFL players inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is incredible to me that Jim Tyrer, Jerry Mays, Jim Nance, Cookie Gilchrist, the late George Webster and so many other worthy players have not been enshrined. Almost forty years after the merger and the AFL still gets no respect! Cheers, ~ Doug Bisson
I can still picture Joe Auer, one of my favorite former Bills, running back the opening kickoff for a Miami touchdown in the Dolphins' first game. - Remember the AFL
August 22, 2007
Angelo, although I have visited this site before I have just returned because the AFL was one of the reasons I watched American football to begin with.
I began watching in 1965 at the age of six having only watched the previous season in the NFL and watched Jim Brown and Cleveland win the title, and I had only watched the CFL prior to that beginning at age three, as well I totally agree with you about those that you believe should be included in the Hall of Fame.
My favorite players back in the day were Lance Alworth and Daryle Lamonica, and I loved your addition of the players who previously played in the Canadian Football League. Also I haven't watched the NFL since 1985.
Keep up the the Great Work ~ Greg
October 28, 2007
I just wanted to write in to tell you what a wonderful site this is and how special it is for folks like me. I was a young child growing up in Chicago in the 1960s. My father was from Kansas City and used to tell me how thrilled he was when pro football came to his hometown. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my father and I watching AFL games on NBC. The Chiefs became my favorite team. When I went to school the other kids would tell me how great the Bears were. I caught more than my share of grief but my hero was not Gale Sayers or Dick Butkus but Len Dawson. My dad had a love-hate relationship with the Oakland Raiders and with Joe Namath. He loved to root against the Jets and the Raiders but when the two teams met for the AFL Championship in January of 1969, I remember us rushing over to my uncle’s house to watch one of the greatest games in history on their big, color TV.
My father passed away in 1986. When I think back and remember my childhood and Sunday afternoons with him listening to Curt Gowdy call all those wonderful games, I am taken back to an era that was truly a magic moment in history that can never be repeated. Those of us who remember the AFL sometimes have a hard time explaining to others why it was so special, but if you were lucky enough to have caught the bug, it is for life. In spite of the fact that many games were played on raw, cloudy days in spartan, rusty stadiums, the AFL is a warm place to return in our memories. Professional sports today seem so packaged and sterile. It is a far cry from those days when the uniforms were muddy and men like George Blanda or Babe Parilli would draw up plays in the dirt to outsmart Johnny Robinson or Ron McDole (the same plays that today are called by computers to counter defenses, a testimony to the unique ingenuity of those players and coaches). Unlike today, teams back then stayed together for years and each franchise in the AFL developed a unique flavor. If it were not for Sid Gilman, Lance Alworth and the rest of the Chargers, there would be no “vertical” passing game in modern football. I know we cannot wake up tomorrow and watch a game on NBC in glorious peacock color from sunny San Diego of 1965, and see that California field that seemed SO green set against those powder blue uniforms, but your site takes us all back to those days.
Speaking of the fields….George Toma, the groundskeeper extraordinaire of the Chiefs, was yet another innovator that you might want to consider for the AFL Hall of Fame. He was the father of the modern sports playing field. As a kid used to watching black and white TV growing up, I mentioned earlier how my dad would always try to find us a color TV for AFL games (sometimes parking ourselves in the electronics section of the department store….you had to know how friendly my dad was to understand why the salesmen never minded seeing a smiling George Henning and his son show up on Sunday afternoons for big games).
Those colorful Municipal Stadium fields painted by Mr. Toma (with the Chiefs’ logo and helmet at midfield and the endzones painted up in red and gold) were a real treat for the eyes (and the forerunner of all modern football filed designs). It was a shame that Arrowhead Stadium was built with artificial turf. I cried after the Chiefs lost on Christmas Day in that last game ever played at Municipal Stadium. It was perhaps a final nail in the coffin of the old days in the post-merger world. Those red uniforms never quite looked the same without grass stains and mud.
Thanks again…..Long live the 52-49 final scores, 235 pound linemen playing without steroids, Sherill Headrick fixing his compound fracture by sticking the bone back into his thumb and staying in the game … etc ….. etc …. Rich Henning
Thanks for the great letter, Rich. Good suggestion about George Toma. Sherrill Headrick is now fighting liver cancer, but I know he'll be as tough against that disease as he was against his AFL opponents. - Remember the AFL
December 19, 2007
I'm getting a little bit tired of people criticizing Joe Namath.
He is NOT the "most overrated quarterback" of all time.
He won the only Super Bowl that counted. The only one people remember.
Joe was not surrounded by exceptional talent for most of his career. Still, he had great talent and charisma.
Most important, he lived up to his words. How many so-called superstars do?
Maybe people don't recall what a tremendous underdog the New York Jets were. But lots of us do.
Strange that BEFORE the third AFL-NFL World Championship Game, the football geniuses were calling the Colts "the greatest team in pro football history". The Jets beat them: how come no one then called the JETS the greatest team in pro football history? - Remember the AFL
December 29, 2007
I'm writing as I await the the Patriots' final game of the season against the Giants to see if they will go 16 and 0 and I'm spending that time remembering the fun I had discovering pro football through the Boston Patriots and the AFL, which I began following avidly in 1966, when I was seven years old.
My children have labored under the delusion that the Pats have always been great, played in a beautiful stadium and were hated by everyone else in the country. How wrong they were! I'll be the first to agree that the era of Brady, Moss, and Harrison are the best ever, but there was nothing more fun than seeing Parilli, Cappelletti, Buoniconti, etc. play in Fenway Park. Unless it was playing at Boston College and having the stands burn down, as they did during an exhibition game against the Redskins I went to with my father in 1969.
We also had the added benefit of rooting for our hometown favorite, Joe Bellino, once he came back from the Navy. I will feel even better watching the Pats stick it to the Giants since the Giants were force fed to us on radio and TV both before and throughout the 60's, and there has always been a significant Giants fan base in New England, though I bet few are willing to stick their heads up right now.
As I kid, I watched and appreciated the NFL, but for pure excitement and passion it was the AFL for me. Kind of like the difference between watching the opera and watching Jackie "Mr. Excitement" Wilson. I'm the kind of person who still is disappointed when the Colts or the Steelers go to the Super Bowl because they are not AFL teams. I was thrilled to see so many of the AFL trading cards I still have, reproduced on your site and especially look forward to the day when someone wises up in Canton and makes sure Gino Cappelletti is voted into the Hall of Fame.
