Earl Faison – Heart of San Diego

Earl Faison has always been one of my favorite AFL players.  Though somewhat overshadowed (literally and figuratively) by his enormous linemate and friend, Ernie Ladd, Faison was perhaps even more dominant than Ladd until his career was cut short by injury.  While many who played against Ladd say he did not go hard on every play, the opposite is felt about Earl Faison, who played the game with abandon.

A longtime San Diegan, Earl was one of the first Chargers that I interviewed when I began my AFL research back in 1998.  He has always been supportive of my work, and over the years, became a friend.  I saw him most recently at the Chargers induction of the 1963 team into their ring of honor.  Tall, with his dark skin and impeccable dress, he is an imposing figure still today.

Here is wonderful interview that was done back in 1999.  It is longer than the videos that I typically post, nearly a half-hour, but hopefully time can be set aside to watch.  Earl talks not only about his time with the Chargers, but also growing up in Virginia, attending college in Indiana, and his post-football career in education.

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.


8 Responses to Earl Faison – Heart of San Diego

  1. richard says:

    Wonderful,and superb ! I remember Earl Faison as a top notch defensive lineman, he seems even better as a person ! Great to hear that he is a Hoosier ! Wonderful job posting this interview

  2. billd says:

    Very interesting interview with Earl Faison. I wish they could have talked to him for another hour. Also good to see the late great Fred Lewis conduct the interview. Fred was an announcer for the early San Diego Gulls hockey team and the NBA San Diego Rockets.

  3. Fred Arbanas says:

    I played against Earl when he was at Indiana and with the Chargers. He would have gone down as the best defensive end ever to play the game if it was not for the injury that cut his career short. Your Web Page is excellent I hope you keep supplying us Old Guys with many good memories.

    • Tom Fischer says:

      Mr. Arbanas,
      I fell in love for some reason with the Dallas Texans when I was eight years old and it is an honor to tell someone from my favorite team how much I pulled for you guys and lived and died with every game, especially when you played the Raiders. You, E.J.,Lenny, Johnny Robinson, Chris Burford, etc. and all the guys meant the world to me. I loved “Stenerud’s Roost” in old Municipal Stadium and ol’ Stram was a great coach and character in my book. I cried when Mack Lee Hill died and didn’t want to believe it. Your powerhouse teams of the ’60’s and early ’70’s were awesome. Take care and may God bless you, sir.

  4. Erik says:

    What a classy man Mr. Faison is. One of the great AFL stars, a beast on defense and part of the original Fearsome Foursome.

  5. I knew who Faison was, but I didn’t really KNOW who he was until I saw that picture of Pete Gololak kicking the winning field goal to beat the Chargers on Thanksgiving Day. I remember asking you, “Who’s #86 on the Chargers? He looks like he’s about to BLOCK THAT KICK ! ! !”

    That picture was posted on this site for the article “Happy Thanksgiving – Bills vs. Chargers, 1964” (November 23, 2011).

    Then, a year ago, I saw Faison in the Six Million Dollar Man episode, “One of Our Running Backs is Missing” (Season 3, November 1975). Larry Czonka co-starred, and that was a FUN episode ! ! !

    Faison’s one of those players I’d love to see more of. Keep posting ! ! !

    • I misspelled the kicker’s name. Gogolak.

      CLASSIC PICTURE: Faison looming over Ernie Warlick and another Bills player, with Faison coming oh-so-close to blocking the kick. I also see Cookie Gilchrist on the far left, trying to get to the middle of the action, and a leaping Speedy Duncan on the far right.

      That photo is a candidate for the best football shot I’ve ever seen.

  6. Tom says:

    The same might be said for yourself Fred, as you were for a time the best tight end in football.

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