Category Archives: Jim Otto
Most AFL fans understand that Minnesota was originally scheduled to have an AFL team when the league began play in 1960. Through a series of backroom dealings, the Minnesota ownership group backed out at the last minute, after being promised an NFL expansion franchise. This news was brought to the AFL group by New York Titans owner, Harry Wismer, who announced to the crowd, “Boys, it looks like it’s the Last Supper.” In classic dramatic Wismer fashion, he proceeded to call Max Winter, head of the Minnesota syndicate, “Judas,” during a series of heated exchanges.
When recalling the dominant players in the AFL, there is probably no one who held reign over his particular position on the field, and in the league, better than the Oakland Raiders’ Jim Otto. Otto was dominant in the way the Boston Celtics, New York Yankees and U.S. Steel have been dominant. During the AFL’s 10-year run, Jim Otto was THE ONLY man to be named First Team All-League at center. From 1960-1974, Otto was THE ONLY starting center the Raiders had. Awards? He won them all. All-Star, Pro Bowl, All-League, AFL All-Time Team, Team of the Decade, Pro Football Hall of Fame, etc., etc., etc…
When the AFL and NFL finally merged after the 1969 season, the Pro Football Hall of Fame went about selecting AFL All-Time Team. The announcement of awardees was made through the newspapers on January 14, 1970. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame website, the ballotting was particularly close at defensive tackle and cornerback. The selection of a head coach was also very close, with Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman and Hank Stram all in the running. The AFL All-Time Team was officially presented at the last game in AFL history, the All-Star Game that was held in Houston on January 17, 1970.
Tom Louderback was a linebacker, center and guard out of San Jose State. He was drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 10th round of the 1955 NFL Draft, and played two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles before signing with the Oakland Raiders in 1960. He played two full seasons in Oakland, and then spent the beginning of the 1962 season with the Buffalo Bills. He described his pro football career to me recently in the following email.