Does anyone know of a place where one can get either audio or video tapes of old AFL games? I have only one, an audio of the 1968 AFL title game between the Jets and Oakland and was playing it today in the car for my kids, since all children should be raised on the classics.
Also, if anyone is in the Boston area, be sure to remember the old time Boston Pats in the Boston Herald's poll of all-time Patriots. Yes, Brady will win, and that should be the case, but make sure Gino, Babe and the old guys get their props.
Long live the AFL, and long live Ange Coniglio for keeping the AFL alive!
Happy New Year ~ Kevin McElhinney Brattleboro, VT
January 27, 2008
Thank you for your time and effort in creating this resource. Growing up in a small Western PA town, I was obviously rooted in Black and Gold, and have no regret in that fact. That being said, I have become a fan of football in as much as I am a Steeler fan, and this is a fantastic portal to the history of perhaps the greatest professional league in modern times. Always a fan of the underdog, the drama of that in real life was not played out much more than in the AFL days, from on-field competition to the business and marketing of sports.
I have learned of this time from books my father had found for me, and was absorbed by the evolution of the sport I grew up with as a child of the NFL (post-merger). All these things are already known to you, but my angle is from a different level: from my 6th grade English teacher (Sister Marie Elizabeth) who taught him as a child, to one of the main roads I drive while working named after him, I have earned a huge amount of respect for the Eternal Player: George Blanda. Thank you again for this wonderful page into knowledge. ~ Steve
January 6, 2008
Dear Ange: This email to you is way overdue - - Thank you so much for your website, and more power to you, man!
These days, with yet another NFL postseason underway, it's far too easy to focus on the here and now. But I was delighted this weekend to realize that the NFL broadcasters do NOT want to forget the AFL. Last night during the Steelers/Jaguars game, John Madden talked about strategy with using the 2-point conversion with the Oakland Raiders "in the old American Football League." Yes, John!
I also enjoyed thinking of today's Chargers-Titans game as a rematch between the earliest AFL championship game, and sure enough they played clips from the first two AFL championship games between the LA Chargers and Houston Oilers, in 1960 and 1961, featuring George Blanda, and both games won by Houston. Who won today? The Chargers! It is all a continuation, proving beyond a doubt that the AFL lives!
As a final comment: Which two teams have ever gone undefeated in any NFL season?
Happy New Year!
January 31, 2008
Great news Mr. Coniglio. That league should be remembered in some way. Best logo in sports. Nothing like the old AFL and the original eight. Chargers vs. Chiefs at Balboa Stadium . . . . . now that was football . . . . Lowe, Hadl, Lincoln, Faison, Ladd, Sweeney, Mix, Alworth . . . . . Dawson, Taylor, Arbanas, Buchanan, Tyrer, Holub, Headrick . . . . . You have done all us fans a great service Mr. Coniglio, and I know for myself that it is very much appreciated. Regards, ~ David Sirrico
February 4, 2008
My dad, Sam, took me to my first AFL/Raiders game in 1963. On this day, the Raiders lost to the Boston Patriots 20-14. We sat in the end zone at Frank Youell Field. I had a great time at the game, being a teenager.
About 17 years later when I was a Raiders beat reporter for the CONTRA COSTA TIMES (Walnut Creek, CA), I was hanging out at practice. The PR guy, John Herrera, comes up to a half-dozen or so reporters and introduces a former Raider by the name of Clem Daniels. None of my colleagues knew who Clem was. But I did.
In 1964 at Youell Field, I watched Clem run over the Jets all day. I shook Clem's hand, and to this day, shaking his hand was an honor.
Frank Youell Field in Oakland has been a parking lot for students for the last four decades at Laney College. Every now and then when I drive on Interstate 880 and I pass Laney College, I think fondly of where I've been.
Remember the AFL. No way I'll ever forget it. ~ Joe DeLoach
Daniels was an American Football League All-Star in 1963, ‘64, ‘65, ‘66 and ‘67. In 1963, Daniels was the Sporting News' American Football League Most Valuable Player, with a 5.1 yards/carry average, gaining 1,099 yards. He was the All-Time leading rusher in the American Football League and was selected to the All-Time All-AFL Team. WHY ISN'T HE in the "pro football" Hall of Fame? - Remember the AFL
February 7, 2008
Just stumbled across your great site! I love the idea of having throwback games in 2009, I guess Tennessee would have to masquerade as the Oilers though. Maybe the Bills and the Pats could play at Fenway!
My father took me to my first game at War Memorial Stadium to see the Bills play the Bengals in a blizzard. I loved it . . . we were sitting at midfield with the snow whipping in our faces when my father asked me if I wouldn't mind going to sit in the end zone where it wasn't so brutal. I didn't mind and had a great view of Booker Edgerson stealing the ball from Sam Wyche and running into the end zone for the winning touchdown. I remember it like it was yesterday. They had to shovel the lines to know where the line of scrimmage was. After the game, we kids were allowed on the field to watch the players walk off. I remember they all were nice to us when we jumped up (if we could) and smacked their shoulder pads. I was frozen solid, but happy.
Actually I had been watching football since 1968, and liked the Vikings and Browns, but my father instructed me that I was not to like any NFL teams! And to this day I don't like the NFC at all. I don't remember the Jets Super Bowl, but definitely remember the Chiefs dismantling the Vikings. I remember my brother and father rooting for the Chiefs as if they were the Bills. Those were great days.
Thanks for the site! ~ Jeff
We were at that game . . . with the Bengals in white, we could hardly see them on the field. And the big, fat snowflakes were coming straight down so steadily, I turned to my wife and she had a half-inch of snow on her eyelashes! - Remember the AFL
February 27, 2008
May 17, 2008
This site brings back fond memories for me. I live in Houston and did in 1960. My Dad and I missed the first three Oiler games that year, but never missed another while they were in the AFL. The Oilers gave us a special bonding. They played in a high school stadium in those early years and I often would go see my school on Saturday night and the Oilers the next day. The Oilers were my team, but I would watch any AFL game I could. I especially remember the 1963 Championship game. I had to beg off of work that day to see it. Keith Lincoln just ran wild for the Chargers that day. My favorite player in the league was Lance Alworth. What a player. This site has brought back a lot of memories that were lost through the years. Keep up the good work Ange.
