January 7, 1963 - The Houston Oilers representatives to the 1963 AFL All-Star Game. Back Row - Rich Michael, Ed Husmann, Bob Talamini, Charlie Hennigan, Don Floyd, George Blanda. Front Row - Freddy Glick, Jim Norton, Tony Banfield, Bob Schmidt, Charlie Tolar, Al Jamison.

January 13, 1963 - Austin Gonsoulin of the Denver Broncos makes a leaping interception in front of the Houston Oilers Charlie Hennigan, in the second annual AFL All-Star Game.

November 11, 1962 - The San Diego Chargers Ernie Ladd prepares to tackle Cookie Gilchrist, the Buffalo Bills star running back and 1962 AFL Most Valuable Player.

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.


An Auction Chock Full of AFL Treasures

foolish club

I’ve been involved in sports memorabilia for my entire life.  I got my first box of bubble gum cards from my father at the age of five, and I have been collecting ever since.  Over the years I built an impressive collection of American Football League-related memorabilia that was very important to me.

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know that in the Summer of 2014, I consigned a large portion of that collection to an auction house in an effort to raise funds to open a business based on my other passion – lacrosse.  In essence I tried to use one passion to help fuel another.  Unfortunately, my dreams did not come to fruition, and the area where I live is without the lacrosse store that would have so benefitted our community.

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Early Denver Broncos Socks

The early Denver Broncos take a lot of heat for their ugly uniforms, and rightfully so.  The Broncos were one of the least financially-sound teams of the early AFL.  Penny-pinching general manager Dean Griffing bought the uniforms second-hand, from an all-star game that had cast them away.

I’ve heard that when Jack Faulkner took over for Frank Filchock as Broncos head coach in 1962, he organized a bonfire and torched the old uniforms, ushering out the old era, and bringing in the new.  At least one pair of the old socks resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  I’d head rumor that Lou Saban had kept a pair back for himself as well.

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Looking at Lamar Hunt: Color Blind

Lamar Hunt (Owner)

Lamar Hunt (Owner)

One of the central themes of American Football League history is the AFL’s whole-hearted inclusion of minority athletes.  AFL teams went into the historically black colleges and drafted immense amounts of talent – Ernie Ladd, Buck Buchanan, Otis Taylor and Willie Brown – just to name a few.  In the following article, Chiefs historian Bob Moore talks about Lamar Hunt and his staff’s ideas and actions with black players.  The Chiefs were one AFL team, along with the Chargers and Raiders in particular, who attempted to win with the best players they could find, not just the best white players.

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1964 Boston Patriots Preview

1964 Pats

(click image to enlarge)

Two days ago we watched the 2014 New England Patriots become champions of the National Football League.  Take a look at how their predecessors were depicted 50 years prior, in the 1964 Boston Patriots team yearbook.

These Patriots finished the season with a 10-3-1 record, falling just 1.5 games out of first place in the AFL Eastern Division.  As we all know, the Bills won the eastern title that season, and the first of two consecutive AFL championships!

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Dick Westmoreland Visits School Children

Dick Westmoreland addresses an auditorium full of children.

Dick Westmoreland addresses an auditorium full of children.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the boycott of the 1965 AFL All-Star Game in New Orleans.  Several articles were written about the event, and while I did not see any of the boycotters interviewed, it was heartening to know that their efforts were not forgotten.

autographed 1965 topps dick westmoreland

#174 – Dick Westmoreland

One of the men who participated in that boycott is former Chargers and Dolphins defensive back, Dick Westmoreland.  “West,” as his friends call him, lives in San Diego, and still looks like he could run onto the grass and give Hell to modern receivers.  But regardless of how good he looks, West is a link to times past, to an important part of our history.

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