What qualifies a person to be in the American Football League Hall of
Fame? Since it's my Hall of Fame, I set the criteria
when I began my Remember the AFL website in 2001.
The criteria are admittedly very subjective.
I have been a fan of the AFL since its inception in 1960. I
agonized over the unfair press the league and its players received from
the likes of Tex Maule of SI, Jerry
Green of the Detroit Free Press, Pat Summerall and the other NFL
shills on CBS-TV, and last, but not least, from the pompous other
league itself. I shuddered at the losses of AFL teams in the first
two AFL-NFL World Championship Games, and then I reveled in the
victories of the Jets and the Chiefs over two successive teams labeled
"the best in NFL history".
What defines greatness? It's an ineluctable
quality best defined by "You know it when you see it." In
this case, my memory was the "selector". If I could
remember a player's on-field excellence forty years after he performed,
and in spite of the dearth of "press" he recived during and after
his AFL career, that makes him a Hall-of-Famer to me.
So, to put it simply, the men in this list are men who
I think belong in a Hall of Fame, based on my first-hand knowledge of
their prowess during the years 1960 through 1969. I'm open to
comments by others, and have periodically added names submitted by
others, if I agreed with their assessments.
I have also included men who are identified with the AFL, but
who have been inducted to the Pro
Football Hall of Fame. Most of these (excepting
Billy Shaw) also spent time in the other
league, and in some cases (Paul Brown,
Curley Culp, etc.) I
include them in the AFL Hall of Fame only because of that other honor.
Culp, for example, played only two years in the AFL, winning a World
Championship with the Chiefs, but was not on my original list of AFL
Hall-of-Famers. Somehow selectors for the Pro Football Hall of
Fame believe that because Culp spent most of his career in the other
league, his qualifications are better than those of his teammates like
Johnny Robinson or
I believe that the snubbing of Robinson and Tyrer, as well as
other AFL greats, will never be corrected by the Pro Football Hall of
Fame selectors, since those selectors are continually replaced by
younger men who have no concept of the quality of play in the league
that was the genesis of modern Professional Football. They simply