May the AFL Live Forever
Back in either 1966 or 67, you played with my beloved Chiefs and traveled to New York to face the Jets. A friend of my father's brought both my brother and I to the game and we sat right behind the away dugout where the Chiefs entered the locker room. After watching you fling your body into pile-ups and play with total reckless abandon, disregarding your own body and just generally having a great time, the Chiefs left the field. I, being all of 5 or 6 years old called out to many of the players and the only one to respond or even acknowledge us was you. I guess you were surprised we knew your name. You smiled, and signed an autograph for each of us, said hello and rubbed my head before heading into the locker room. I've never forgotten your kindness and grew up wanting to be like you.
The good news was I was a relatively good athlete and got many scholarship offers in Hockey, Football and Baseball (eventually taking the college Hockey route). The bad news is I played by flinging my body into pile-ups, with reckless abandon and disregarded my own body, but generally had a great time. As you know, that led to many injuries that catch up to you later. But I wouldn't change a thing.
Thanks to you, and others like you, I have a huge love of sports (and especially the Chiefs) that will never die, no matter what the players do to the games now. I frequently visit Remember the AFL & Gridiron Greats for updates on your condition. My prayers are with you and if there is anything you think I might be able to do for you, please feel free to contact me. (have you thought about the AFL Ring as of yet?)
Thank you very much for all of the memories. God bless you, and may you be well.
December 29, 2008
I was 8 yrs old when the AFL started and watched week after week those first 5-6 years on a B&W TV up in my bedroom while my dad watched the Packers (I did, too, when their games weren’t blacked out – old NFL blackout rule as we lived within 50 miles of Green Bay.) … The AFL player names are as familiar today to me as in 1960. I am sitting here watching a video of the famous 1962 AFL title game with Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman and Jack Buck doing the game from Jeppeson Stadium in Houston. My favorite team in the AFL was the Houston Oilers. ~ Russ
January 1, 2009
I stumbled across your website today about the history of the American Football League. I am only 42 years old, but love to read about and study the history of the AFL & NFL, the merger, etc. This site is a marvelous compilation.
I read an article written by Angelo back in 1970, and at the end it said that 2009 won't be remembered as the 50th anniversary of the AFL rather the 90th of the NFL. I don't know if that will be true, but I would hope that the 8 original AFL franchises & the 2 expansion AFL franchises would sport some kind of patch to remember the AFL. [See http://www.remembertheafl.com/CelebrateTheAFL.htm]
I read an article written in 2004 [See Gadfly bugs Hall of Fame voters to 'remember the AFL' in future] by a gentleman, [Jerry Magee] and I apologize I forgot his name, but he mentioned that he became friends w/Angelo, and that Angelo came across a flaw in the playoff system, one where a team had to lose in order to make the playoffs? It wasn't very specific in the article, but it piqued my interest, and that's another reason why I am e-mailing today, to find out what that flaw was, and when Angelo discovered it, and was it after the merger, or before, and was it the NFL or AFL that was affected by this "flaw"? [Many years have gone by, and even I don't remember exactly. It was after the merger, and would have affected every team in Professional Football. When they first instituted the extra wildcard team, the tie-breakers were set up so that in some situations, it would actually be in a team's favor to lose a game, causing the seeds to be altered so that the losing team could get into the playoff as a wildcard.]
Happy New Year, 2009, the 50th anniversary of the AFL, and thanks in WHOLE to that league, we have what we do today, but I can definitely understand and respect your feelings about having wished the AFL had remained intact. It seems like the 1970 merger eventually became a blueprint for Major League Baseball to utilize a really odd format for inter-league games, something which I dislike greatly about MLB since they began it in 1997.
Kindest regards, Bill from PA, a novice AFL/NFL Historian
Thanks, Bill: And I dislike 'interconference' play in Professional Football. I'd rather see four eight-team conferences, two in the NFL and two in the AFL (The NFL would be made up of the 16 NFL teams in existence in 1969. One conference in the AFL would be made up of the eight original AFL teams, the other by all expansion teams since 1970.) Each team would play every team in its own conference twice, for 14 games. Then, for example, the Original Eight AFL Conference would play two games apiece against the Dolphins and Bengals. No regular season games would be played against the other teams in the AFL Expansion Conference, or in the NFL conferences. Playoffs would take place to determine an AFL champion and an NFL Champion, and the winners would play in a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
January 2, 2009
I have written you a few times about your AFL site............. I have an idea as sort of a tribute to some of the old AFL players............. Since I consider you to be an authority I wanted to get your input............. If you could only pick 11 AFL players that were really super stars of the league during the mid to late 60's who would you pick?
Here are some that come to mind for me:
Joe Namath, Lenny Dawson, George Blanda, Lance Alworth, Bobby Bell, Billy Shaw, Otis Taylor, Fred Biletnikoff, Jim Otto, Don Maynard, Willie Lanier, Ben Davidson, Jim Nance.......... Just was interested to know what you thought or who you would pick. ~ Charles Angell
I don't know if I can pick just 11. Here are 11 offensive players, my picks as the best at each offensive position.
Tight End: Fred Arbanas. 16 yds/catch, five All-Star games, 3-time All-League TE, has 3 AFL Championship rings, played in two World Championships, owns a World
Championship ring. Member of the All-Time All-AFL Team.
Flanker: Lance Alworth. Pro football HOF. (if you let me pick two flankers, the other would be Charley Hennigan, first to catch over 100 passes/season, 2 AFL titles, held Professional Football pass reception records for 34 years.)
Halfback: Abner Haynes. Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player in 1960. 1962 AFL Champion, his 12,065 all-purpose yards is the All-Time All-AFL record. Second team All-Time All-AFL.
Fullback: Chester Carlton 'Cookie' Gilchrist. He and Paul Robinson were the only two men to rush for over 1,000 yards in their first year in a U.S. Professional Football league. 1962 MVP, all-time AFL leading 13 td/season. Ran for a Professional Football record 243 yards, while scoring 5 tds in a single game. 4-time AFL All-Star, 4-time All-League fullback. Led league in rushing and scoring 3 years with the Bills.
Quarterback: Daryle Lamonica. 3-time All-Star, 2-time All-AFL quarterback, 2-time MVP, 1 AFL title, played in 1 World Championship, threw a TD for every 15.86 attempts, behind only Namath, Dawson and Tittle, best won-lost record for a starting qb in history of Professional Football.
