AFL Legend, Art Powell

autographed 1962 fleer art powell

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.


Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

3 Responses to AFL Legend, Art Powell

  1. afl says:

    “In four seasons, he caught 254 passes for 4,491 yards and scored 50 touchdowns in 56 games.”

    – how good was Art Powell? This is preaching to the choir of course, but if the numbers alone didn’t affirm, when comparing him to Lance Alworth, Art’s stats are fairly close during the same referenced period, ’63-’66.

    Alworth caught 9 more passes & scored 1 more td in 1 less game than Powell. Lance had 934 more yards which speaks to Lance speed compared Powell, but Art was no slowpoke (# 19 was a bullet even before Bob Hayes ever got that ‘nickname’ same.)

    Alworth remains the best ever in my opinion, though in reality there is no such thing as greatest ever beyond subjectivity regardless of stats. I (almost) go postal when today’s relative nascent writers/sports fans say matter of fact, ‘so & so’ is better since they produced more stat.. their naivete/lack of objectivity astounds.

    The latter day receivers have stocked up on stats due different rules/more games per year AND thus more opportunity their prime years than their ancestors, upshot that modern WR’s are arbitrarily given inflated status; not their fault, but it is their burden.

    Not unlike comparing Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth: all other arguments for and against either put aside this era & that era, it took Bonds an extra 836 at bats beyond what Ruth had to even ‘tie’ Ruth in hrs at 714, despite Bonds PED-use (a fact or suspicion, opinions most.) When each had received the same # of opportunties/at bats, Bonds trailed Ruth 714 to 619.

    To put those statistical numbers by Powell in a bit more perspective: he played 2 seasons (actually only one ‘game’ as a WR due injury, 12 other games the other year as a DB) NFL, and 8 years AFL… Alworth played 3 seasons NFL & 8 years AFL, the result:

    479 catches for 8,046 yards and 81 tds in 117 games Powell’s career (comparison sake, 542 for 10,266 & 85 tds in 136 games for Alworth.) That equates 4.1 catches per game Powell & 4.0 Lance, 72 yards per game Art to Lance 76, .69 tds per game Art to Lance .63, careers.
    However, deduct the 12 games Powell played NFL as a DB, and his 105 actual games as a WR equate per game to 4.6 catches, 77 yards and .77 td to games played.

    All to say, I’ll take Powell, Alworth and no less than 10 other AFL wide receivers before even bothering to extol the modern NFL wide receivers merit comparison, and that includes Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and anyone else/all the rest.

  2. Eddie Arminio says:

    Totally agree on all points afl,plus, as you know, those old time receivers took a pounding as plays developed,unlike today.

  3. Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

    I was texting friends about Art Powell just a couple of months ago. I was elated that Charles Haley (the best player on that ’90’s Dallas defense) was finally elected to The Pro Football Hall of Fame. Tim Brown was also elected, and after I got done texting about Haley, I turned my attention to great Raider receivers of years gone by.

    Cliff Branch (1970’s, early ’80’s) deserves the Hall of Fame. I’ve been saying that for years. That man had blazing speed, and HE SCARED ME ! ! ! While Art Powell and Warren Wells were before my time–“my time” beginning with my ’70’s childhood–I’ve read enough to know they were great players.

    Tim Brown was a fine receiver. I think, however, there were other Raider receivers who were better–receivers that, as the years fly, fewer and fewer fans know about.

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