Category Archives: Houston Oilers
Last month AFL author, Dave Steidel, sent me a couple of new stories that he had written for Tales. Here is the first, a look back at Abner Haynes’s flub (or not flub?) in the 1962 AFL Championship Game. ~Todd Tobias
Dear Abner, The Ref Goofed! by Dave Steidel
Left or right, vanilla or chocolate, drive or walk, small or large? Decisions, decisions, decisions! Something that we are faced with on a daily basis. But as we all know, they are not always black or white. Instead of left or right, sometimes we can go straight. Vanilla or chocolate? Ever hear of a ‘black cow’? Drive or walk, how about peddling! Small or large? What about medium? Forced choices are part of narrow band of decisions that gives us only limited options and at times we have to bite the bullet, so to speak, and choose either one or the other base on the information we have available to us at the time. And you will see in this article, in pro-football, at least in AFL in 1962, the choices when winning a coin toss ARE NOT simply to kick or receive!
George Blanda was one of the great stories of professional football. Twenty-six years in the AFL & NFL will do that. But not only did Blanda endure, he succeeded and late in his career, inspired 40-somethings all over the country with his physical exploits while playing against men literally half his age. While the video above doesn’t necessarily focus strictly on the AFL, Blanda talks about some of his inspirations, and what football meant to him.
The Louisiana State University football team was dominant in 1958 & 1959. Paul Dietzel’s recruiting classes of 1955 & 1956 paid huge dividends, and led the Tigers to an NCAA championship in 1958, and a third place national ranking the following year. LSU junior, Billy Cannon, took home the Heisman Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate football star in ’59, and was joined in the Tiger backfield by three other athletes who all went on to play professional football – Johnny Robinson, J.W. Brodnax, and Warren Rabb.
I don’t follow contemporary football very much, but you’d have to live under a rock to not have heard of Odell Beckham. Here is a great recollection of an AFL’er who, for most of us, has been lost to history.
While browsing new releases on Amazon a couple of months back, I was pleased to see that a new biography on AFL legend, Billy Cannon, had been written. I placed my order, and when the book arrived, I set it on my stack to read. I completed it just the other night, and sadly, have mixed feelings about it.
Billy Cannon is a fascinating figure. An All-American and Heisman Trophy winner from LSU, the AFL’s first marquee draft choice, a two-time AFL champ, Super Bowl II participant, dentist and felon convicted of counterfeit. There is enough juicy stuff there to keep a storyteller busy for quite some time, and I must say that author Charles deGravelles did a fine job of covering most of the material. In fact, I found the book to be very well-written. DeGravelles touts Cannon’s attributes, but also of pointing out his flaws. He digs a bit into Cannon’s psyche, and tries to determine what led to his ingrained streak of rebellion that got Cannon into several spots of trouble throughout his life.