Offensive Tackle: Ron Mix. Pro Football HOF, had 2 holding penalties in ten years in the AFL.
Offensive Tackle: Jim Tyrer. 7 AFL All-Star games, 8-time All-AFL offensive tackle. 3 AFL Championship rings, played in two World Championships, won one World
Championship ring. Member of the All-Time All-AFL Team.
Offensive Guard: Billy Shaw. Only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who never played a down in the NFL.
Offensive Guard: Ed Budde. Five All-Star games, 3-time All-League offensive guard, has 3 AFL Championship rings, played in two World Championships, owns a World
Championship ring. Member of the All-Time All-AFL Team.
Center: Jim Otto. Pro Football HOF
I think that your site puts NFL.com to shame along with most teams' "history" pages within their own websites. The Broncos history page has been down for months.
I grew up in Colorado from 1972 on. I was fortunate enough to know several fans who had season tickets since 1960 to the Broncos. How nice to have heard stories about the exploits of Rich Jackson, Bud McFadin, Lionel Taylor and other AFL greats.
Have enjoyed your first 3 years of AFL history from a fans perspective. My fathers side of the family are from the Bay Area. So I got to hear stories about the AAFC days of the 49ers and the days of the 49ers entry into the NFL. The alley-oop from Y.A. Tittle to R.C. Owens. After that my uncle was a Raider fan who regularly taunted me about the Broncos.
Until the 1977 season when the tables were turned.
My dad and I have always felt that when an AFL team played an NFL team during the days of Pete Rozelle, that the NFL team always got the favorable calls from the officials. He always believed as did Al Davis that the Cowboys were wired into the league office. Our dislike of the Cowboys, Bears, etc continues to this day.
Thanks again for your great efforts to keep the AFL alive. ~ Brian Schaefer
Brian: If you told someone that you thought Michael Jordan never fouled out of an NBA game because sometimes the refs gave him the benefit of the doubt, most people would probably admit that you were right. But NFL fans, TV announcers, and writers would never admit that NFL teams got favored treatment by the officials, even though it was true. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
January 12, 2009
Yes I remember that day like yesterday. I was a huge AFL fan but my first allegiance was with the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas. That day made me ill, but I didn't stop loving the AFL. In retrospect it was the best thing that happened to Pro Football. But as a 17 year old, it was disaster to me as a Colts fan first and a Houston Oilers fan second. And an AFL fan. I know its hard to be a fan of both, but I was. I hope that next year ALL of the former AFL teams wear the throwback jerseys of their origin. BTW, I hate when the Chargers wear the dark blue. They should always wear the Columbia blue and with the number underneath the bolt on their helmet. And 21 isn't Ladanian Tomlinson. It's John Hadl. ~ K. R. Lombardia
And 83 is Dave Kocourek ~ REMEMBER the AFL
January 13, 2009
I haven't heard a word either although I remember every year along with 12/7/41 and other dates no one seems to commemorate anymore.
Another year there isn't going to be a Super Bowl as the post conference game will either feature two NFL teams playing for the NFL title, or a displaced and renamed AAC team playing an NFL team.
I have never understood the media fascination with the 1958 game. It wasn't the game that catapulted the NFL into the media and marketing giant it is today: it was the 1/12/69 game between the Jets and Colts. Prior to that the SB didn't even sell out nor did most regular season games outside of places like Buffalo and the major markets. The 1958 game was a sports sideshow; a televised event that few people watched or even read about. At the time the NFL had barely risen out of the barnstorming days.
Not only that, the NFL didn't even know what to do after the "success" of the Colts-Giants game. Did they expand? No. Did they try to get new owners for the moribund Cardinals? No, only when the American Football League lit a fire under them did they realize that there was more to Professional Football than the northeast, and "three yards and a cloud of dust." ~ REMEMBER the AFL
The great thing about being an AFL fan is that we are a bit outside the mainstream. It was true in 1969 and is true in 2009. I personally find that a nice thing. Sort of like being an Apple person in a world of PC users.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS MESSAGE. I'M A 52 YEAR OLD JET & AFL FAN THAT WILL NEVER FORGET!! I WISH I COULD RETURN TO THOSE DAYS. FOOTBALL FOR ME HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME SINCE THE MERGER. I MISS THE JET TEAMS OF THE LATE 60'S. MY ALL TIME FAVORITE JETS WILL ALWAYS BE NAMATH, MAYNARD & SAUER JR. NEVER EVER TO BE REPLACED. A PIECE OF ME DIED WHEN SHEA STADIUM WAS CLOSED LAST YEAR. IT JUST SEEMED LIKE ANOTHER CHAPTER OF AFL FOOTBALL WAS LOST AGAIN. I WILL CONTINUE TO ROOT FOR ORIGINAL AFL TEAMS THAT MAKE THE PLAYOFFS. YOUR WEB SITE IS MY PASSAGE BACK TO THE BEST DAYS OF MY YOUNG LIFE.
P.S. I LIVE IN ALLENTOWN PA HOME OF DAVE STEIDEL AUTHOR OF "REMEMBER THE AFL" AS I'M SURE YOU KNOW ALL ABOUT. I PLAN ON MEETING HIM SOMEDAY SO I CAN THANK HIM AND MAYBE CHAT ABOUT THE THE GREATEST FOOTBALL LEAGUE EVER!!!!!
THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO TO KEEP THE AFL ALIVE!!!!!
MIKE EBERLY, ALLENTOWN PA
January 14, 2009
I remember this game as if it was yesterday. My fondest memory of watching football with my Dad was this game! When the Jets won my Dad was as excited as the sixteen year old kid I was at the time. We were the only two people in our circle of friends who rooted for the Jets and that Monday morning we sure did a lot of bragging.
I also wished to thank you for the recommendation about Dave Steidels book, "Remember the AFL", what a fantastic book! Reading it has brought back a bunch of great memories of all the super stars that played in the AFL.
Keep up the great work and I support all your efforts toward making the NFL recognize the 50th anniversary of the AFL. ~ Your fellow AFL fan, Dan
January 22, 2009
What a great site. I spent 4 years of my playing days in the AFL. I have so many memories. This site is great for us old-timers. Keep up your great effort. I am going to order a ring right now. I lost mine many years back and am happy to have a chance to pass my memories to my grandchildren.
