November 15, 1964 - The Chargers defense swarms over Chiefs running back, Curtis McClinton.
November 6, 1964 - George Blanda drops back against the Patriots defense in Fenway Park.
November 23, 1967 - Daryle Lamonica and the Raiders facing the tough Chiefs defense in Kansas City Municipal Stadium.
As a fan of the AFL, I would enjoy the opportunity to interview any of the men associated with the league. However, I have a particular appreciation for the 20 men players who were involved in all 10 seasons of the AFL. Today I had the great fortune to speak with one of those gentlemen. It was a wonderful 40-minute discussion that I am proud to be able to share with AFL fans.
Gino Cappelletti is “Mr. Patriot.” Long before Tom Brady was ever born, Duke was kicking and catching his way into professional football history. He is a five-time AFL All-Star, the 1964 AFL Most Valuable Player, the first player to score 1,000 points in league history, and the AFL’s all-time leading scorer. After his storied career ended in 1970, Gino Cappelletti went on to distinguish himself with by serving as the Patriots’ radio analyst for 32 seasons.
Running back Bert Coan was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1962. After playing in four games with the Chargers, Coan was shipped off to the Kansas City Chiefs prior to the start of the 1963 season. Coan spent six years with the Chiefs where he had a strong, if unheralded career. He led the AFL with 5.4 yards-per-carry in 1966, and finished Top 10 in the league each season in most rushing categories.
One of the benefits of being an autographed card collector is that when I send a card in the mail to a former AFL player, I also have the opportunity to ask if they would be interested in doing an interview for Tales from the American Football League. I had just such an experience recently when I sent an interesting new RetroCard (more on those in a future post!) to former Oakland Raiders, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Tom Flores.
I was reading through my Twitter feed the other day when I came across a link to the film above. I thought that I had seen most of the early Chargers stuff out there, but this piece from the Chargers vs. Texans preseason game of 1961 was new to me. This 4.5-minute clip contains a lot of interesting stuff, including sideline interviews, unique camera angles, and some great visuals of Balboa Stadium prior to its complete renovation for the Chargers arrival in ’61.
Art Powell, AFL legend and receiver for the New York Titans, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills, passed away this week. Powell was a dominant receiver. Big, strong, and fast, Powell had five years of 1,000+ receiving yards in his career, and became the Oakland Raiders’ first deep threat under the tutelage of new head coach, Al Davis, in 1963.
This article was first published in 2006, but is still valuable for the insight it gives into Powell, and all that he accomplished in a career that is sadly unknown by most football fans today.