Art Powell: A Deserving Hall of Fame Candidate

Autographed 1963 Fleer Art Powell

The Pro Football Hall of Fame senior’s committee made their nomination last week for the HoF Class of 2018, and again the AFL was passed by.  Johnny Robinson, Winston Hill, John Hadl, Jim Tyrer, Walt Sweeney, Fred Arbanas, and many others likely didn’t even come up in discussion.

Still, there are grumblings out there, and our AFL legends are not being completely forgotten.   Ron Borges, a member of the hall of fame’s senior’s committee and The Talk of Fame Sports Network, recently penned (Keyed?  Typed?) a very compelling article for Art Powell, the legendary receiver who spent the bulk of his career with the New York Titans and Oakland Raiders.  As Borges illustrates, Powell should be remembered not only for his excellence on the gridiron, but also for his bravery in standing up against the bigotry and segregation that was so prevalent in the 1960s, and on full display when Powell’s teams played exhibition games in the South.

Five 1,000 receiving yard seasons, 81 touchdowns, four all-star games, two all-pro nominations, AND the bravery to publicly stand against social injustice.  How is this guy NOT in the hall of fame?  Talk a look for yourself…



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.

2 Responses to Art Powell: A Deserving Hall of Fame Candidate

  1. Dave Steidel says:

    I always felt Art Powell got a bad rap from the patriarchal bigots that he fought against and will good reason. While with the Eagles in the late fifties he refused to stay in the black hotels of the south at exhibition games and spoke out about it to the coaches. That earned him the “trouble” reputation just like Dick Allen of the Phillies did when he spoke out about the racist comments and treatment he received from his teammates.
    Art was a great player who rose above the bigotry and showed his strength of character by always playing at a high level. He did not take a play off and was a gifted receiver.
    When I contacted him to interview him for a book he was so gracious, funny, knowledgeable and accommodating that we became fast friends who spoke for a long time, several times.
    I spoke to him for the last time a week before he died and you would never have known of his condition. We talked about the Phillies, how he was teaching his granddaughters to play softball and joked about how he’d love to run a long post pattern and have me heave a long bomb to him.
    I came to love the few conversations I had with him and came to admire the man, the friend who he truly was. I wish I would have known him when he played because I would have loved to stuff his erroneous “trouble” reputation down the writers, coaches and owners throats to make them swallow their bigotry.
    Art Powell was a hall of fame person.

  2. Eddie Arminio says:

    As the time goes by,people and voters forget the pioneers of the AFL. I said at one time, there should be an AFL Hall of Fame. It should be built in Kansas City, in honor of Lamar Hunt, the founder of the league.

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