AFL All Star 1967
March 3, 2009
Great site, I made a logo for the American Football League's 50th season, just for the heck of it...here it is.....
Good job! Click to enlarge it. Better than some of the "official" teams' 50th logos that I've seen! ~ REMEMBER the AFL
March 7, 2009
Am I glad that I stumbled across this site. Having been born in 1946, I really can remember most of the guys in the old AFL just from memory. They had exciting names compared to the staid NFL. Names that stick in memory like "Emerson Boozer" "Houston Ridge" "Hoyle Granger" "Gloster Richardson" "Hewritt Dixon", "Williard Dewveall" "Wray Carlton" "Goldie Sellers" "Frank Tripucka" "Gene Mingo" "Elvin Bethea", "Abner Haynes" "LaVerne Tarzan Torzon" "Wahoo McDaniel" "Sherman Plunkett" "Lionel Taylor" "Otis Taylor". I could go on and on, the point is we all loved to watch those old-time AFL games where the scores averaged in the high 30's, unless you happened to be playing against "Day, McDole, Dunaway and Sestak"
However as I went down the list of the Hall of Fame members, as I was getting tears in my eyes and shivers down my spine I realized that you failed to recognize the announcers. Most specifically I am referring to "Charlie Jones and Paul Christman" as far as I am concerned they were the voice of the Old AFL and hearing them talk about "Charlie Hennigan" or George Blanda, Len Dawson, or having Jerry Mays on one side and one-eyed Fred Arbanas on the other side being impossible to defend, or speaking about how Charlie Tolar really did fight oil-well fires in the off-season with Red Adair, made those players really come alive and take on a real human identity.
I think you should find a spot on your site to mention those guys.
However I don't mean to find fault. It is a really great site and I got a lot of pleasure from perusing it. I expect to return and fully explore it in the future.
Joe: There are hundreds of pages on my AFL site. You missed the "announcers" page at http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLAnnouncers.htm ~ REMEMBER the AFL
March 26, 2009
Ange: Having been season ticket holders for the Houston Oilers from start to finish, we have mixed feelings -- elated to honor the HOUSTON Oilers (they were NEVER the Tennessee Oilers!) -- but now we are Texans fans. John McClain sort of sums of the situation here in Houston.
Pat and Mac
McClain: Titans to don Oilers jerseys during season
By JOHN McCLAIN
Based on your comments on my blog at chron.com, many of you are
infuriated that the Tennessee Titans will wear the original Oilers
uniform three times next season as part of the NFL's tribute to the
50th anniversary of the American Football League.
Last season, I told you about the league's plans to honor the golden
anniversary of the AFL by having the eight teams wear throwback
jerseys. It became official during the NFL meetings on Tuesday, so read
it and weep.
If you want to see an Oilers uniform for the first time since 1996,
when they played their last game in the Astrodome, youll have three
The first will be on Aug. 9, when NBC televises the Hall of Fame Game
between the Titans and Buffalo Bills. The Titans will wear the Oilers'
1960 blue and white jersey that has red accents. They'll wear blue
helmets with the oil derrick logo.
"I'm honored to be part of the Oilers' tradition, and will wear the
uniforms with pride", Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. This is a great
opportunity to share Oilers history with players and fans who aren't
familiar with it.
Throwbacks in 09
Fisher was the last Oilers head coach. He coached two full seasons in
Houston before owner Bud Adams moved the franchise to Tennessee in 1997
and renamed it the Titans in 1999.
"Its a privilege to be part of the 50-year celebration, because I was
a small part of it before", Fisher said. "The Hall of Fame Game is
going to be special to me because it means I've managed to stay in this
game long enough to be part of this tribute that begins in Canton."
Two more times -- both during the regular season -- the Titans will wear
the Oilers uniform when they play against original AFL teams -- once at
LP Field in Nashville and once on the road.
"I was a big Oiler fan growing up", Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "I
know I've told this story a lot of times, but I was at the Astrodome
when the Oilers came back from Pittsburgh (after losing the AFC
Championship Game after the 1978 and 79 seasons), and I've never seen
anything like it. And I'll never forget it."
"I think its going to be pretty cool that the Oilers are going to be
Since I found out last season that the Titans were going to wear the
throwback uniforms, I've asked a lot of former Oilers players and
coaches what they think about it. Just about all of them have told me
they like the idea.
Don't blame Bud
They say they don't want fans to forget the Oilers. If having the
Titans wear their 1960 uniform is the best way for fans to remember a
franchise that spent 36 years in Houston, so be it.
Its going to be strange, but before you start blasting Adams, he had
nothing to do with it. This is an NFL-mandated commemoration of a
monumental time during the history of pro football.
Adams played a crucial role in helping Lamar Hunt found the AFL. Their
original announcement was made in Adams office. If you're not a
student of AFL history, the Oilers won the first two championships in
1960 and 1961 and lost the title game to Hunt's Dallas Texans in 1962.
Adams, 86, and Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson, 90, are the last survivors
of the eight-member Foolish Club, so called because each of the eight
invested $25,000 to compete against the established NFL.
Next season, the NFL is paying tribute to an important time in the
games evolution. A lot of Oilers fans don't like the idea of the
Titans wearing the uniforms. A lot of Texans fans want to forget about
the Oilers because they're gone.
Well, there's a lot of us out there who'll never forget the Oilers as
long as were on this side of the grass, so deal with it.
John McClain covers the Texans and the NFL for the Chronicle. He can be
heard on Sports Radio 610 at 7:30 a.m. Mondays and 4:30 p.m. Fridays.
I wish the Oilers were still in Houston. I wish Adams had at least left the name. I understand Houston fans being Texans fans, but Houston fans should never forget that the only two major league sports titles brought to the city were by the American Football League's HOUSTON Oilers.
I can't think of the AFL without thinking of the Oilers: Billy Cannon; George Blanda; Charlie Hennigan, first to catch over 100 passes in a season; Charlie Tolar, and all the other Oiler greats.
March 27, 2009
Hi there -- I saw your site which brought back fun memories of going to Houston Oilers games at Rice Stadium in the mid-1960s. Back then, Coca-Cola sponsored a Houston Oilers Junior Quarterback Club. For $8 or $10 a year, kids got a t-shirt, passes to all the Oiler home games as well as a pass to an Oilers practice session where we got to meet the players, get autographs, etc.
