Monthly Archives: July 2013

Paul Lowe breaks away in 1960 AFL Championship

paul lowe

HOUSTON – 1/1/61 – Paul Lowe (23) of the Los Angeles Chargers gets away for a 29 yard scamper to the Oilers’ 19.  He was knocked out of bounds by George Shirkey (74) and Jim Norton (43) of the Oilers.  UPI Telephoto

New York Titans Leon Burton

leon burton

Leon Burton get separated from the ball by the Los Angeles Chargers Charlie McNeil.

I’ve always been intrigued by professional athletes that have very short athletic careers.  There are a host of reasons that an athlete may have an extremely shorts career – injury, no opening at a position, etc. – but occasionally the reason is not overtly apparent.  Such is the case with the New York Titans Leon Burton.

I recently stumbled across the article below by Joe Healey, on the AZ Family website, and was impressed by Burton’s one-year AFL career, which was outlined in the final paragraph of the story.   After taking a bit closer look, I found that Burton had an excellent single season on the special teams, and today would have likely made millions as a “return specialist.”  In 1960, Leon Burton led the AFL in kick off returns (30) and yardage (862).  He finished second in the league in return average at 28.7.  Burton returned two kick offs for touchdowns, and also returned 12 punts for 93 yards.  But then he was gone.  read more

Exhibit B: The Original Original Patriots Helmet

1960 chargers vs. patriots

Royce Womble catches a pass for the Chargers, while Clyde Washington prepares to make the tackle for the Patriots.

For many years, the Boston and later New England Patriots sported the beloved Pat Patriot logo on the sides of their helmets.  However, AFL fans going way back remember that there was something that once graced the sides of those classic white helmets prior to Pat Patriot.  For the 1960 season alone, the Patriots wore a much-forgotten “tri-corn hat” logo on their helmets.  I found an article about the inspiration behind the tri-corn logo in a 2009 article by Adrianna Borgia on the Boston Magazine website.  Take a look! read more

John Turney’s Colorized AFL Photos

One of my favorite subjects to post about is how fans use their own unique talents and creativity to make their personal connections to the AFL.  For some it is collecting memorabilia, for others it may be interviewing players, of watching highlight films.  I became fascinated with John Turney’s photo colorization when he first began emailing me photos last year.  As someone who has seen the league mostly in black and white, his colored images exploded across my screen, and gave me a completely new feeling and appreciation for the color and flavor of the AFL.  It sounds ridiculous, but when 95% of the images that you see are black and white, it can be very difficult to even envision the color back then. read more

Curse of the Lightning Bolt?

1965 afl championship game programAfter writing his uniquely-wonderful book about the late Frank Buncom, Buzz Ponce will always, perhaps unfairly, be known as “the Buncom guy.”  I say “unfairly” only because Ponce is a gifted writer, and as a former Chargers ballboy, has an interesting perspective about Sid Gillman’s Bolts.  He has many stories to tell, and I have a feeling that Finding Frank may have been just the tip of the iceberg.  In this latest piece, Ponce ponders his life as a Chargers fan, and wonders if the team hasn’t been snake-bitten since entering their final AFL championship game without the focus necessary to defeat a tough Buffalo Bills squad. read more