Category Archives: American Football League

AFL Legend Billy Cannon Passes Away

The first major rookie signing of the AFL, Billy Cannon, has passed away. Cannon was the 1958 Heisman Trophy winner at LSU, and was highly sought by both AFL and NFL teams. Cannon signed with both the Rams of the NFL and Houston Oilers of the AFL, leading to a legal affair the result of which found Cannon playing in the AFL. He went on to play all 10 seasons of the league, splitting time between the Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders. read more

Remembering the Chiefs’ Jerry Mays

Amidst hall of fame teammates on offense, defense and special teams played a defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs by the name of Jerry Mays. Standing 6’4″ and weighing in at 252 lbs, the Dallas Texas native became a local hero when he signed with the hometown Texans out of Southern Methodist University.

By all accounts Jerry Mays was a special person. A phenomenal player with a work ethic that set him apart from most others, he quickly became one of the league’s best at his position. He earned First Team All-Pro honors in just his second season, and was honored with the first of his seven trips to the AFL All-Star or NFL Pro Bowl Games. In fact, so beloved was Mays that when he considered retiring early to join his father in the construction business, a local dairy printed a form letter on the side of milk cartons that fans could sign and send to Mays. He was inundated with requests to rejoin the team, and soon ended his thoughts of leaving the game. read more

Remembering the Chargers Don Norton

I got an email the other day from the family of former Chargers receiver, Don Norton. Don’s brother, Dennis, mentioned how he reads all of the Tales postings and went on to discuss some things that had been done around their hometown of Anamosa, Iowa, to remember Don.

Just wanted you to know that my brother Steve and I wanted to keep our brother Don’s spirit alive and well in the town he grew up in, Anamosa, Iowa. The results were from a scoreboard that was moved to an elementary gymnasium to a monument built at the football field where Don starting playing his high school football career. Remembering “Don Norton’s Football and Athletic Career” was our goal. Nearly 100 individuals helped and / or donated to this memorial. If you include spouses or significant others that number increased dramatically. This included folks from Kentucky, California, Nebraska, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Minnesota, New Mexico and even from a friend who lives in Manila, the capital of the Philippines. In Iowa, we received contributions from individuals living in sixteen cities; fromDes Moines, Iowa to Guttenberg, Iowa to Fairfield, Iowa. The help from individuals building this memorial was nothing but awesome; they dug holes, shoveled and racked rock, helped with the landscaping and much much more! Those individuals even included many members of the 2017 Anamosa ‘Blue Raider’ Football Team! 
 
I hope you don’t mind this email which shows you a different way a family “preserves the legacy of the AFL” and the earliest days of a player who was “An Original Charger”.
Remembering Don Norton now stands for all the young players who will walk by his memorial at a Small Town USA Football Field, look at Don’s image and read about his athletic accomplishments.
  
Finally, a note that Don would have turned 80 years old yesterday (March 13); miss him deeply! Thanks for your efforts in keeping the AFL Spirit alive and well. read more

AFL News & Notes – Check it out!

Just a few details on items of interest to AFL fans…

autographed 1961 fleer johnny robinson

#202 – Johnny Robinson

The Johnny Robinson hall of fame campaign is off to a good start, but has a long way to go before we turn over the numbers to the Hall of Fame Senior Committee in August. We have close to 500 signatures on the petition at the moment, and media members in Kansas City have started to take notice and promise articles in the near future. If you have not yet signed the petition, please do so now. Johnny Robinson is an incredibly-deserving candidate, and I am hopeful that if he gets in, there will be more discussion about other AFL’ers who have thus far been overlooked. read more

Los Angeles Chargers Season Ticket Brochure

As the Chargers have returned to Los Angeles and are doing what they can to drum up a following among Angelinos, I thought it would be interesting to post the notes of a season ticket brochure that the team distributed during their inaugural season of 1960.  Just $4 for a single game ticket, and $40 for a season pass in their first season, and yet the team averaged just 15,000 fans per game in 1960.  That is 15,000 fans, not necessarily 15,000 paid fans. read more