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Most Valuable Players 1960 - 1969
(Click on photos to enlarge them.)


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ABNER HAYNES

Photo from "Touchdown!" by George Sullivan.

       In 1960, the league’s first year, Haynes led the AFL in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns.  Haynes helped launch the AFL as the fledgling league's first Most Valuable Player, and its first Rookie of the Year.  He captured the AFL's first rushing crown with 875 yards, and also led the Texans in receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns.       

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, The Sporting News 
 

1960

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Photo from "The Other League" by Jack Horrigan.

       In 1961, Blanda completed 187 of 362 passes for 3,330 yards and 36 touchdowns, for 216 points.  He added another 112 points on conversions (64 of 65) and field goals (16 of 26).  In the Oilers' 10-6 victory over the San Diego Chargers in the American Football League Championship game, Blanda had a hand in all the Oilers' scoring, throwing a 25-yard pass to Billy Cannon, and kicking the extra point and a 46-yard field goal.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, Associated Press, The Sporting News 
 

1961

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COOKIE GILCHRIST

1962 game photo from the Buffalo Courier Express.

       Chester Carlton "Cookie" Gilchrist came from the Canadian Football League and took American pro football by storm.  In his first year in the league, he became its first thousand-yard rusher, gaining (in a 14-game season) 1,096 yards on 246 carries for a 5.1 yards-per-carry average and 13 touchdowns, an all-time league record.  He also caught 24 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and kicked 14 extra points and seven field goals, the longest a 42-yarder.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, Associated Press 
 

1962

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LEN DAWSON

1962 American Football League Championship

       In 1962, Len Dawson completed 61% (189 of 310) of his passes for 2,759 yards and 17 touchdowns, while rushing 38 times for 252 yards and three touchdowns.  He led the Texans to an 11-3 regular season, and a 23-20 victory in the classic double-overtime American Football League Championship game against the Houston Oilers.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  The Sporting News 
 

1962

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LANCE ALWORTH

Photo by Fred Kaplan.

       Lance Alworth played in only four games in his rookie year of 1962, but in 1963, he played the full 14-game schedule and showed the talent that would make him Professional Football's best receiver.  He caught 61 passes for 1,205 yards, a 19.8 yard-per-catch average, for 11 touchdowns, and helped the San Diego Chargers to an 11-3 record and a 51-10 victory over the Boston Patriots in the championship game.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International 
 

1963

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TOBIN ROTE

Photo from "Touchdown!" by George Sullivan.

       Tobin Rote threw for 2,510 yards in 1963, on 170 completions out of 286 attempts, for 17 touchdowns, and he ran for two scores.  In the American Football League Championship game, he scored a rushing touchdown and passed for three more as he led the San Diego Chargers to a 51-10 defeat of the Boston Patriots, thus becoming the only quarterback to win championships in the AFL and in the other league.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  Associated Press 
 

1963

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CLEM DANIELS

Photo from "Touchdown!" by George Sullivan.

       Clem Daniels had phenomenal rushing and pass-receiving averages in 1963: 5.1 yards per carry and 22.8 yards per reception.  He gained 1,099 yards on 215 carries with two rushing touchdowns, and piled up 685 yards on 30 receptions, with five receiving touchdowns.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  The Sporting News 
 

1963

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GINO CAPPELLETTI

1964 photo.

       Gino Cappelletti was not a fast receiver, but a wily one who caught 49 passes for 865 yards and 7 touchdowns for the Boston Patriots in 1964.  He was also their kicker, making 35 of 36 extra point attempts and 22 of 38 field goal tries for a total of 155 points, which would be the highest single season total in the league's ten-year existence.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
 United Press International, Associated Press, The Sporting News 
 

1964

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PAUL LOWE

From "AFL Dream Backfield" by Howard Liss.

