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.


New AFL Library List!!

Thanks to the recent increase in popularity of the American Football League, a number of books have been written about subjects with varying degrees of AFL connection.  New league and team histories, biographies, and specialized subject works are now published on an annual basis.

I have recently compiled a list of titles with AFL connections.  I have tried to keep the list limited to books that have strong AFL connections, and don’t simply contain a line or two, here or there.  The list is broken up into four sections, League Histories, Team Histories, Special Subjects, and Biographies/Autobiographies.

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Winston Hill Deserves to be in Canton

Winston Hill may be the most underrated of the great AFL tackles.  When considering the top tackles in the league, Ron Mix, Jim Tyrer, Stew Barber and a few others come to mind.  Hill ranks right up there with the best of them, yet somehow never seems to receive the respect that he deserves.

Hill is an All-Time AFL Second Team member, and was selected to eight AFL All-Star and NFL Pro Bowl games.  He was a dominant player both before and after the merger, yet like so many other AFL stars, he still has no spot in Canton.

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Harvey Frommer’s Notes on Super Bowl I

Len Dawson throws over the Packers' Ray Nitschke.

Len Dawson throws over the Packers’ Ray Nitschke.

The 50th anniversary of Super Bowl I is sneaking up on us, and I can only imagine the media campaign that will be unleashed by the NFL.  Fortunately, this will also give cause for historians to review the first AFL-NFL championship game (as Super Bowl I was initially referred to) and all of the build-up surrounding the AFL-NFL merger.

A new book titled When It Was Just A Game by oral historian Harvey Frommer, is now on bookshelves across the country, and provides an in-depth look at that earliest of AFL-NFL contests.  I’ve just placed my Amazon order, and will be reviewing the book here on Tales.  In the meantime, I came across an interesting article about Frommer’s research for the book.  Some of these notes are rather well-known, but they still provide historical background on the spectacle that is the Super Bowl.

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Bills Add Saban to Wall of Fame

For many years, fans of the 1960s Buffalo Bills have wondered why former Bills head coach, Lou Saban, had been overlooked for inclusion on the team’s Wall of Fame.  Saban led the Bills to their lone AFL championships with victories over the favored-Chargers.

The pro-Saban chants seemed to increase in recent years – several articles were written and an Add LOU SABAN to Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame Facebook page was created.  But more years passed, and still Saban remained on the outside.

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Minnesota-Oakland AFL Connection

Most AFL fans understand that Minnesota was originally scheduled to have an AFL team when the league began play in 1960.  Through a series of backroom dealings, the Minnesota ownership group backed out at the last minute, after being promised an NFL expansion franchise.  This news was brought to the AFL group by New York Titans owner, Harry Wismer, who announced to the crowd, “Boys, it looks like it’s the Last Supper.”  In classic dramatic Wismer fashion, he proceeded to call Max Winter, head of the Minnesota syndicate, “Judas,” during a series of heated exchanges.

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