Category Archives: Jack Kemp

“They’ve Stayed Away by the Thousands…”

paul lowe

We all know that the Chargers left Los Angeles after the 1960 season because they couldn’t draw enough fan support to their games.  But what does that really mean?  At the time, the Coliseum had a seating capacity of more than 100,000.  The Chargers averaged fewer than 16,000 fans to each of their home games.  Take a look at the accompanying photos to get an idea of the seating bowl during a 1960 Chargers game. read more

The Photography of Robert L. Smith – Buffalo Bills

I first began to appreciate the photography of Robert L. Smith, when I picked up his book, A View Through the Lens of Robert L. Smith, 1960-1995.  The book covers Smith’s first 35 years as the Buffalo Bills team photographer, and is absolutely loaded with wonderful images from Ralph Wilson’s original AFL team.

Smith, whose first job with the Bills was to shoot the team’s press photos in 1960, has shot some of the game’s greatest names over the years, from Kemp and Gilchrist to Kelly and Reed, and hundreds in-between.  Among his most popular works are “The Hit Heard Round the World,” a perfectly-timed shot of Mike Stratton’s legendary hit on Keith Lincoln in the 1964 AFL Championship Game, and “Football Ballet,” in which Paul Costa makes an overhead catch of a Kemp pass that fell just beyond the hands of an outstretched Patriots defender. read more

Jack Kemp is Inducted into Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame

Here is a neat piece for old Buffalo Bills fans.  In 1992, Jack Kemp was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, an organization whose also counts among it’s inductees, Don Majikowski, Bob McAdoo, and Sal “The Barber” Maglie.  This is a video of Paul Maguire’s introduction of Kemp, and Kemp’s following acceptance speech.  It is neat to see how even (at that point) 30+ years after he had retired, Jack Kemp’s teammates still held a special place in his heart.  Also of note, I thought, was that although he was undoubtedly not in the audience, the first teammate that Kemp acknowledged was his running back, Cookie Gilchrist.  Kemp was a polished public speaker, and he gets in more than a few great lines, especially at the expense of his old buddy, Paul Maguire. read more

Jack Kemp Highlights from 1964

Here is a neat video that I found, showing Jack Kemp’s highlights from the Bills AFL championship season of 1964.  Kemp was a solid quarterback, and his name has occasionally come up in regards to the Hall of Fame.  Kemp retired in 1969, with 40 rushing touchdowns, 21,218 passing yards and 114 touchdown passes, but also with 183 interceptions, and only a 46.7 completion percentage and 57.3 passing rating.  Still, he was a good leader on-and-off the field, played in five AFL championship games and won two of them.  What do you think? read more

NFL vs. AFL, or How I Learned to Recognize Fact from Fiction

by Guest Blogger, and author of Remember the AFL, Dave Steidel

MYTH: “AFL players were a bunch of ‘NFL Rejects’”. 

In the NFL they were known as “the Phoenix” players.  Rising from the ashes of one team only to be recreated and hit the highest of highs with another; players who had been put out to pasture or given up on because their time had passed.

One of those names could have been George Blanda, who after becoming the forgotten man in Chicago retired from pro football until he found new life and fame in the AFL by leading the Houston Oilers to three straight championship games including two AFL titles.  Then when Houston changed quarterbacks with a youth movement in 1967 he help defeat his former team in yet another AFL championship game as an Oakland Raider as the league’s leading scorer.  To the NFL media he was just a washed up quarterback trying to catch in a senseless new league. read more