       Paul Lowe was the first American Football League player to gain more than 1,000 yards rushing in two different seasons, with 1,010 in 1963 and 1,121 in his MVP year of 1965.   He carried 222 times for a 5 yards-per-carry average and scored 6 touchdowns rushing and one receiving.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
 United Press International, The Sporting News 
 

1965

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       After leading the Buffalo Bills to their first American Football League Championship the previous year, Jack Kemp continued his stellar play in 1965, passing for 2,368 yards and 10 touchdowns, and rushing for 4 more scores.  In the Championship game, he quickly put the Bills ahead on an 18-yard scoring strike to tight end Ernie Warlick, and they went on to defeat Kemp's former team, the Chargers, for the second straight year, 23-0.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
 Associated Press 
 

1965

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JIM NANCE

Photo from "Touchdown!" by George Sullivan.

       Jim Nance, at 6'-1" and 243 pounds was a classic fullback who, in 1966 with the Boston Patriots, rushed for what would go down as the highest total in the history of the American Football League: 1,458 yards on 299 carries for 11 touchdowns.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
 United Press International, Associated Press, The Sporting News 
 

1966

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DARYLE LAMONICA

1967 AFL Championship game ~ Pro Football Weekly.

       Daryle Lamonica, the 'Mad Bomber', passed for over 3,000 yards, with 3,228 yards off 220 completions on 425 attempts, for 30 touchdowns, running for another four.  He had 2 touchdown passes and ran for another in the Oakland Raiders 40-7 victory over the Houston Oilers in the American Football League Championship game.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, Associated Press, The Sporting News 
 

1967

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JOE NAMATH

Photo from "Touchdown!" by George Sullivan.

       The year after he passed for an AFL record 4,007 yards, Joe Namath was the 1968 American Football League MVP, as he completed 187 of 380 passes for 3,147 yards and 15 touchdowns, also scoring two rushing touchdowns.  Three passes for touchdowns in the 1968 AFL Championship game helped defeat the Oakland Raiders, 27-23, and the Jets went on to defeat "the greatest team in pro football history" in the Third World Championsip Game.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, Associated Press, The Sporting News 
 

1968

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DARYLE LAMONICA

1969 photo from The Sporting News.

(In 1967, Joe Namath threw for 4,007 yards, but Daryle Lamonica, with 3,228, was the consensus AFL MVP.  In 1968, Lamonica threw for 100 more yards and 10 more touchdowns than Namath, but Namath was the consensus AFL MVP.  In 1969, the AFL's final year, they shared the honor, the only two players to receive the award twice.)
    
  Lamonica had his third straight 3,000-yard season, passing for 3,302, with 34 touchdowns, and he ran for one score.  In the Western Division winner versus Eastern Division wildcard playoff, coming off three days in the hospital for back problems, he threw for 4 touchdowns in the Raiders 56-7 defeat of the Houston Oilers.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
  United Press International, The Sporting News 
 

1969

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JOE NAMATH

1969 photo from Sports Illustrated.

(In 1967, Joe Namath threw for 4,007 yards, but Daryle Lamonica, with 3,228, was the consensus AFL MVP.  In 1968, Lamonica threw for 100 more yards and 10 more touchdowns than Namath, but Namath was the consensus AFL MVP.  In 1969, the AFL's final year, they shared the honor, the only two players to receive the award twice.)
       Namath threw for 2,734 yards and 19 touchdowns, and his gimpy knees propelled him for two rushing touchdowns as he led the Jets to a 10-4 record and the Eastern Division title.

 American Football League Most Valuable Player
 Associated Press   
 

1969

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Most of these men excelled for many years, and helped to
 make the American Football League the genesis of modern pro football.
Why are less than HALF of them in the "pro football" hall of fame?

Ask  QuestionOfTheDay@Fans.Profootballhof.com

Note:  Some sources used the term "Most Valuable Player", some used "Player of the Year".
Cards show the player in the uniform of the year he received the award.  Generally the cards are from the following year's series.
Card images are from the AFL Hall of Fame archives and from http://www.footballcardgallery.com/
Helmet images courtesy of
Klaus Gebhard

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