Category Archives: Wahoo McDaniel

When Wahoo Became a Jet

I love old sports cartoons.  Willard Mullin, Bill Gallo, Murray Olderman…


The Incredible Wahoo McDaniel

I have said it before, but one of the things that made the American Football League great was the interesting characters that would up in AFL uniforms.  Rattlesnake charmer, Dennit Morris; Ernie “The Giant Cat” Ladd; Cookie Gilchrist; Larry “Wildman” Eisenhauer, and the list goes on and on.

One of the greatest of AFL characters was the legendary Wahoo McDaniel, guard, linebacker, wrestler, and all-around interesting human being.  I stumbled upon an excellent piece about McDaniel by a writer named G. Neri.  The piece touches on Wahoo’s football career, but also talks about what made Wahoo become Wahoo. read more

The Denver Broncos Horse Logo – Brown or Blue?

1962 broncos vs chargers I never cease to be amazed at the types of things that people study when it comes to the AFL.  I get all sorts of interesting questions tossed my direction, some of which I can answer, others I cannot. Just yesterday I received an inquiry from a devoted reader living in Italy.  As I am not familiar with the intricate details of most AFL uniforms, I offered to post his question to the board.  We have some very knowledgeable Denver Broncos collectors who read Tales, as well as several former AFL players.  Here is hoping that someone can help out… Hi Todd, In reading today’s post “What would you ask Lance Alworth,” one thing came to my mind as soon as I started thinking of a question.  It’s not related to Lance’s career so I don’t know if it fits the purpose, but I think it’s interesting.   As you certainly know the Broncos changed their uniforms in 1962 switching from brown and mustard yellow to orange and blue. The helmet was orange with a horse logo. The first couple of regular season games the logo was dark, then they switched to a white one.   With the merchandising market having a boom in the 90s, a lot of reproductions started appearing on the internet showing a brown logo. Then started a debate with a lot of eyewitnesses saying the dark logo was a brown horse (which doesn’t make much sense but still…) and a lot of other eyewitnesses saying the logo was in fact blue (which it makes a lot more sense).   Broncos’ VP of Corporate Communications Jim Saccomano tackled the topic in 2011 asking 3 reliable sources: Chuck Garrity, former Denver Post sports editor, Ronnie Bill, who was the Broncos assistant equipment manager in 1962 and Al King, publicity man for the Broncos in ’62. read more

>The Super Gnat – The Kansas City Chiefs’ Noland Smith


One of the fun things about the American Football League is that it was full of characters.  There was Ernie “Giant Cat” Ladd, who stood 6’9″ and weighed 325 lbs., and was a professional wrestler in the off-season.  Sometimes facing Ladd in the ring was “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel, a Choctaw-Chickasaw Native American, who lined up at linebacker and offensive guard for several teams in the AFL when he wasn’t traveling ont he pro wrestling circuits.  Hezekiah Ezekiel Braxton III lined up at running back for the San Diego Chargers in 1962, and big Ben Davidson, with his Dick Dastardly-inspired handlebar mustache, hit everything that moved (officials and coaches included) from his spot on the Oakland Raiders defensive line.  The Kansas City Chiefs had a tiny, little character of their own that they called the Super Gnat. In a sport played by giants, Noland Smith was a 5′ 6-1/4″, 154-pound flanker from Tennessee State University.  Unfortunately for Super Gnat, the Chiefs had 6′ 3″ Otis Taylor playing ahead of him at flanker.  But instead of languishing on the sidelines, Smith made a name for himself as a kick and punt returner.  “He may be the most exciting runner in pro football,” commented the Chiefs’ head coach, Hank Stram in a 1968 issue of Pro Football Digest. Noland Smith’s professional football career lasted only three seasons, during which he caught only two passes from the flanker position, but he excelled running back punts and kick offs.  In his rookie season of 1967, Smith led the AFL with 41 kick off returns for 1,148 yards.  Against Denver Super Gnat recorded the AFL’s first 100+ yard kick off return when he scorched the Broncos for a 106-yard return for a touchdown.  In 1968, Smith led the league with a 15.0 yard average on punt returns, and ran one all the way back. Super Gnat’s star shone brightly, but burned out quickly.  After two full seasons in Kansas City, Smith split the 1969 season between the Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League.  The following season he was out of the game.