I remember Sonny Bishop, George Blanda (of course), Sid Blanks, Ode Burrell, Bobby Jancik, Bud McFadin (who lived four houses down from us here in Houston), Jim Norton (who I later became friends with in the mid-1980s), Bob Talamini, Charlie Tolar, and Don Trull.
Those were great days. Thanks for memorializing them on your website.
|So who says "the NFL defenses possessed more talent"? Byrne? Jerry Green? William N. Wallace? Tex Maule? How do you prove it? AFL offenses played against AFL defenses, and NFL offenses played against NFL defenses.|
March 27, 2009
Good to see that the spirit of Tex Maule lives on. Answer me this: Did the NFL have a better passing percentage than the AFL because its offenses were better, or because its DEFENSES WERE WORSE?
In the only actual confrontations between AFL and NFL, the only four World Championships of Professional Football, the NFL won two and lost two. The two they lost were to teams that did not have the best records in the AFL. The two NFL teams that lost were in their turn proclaimed by your ilk to be "the greatest teams in NFL history" - before they lost. In those four games, the AFL was 61 of 112 for 54.4%, to the mighty NFL's 53.8%. Statistically insignificant, you say? So were your numbers. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
March 28, 2009
The answer Ange lies, I think, not in performance level but rather philosophical approach. The same spirit that spawned the AFL permeated its tactics as well. While the NFL was a run-heavy league until 3 or 4 years after the merger (I think the league average in the final three years prior was 57% to 42 % in favor of the run. - The numerical discrepancy is a result of my ignorance of the fraction!) And although the "west coast offense" was decades to come, the NFL relied heavily upon screens, "dump-offs " and quick slants.
The AFL of course was interested in advancing the ball and scoring as many points as possible. The NFL adhered to a more traditional approach of ball control. This is only my opinion Ange, dredged up from visual memory and text dealing with the matter. Personally I think it is valid. The AFL boasted of superior athletes in the mid- to late-sixties, which was also conducive to a fairly disproportionate amount of deep pass attempts . ~ Johnny Allen Owens
March 28, 2009
The reason the AFL quarterbacks had lower passing percentages, and BTW usually had more INTs than TDs is because they played the deep game. No "west coast offense" in the AFL (thankfully). They were always going downfield...way downfield. Look at Elbert Dubenion's average per catch.
On the other hand, the NFL played a stodgy conservative game, and still do. That was the clashing point of AFL vs. NFL...free wheeling vs. set in their ways. ~ Jeff G.
March 28, 2009
Consider this striking parallel in sports history:
The "upstart" American Football League did to the old, established National Football League what the "upstart" American League in baseball did to the old, established National League decades earlier.
The historical fact is that the two upstart American leagues, one in baseball, the other in football, were infused with a vigor and a quickness of mind that the older, established National Leagues lacked..
Bob Boyle [Former SI sportswriter]
PS: And I say this, admit this, as a National League baseball fan simply because I was born in Brooklyn and grew up a Dodger fan.
March 30, 2009
Statistics in professional football, as you pointed out to the Tex Maule cult at SI, are largely insignificant. Unlike baseball, it is a scoreboard-oriented sport, not a statistic- driven sport. It is the interaction of 40 men per side performing as units during a relatively short season that matters; and it is "scoreboard" that is the only statistic that matters, particularly in the post-merger Super Bowl era.
This is why Lou Saban will never be mentioned in the same sentence as the near-sainted Vince Lombardi despite having coached successfully in two very different eras at multiple levels not just the pros: he never got "scoreboard" i.e. a Super Bowl victory or two. And, conversely, having "scoreboard" is the only reason Joe Namath is in Canton despite throwing more INT's than TD's in a career that was largely unremarkable on the field except for 1/12/1969. I'm a Jet fan, but to your point, I think Lamonica would have blown the Colts out in Super III.
Never-the-less, the scoreboard says 2 wins for the AFL and two wins for the NFL. You could argue that by the mid-sixties the only difference between the two leagues was that the Green Bay Packers played in one and not the other, but the only real arbiter is the scoreboard, and it will forever say 2-2. I'd prefer it to read 4-0 but it never will and this is the only statistic that matters. ~ Bob Goode
March 30, 2009
Bravo. A sore point with me is the myth that the AFL was a passing league. Apart from Jim Brown and Gale Sayers, who else in the NFL could match Gilchrist, Nance, Granger, Tolar, Daniels, Snell, Lowe, Lincoln, Garrett, Haynes, Post - we had the better runners!
March 30, 2009
What you said is very true. They always call the AFL derogatory names like "Basketball on Grass" etc. but the AFL modernized pro ball with the great wide open passing game. Frankly, three yards and a cloud of dust on every play just isn't that much fun to watch.
I just wish old Al Davis had gotten his way and the leagues had stayed seperate just as MLB has always done. I firmly believe that the 1960 Oilers would have beaten the NFL champ Eagles of that year. George Blanda believed that the Oilers could compete with anybody and he played in both leagues. I just wish things had stayed with two leagues. There can be no doubt as Namath pointed out, that the AFL as a league had better QB's at the end of the 60's than the NFL did. Lombardi was full of it when he denigrated the old AFL.
The AFL was right for the 60's and was part of the youth revolution.
Long live the AFL. ~ Larry Hillman
March 30, 2009
I was a huge Baltimore Colts fan growing up. When the AFL started in 1960, I became a big Houston Oiler fan along with being a Colts fan. I'd like to think I was not prejudice but an unbiased fan. If the Colts weren't on TV, I watched the AFL game regardless who was playing. The NFL was boring. I hated when the NFL won the first two because I hated the Packers. But I hated the Jets beating my beloved Colts. I loved the Chiefs beating the Vikings to even the series and really bring credibility to the AFL. I really think the Chargers would have beaten anybody in the NFL in '62 or '63 with the offense they had. I don't think any NFL defense could have stopped them. To all of these people that think the AFL was inferior, ask them who the father of the modern day passing game was. He was actually the grandfather of the West Coast offense. Sid Gillman! Probably the greatest passing guru of all time. And with Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln, his running game wasn't bad either.
K.R. Lombardia (no, I was not a Vince Lombardi fan. Different spelling. But he was a helluva coach)
March 31, 2009
The guy from SI tackles a debatable issue, but he goes about it like a moron. But the truth is that there are still people up in the NFL League office, and the Media, that think the NFL did the AFL a favor by the merger . . . I PERSONALLY THINK IT'S THE OTHER WAY AROUND!
I like the logo patch they are going to wear this year, but I felt it was missing something . .
May 2, 2009
AFL fans and Alumni:
I'm sorry to tell you that the only man to start at quarterback in five American Football League Championship Games, Jack Kemp, has died of undetermined cancer.
Kemp was an AFL All-Star in seven of the AFL's ten years, one of only twenty players who were in the AFL for all ten years, an AFL MVP, the only QB besides George Blanda to win consecutive AFL Championships, and he had the most career passes attempted, most completions and most yards gained passing in the history of the American Football League.
Another player left out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame because he played in the wrong league.
May 3, 2009
What a kind tribute to our friend Jack. We were with Jack and Joanne and Tom and Barb Flores in Palm Springs during the weekend when Joe Namath put the AFL on the championship map. It was the first time I had met Jack and I was so impressed with how bright, well-read, witty, and charming he could be. From then on, we stayed in touch. During Jack's campaign for president we were his guests at a speaking engagement and he introduced Wayne, from his seat in the front row, to the audience. What a nice and flattering gesture. It is our understanding Jack had prostate cancer.
We agree, Jack should have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Kindest Regards, Sharon for Wayne Hawkins
Here's a little story to show what kind of person Jack Kemp was. You may remember that in the Bills' great years, Kemp was the starter and Daryle Lamonica was the backup. All of Buffalo was split into the "Kemp camp" and the "Lamonica camp". I was in the Lamonica camp, and though I always kept it civil, I wrote many a letter to the editor, calling for Lamonica to be the starter.
When the AFL ran its course, I made hand-painted AFL plaques for the three Bills players who had been in the league for all ten years: Harry Jacobs, Paul Maguire, and Jack Kemp. I brought each plaque to the player's home (a different world, then, a fan could actually do that!). When I gave the plaque to Jack (who had seen all those letters to the editor) he looked at me with a twinkle in his eye, and said "I thought you had horns!" He never held my opinions against me, and he was instrumental in supporting my lobbying to have the Chiefs wear the 10-AFL patch in Super Bowl IV.
May 3, 2009
To Football fans everywhere;
We have lost one of the best. Jack Kemp was truly one of the people upon whom the AFL was built. He was a legit QB and could have played in any era and in any league.
Thank God he was ours.
I fear that we, as a country, are not turning out Jack Kemps anymore and that saddens me beyond my ability to describe it. I am not the least bit concerned with anyone's political views, I'm speaking strictly football
Jack was one of those rare people who seemed to have that "gift". By that I mean good teams and good things just kind of followed him around if you know what I mean.
Once, while leading a school field trip to D.C. I was just opening a door to a Federal Office building to take the students inside. Just as I opened it, a man came out, looked at me and the kids and said "thanks buddy".
As he walked past me I said to myself, "Jeez that's Jack Kemp". I suddenly felt like one of the 9 years olds who were in my charge. I had to use all my strength to keep from running after him and asking for an autograph, and thanking him for his efforts while playing in the AFL, but I couldn't just walk away from the kids. I don't know how much about the Federal Government those kids learned that day. But they sure got one fine response to "Who's Jack Kemp, Mr. Ginther?"
Now, I wish I had run after him. Thanks Mr. Kemp. Thanks for being one of "ours".
May 3, 2009
JACK KEMP WAS ONE OF THE BEST I PLAYED AGAINST. HE COULD REALLY CHUNK THE LONG BALL. HE WAS AND LOOKED LIKE THE ALL- AMERICAN GUY. I REMEMBER HIM CALLING ME ABOUT THE AFL & NFL GETTING TOGETHER ON THE PLAYERS’ RETIREMENT PACKAGE. HE CALLED BECAUSE I WAS THE FIRST PLAYER TO GO TO THE NFL FROM THE AFL (DENVER in 1967 to 49ers ) (he was a politician even back then). YES, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES, # 15. ~ GOOSE GONSOULIN DENVER BRONCOS #23, 1960 to 1967.
May 4, 2009
The late Jack Kemp was the only American Football League quarterback to be listed as a starter in every year of the league's existence, and the only one to start in five of its championship games. He won two of those games, with the Bills, and was the only quarterback other than Hall of Famer George Blanda to win two consecutive AFL titles. He was the leader of the only Buffalo team to win a major league championship. And he won two of them.
Kemp was one of only twenty players who were in the AFL from start to finish. He was an AFL All-Star seven times, All-league quarterback twice, and league MVP in 1965. When his throwing hand was broken, he had doctors set it in a position so that he would still be able to grip and throw the football. In spite of being sidelined for an entire season, when the AFL finally closed shop in 1969, he was in the record books as its all-time leader in passing attempts, passes completed, and passing yards gained.
One question remains: with men having lesser credentials already enshrined, why isn't Jack Kemp in the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Angelo F. Coniglio
GOOD QUESTION! BUT WE ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWER. -------- ALL THE BEST, LARRY EISENHAUER, BOSTON PATRIOTS
IT IS OBVIOUS, THE AFL. THEY [the NFL] STILL DO NOT WANT TO RECOGNIZE WHAT HAS MADE PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL BETTER ................. LAMAR HUNT'S INSPIRATION AND FORTITUDE TO START A NEW LEAGUE THAT WAS SUCCESSFUL IN LESS THAN 10 YEARS ......... Big T, Tommy Brooker, DALLAS TEXANS & KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, Alabama Sports HOF 2009 (MAY INDUCTION).
THANKS FOR CALLING THE PRO!!!
Amen to that. ~ Bobby Burnett
AN OPEN LETTER TO HBO
June 3, 2009
July 15, 2009
Really enjoyed scrolling through the AFL site. Just saw it mentioned in USA Today on Monday and had to check it out.
I grew up in Cleveland where my parents had season tickets to the Browns from 1951-1964.
We moved to Cincinnati in October of 1964 (yeah, bad timing as Browns fans! :-) and on December 25, 1967, a voucher for season tickets to the Cincinnati Bengals was under the Christmas tree!! There was not a schedule, and no tickets, just a promise.
I was 12 at the time ... and more than four decades later, I still have the season tix to the Bengals.
My dad and Hank Stram were roommates at Purdue, so obviously we had a great fondness for the AFL. They were in frequent communication when Hank was a head coach and even more so when Hank was a broadcaster. When my dad passed away in Florida in 1988, I picked up the phone and it was Hank Stram at the other end sending his condolences. I got to meet and chat with him a couple of times over the years. A very, very nice man.
Remember those oversized AFL football cards from the mid-1960s? (I know you do, because you have a few of them pictured on the site.) Those were something else! I had a bunch of them!
Let me call your attention to page 63 of the current issue of Sports Illustrated. I don't know who George Blanda is pitching the ball out to ... and I don't know who is the lineman pulling to block. But something tells me that no one is looking forward to a collision with big Ernie Ladd (77)!! Now HE'S an unforgettable force from the league, eh?
And then there's George Saimes backpedaling for the Bills on a previous page. As a child, I just remember thinking that if the great George Saimes from Michigan State was playing in the AFL, it must be a good league!!
Where's Al DeRogatis when we need him? :-)
Regards ~ David Q. Allen
July 15, 2009
This is the best web site of any football league that I have yet seen. I had to listen to the radio for Denver Broncos games because our team was not warranted good enough for television. But, the real fans all tuned in to KOA radio and followed all home games and the away games, wherever we were. The Denver Broncos are the only show in town to this day because of the AFL Denver Broncos' loyality to the fans and vice versa, the best fans ever, to our beloved Denver Broncos. Fans to this day wonder why other Denver Broncos players have not been recognized for their play: #44 Floyd Little belongs in the Hall of Fame, as he led both leagues in rushing, and carried the entire team for many years. Ask ESPN's #57 Tom Jackson, one of the nicest people you can meet, just what the Denver Broncos meant to Denver, and the entire Rocky Mountain region, all because of the goodwill and great players of the AFL and Denver Broncos players and fans. Long live the Denver Broncos, and always remember the AFL!
July 20, 2009
I discovered your website a couple of years ago & I can't tell you how excited I was to find it. I became a fan of the AFL in the mid-60s when the Jets signed Joe Namath but really didn't get completely hooked until Super Bowl III. I was a Giants fan in those days (I still am but also the Jets) but they were pretty mediocre back then & the Jets were the rising stars.
I also liked the more open style of play in the AFL vs. the NFL. It was much more fun to watch. My brother & I got to know a lot of the players through the trading cards we collected. I think the team names & more colorful uniforms appealed to us also.
I was very disappointed when the league decided to merge with the NFL. I thought they could survive on their own & continue to provide a nice contrast to the older league. To this day I still wish they had remained independent. Anyway, thanks for the memories & keep up the great work! ~ Roger Manzer
What a great web site this is.
There are many of us who really enjoyed the AFL. I grew up in New Jersey, and watched the whole "Joe Namath promised (and delivered) a win in Super Bowl III". Please keep the AFL dream alive.
By the way, every time there is a Super Bowl, I cringe when the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns (now Baltimore Ravens), or Baltimore Colts (now Indianapolis Colts) get into the Super Bowl. My dream solution is to create a realigned NFL that is truly NFL vs. AFL. These three franchises should be returned to the NFC to make the Super Bowl a real Super Bowl. Expansion teams should be decided by some heritage factor (e.g. Tennessee Titans were formerly the Houston Oilers, e.g. the Houston Texans are based in an AFL city).
Steven M. Jacobs, Flagstaff AZ
There are thousands of American Football League Fans who did not want the AFL to give up its name and logo. They were ignored. Most, like you, hate to see a Super Bowl without an AFL team. I don't even remember who won last year's Super Bowl. My solution would be to take the ten teams from the AFL and the Falcons, Saints, Seahawks, Cougars, Jaguars and Texans (all expansion teams) and form the AFL. Baltimore was always an NFL city: take the pre-1960 NFL (including the Colts, Steelers and Browns) and add the Cowboys, Vikings, Buccaneers and Ravens to form the NFL. Then let the rivalry resume. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
Ange - Since my Dad was QB for the NFL Steelers in the 1950's and was GM of the NFL Minnesota Vikings (1964-1973), we weren't AFL fans. I played the "company line" of dismissing the new league as inferior because the Vikings were paying our bills. NBC carried AFL games in those days and games were played in rickety old stadiums like War Memorial Stadium, and KC Municipal Stadium.
But that dismissal of the AFL changed when the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. It was completely dismissed when the Chiefs pummeled our Vikings in Super Bowl IV in New Orleans. I had an up close and personal view of that game as a Viking ball boy.
Whew .... that was devastating, but everyone in Professional Football knew the fledgling league had arrived. ~ Jim Finks, Jr., California
Thanks, Jim, that means a lot coming from somebody weaned on the NFL. Your Hall of Fame father was a class act and respected by AFL owners and fans alike. ~ REMEMBER the AFL
August 8, 2009
From Bob Ginther
I'd like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and all Buffalo Bills fans everywhere on the long overdue induction of Mr. Ralph Wilson into the Hall of Fame.
Being a Raiders fan, some fans may think it odd that Mr. Wilson holds a special place in our hearts, but he does, and always will.
In the early days of the AFL the Raiders were less than doormats. In fact, being just a doormat would have been an improvement! Our team was on the verge of folding. Mr. Wilson took money out of his own pocket (some say illegally) to keep the Raiders franchise afloat.
Mr. Wilson gets less recognition than any of the other AFL owners, but, in this Raider fans opinion, did more to keep the AFL moving forward than any other. Again, my congratulations. Go Bills!
August 12, 2009
Ange, I don't see all this happening without you leading the charge. I think you should be in the AFL Hall of Fame! ~ Robert Wahler
September 21, 2009
I'm not old enough to remember the AFL, but I'm a die-hard Bronco fan. I grew up in Denver and when I was ten, I remember the first year me and my dad had season tickets for the '75 season on the bleachers. We missed the '76 season but then were called up for the '77 season on a waiting list; got them, and how we went on to go to the heartbreak of a super bowl losing to Dallas 27-10.
It all interested me in the AFL. What teams started out then? What cities were represented? The history of this league is so fascinating, because of what they were up against; the mighty NFL. The culmination of being equal or surpassing that league is a tribute to its owners, players and fans. I want to thank you, Ange, for keeping the memory of the AFL alive; because it should never die. ~ Thanks, Chas
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