Interview with Chargers & Bills Paul Maguire

autographed 1965 topps paul maguire

This week has been a great one for interviewing AFL players.  First it was the Jets’ Don Maynard, and then today I spoke with longtime Chargers and Bills punter/linebacker, Paul Maguire.

While he is known better by younger generations as an ESPN commentator, Maguire was one of just 20 players to be with an AFL team for the league’s entire 10-year run.  He was an excellent punter, and mostly reserve linebacker who has the distinction of having played in six AFL championship games (1960, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965 & 1966), and being, according to himself, the only player to win three consecutive league championships.

Paul and his wife were on the golf course in their state of North Carolina while we spoke, which accounts for some of the wind noise on the recording.  But his easy manner and excellent recollection make this a fantastic stroll down memory lane for any AFL fan.


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.

6 Responses to Interview with Chargers & Bills Paul Maguire

  1. afl says:

    Nice interview, TT… Paul Maguire is still sharp age 77 (I provided a link to brief video with Maguire from 2014 Though he retired from the broadcast booth, for my taste Maguire remains as entertaining an football color man as any I’ve heard over the years. He’s colorful, full of ‘tales from the AFL’ as it were, and opinionated… good for him.

    From the video, Mcguire states he was the best punter in the AFL. I disagree: the Chiefs Jerrel Wilson was the best that era, perhaps good as any ever. Maguire was good: in fact, he had a better gross average than Wilson 3 of the 7 seasons each played during the same years in the AFL. Maguire also hit a punting milestone in 1968, becoming just the second in pro football history to punt 100x in an single season. Perhaps modern pro punters are better overall as a group, Shane Lechler and those who followed… let the debate rage.

    It was Wilson however who was named AFL ‘All-Time’ punter as voted by the Hall of Fame Board of Selectors (along with Sammy Baugh, Wilson holds the record for league-leading seasons punting with four.) Sounds as if we have all the makings for a good food fight, same as which of the AFL players not currently enshrined belong there Pro Football HOF. Paul’s answer was interesting (i.e. most are already in, and his thoughts on the 1963 Bears had they played the Chargers also of note: so the Bears would have prevailed?)

    Popularity/hype/bias always enters these type of discussions/comparisons… for example, Maguire states Ray Guy is the best punter he ever saw. His eyes as opinion are his own & worth no less anyone else’s, perhaps more due Maguire himself being an punter.

    That said, Guy, who just recently became the only full-time punter ever enshrined into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame, actually had the lesser gross & lesser net career punting average when compared with Jerrel Wilson, yet, Wilson is not in the HOF. Why not?

    Though the NFL only officially started tracking ‘net’ from 1976 on, I’ve reviewed Wilson’s career regular season game films & stats to include ’63-’75 & Guy’s earlier years ’73-’75. Shy having made an honest miscalculation, all that hype about Guy’s high punts (hang time) making him best appears more a matter subjective take/style point kudos than results. The stats referenced indicate that for both distance and net after return yards are deducted, Wilson was the better punter in terms effectiveness; ‘best’ arguments will still persist.

    Back to Maguire, he also sticks in my memory as both punter & final ‘whiffer’ on two punt return tds recorded by two rookies playing in their first pro games: Mike Garrett in 1966 for the Chiefs who took one back 79 yards and George Atkinson who went 86 yards his first game same, in 1968.Don’t feel too bad for Paul – 10 other guys on his team also failed to make the tackle each game.


  2. Eddie Arminio says:

    Utmost respect must be given to old time punters and kickers who also played a position. It will never be seen again. Owners must have loved it, 2 for 1.

  3. afl says:

    Agreed: both Wilson (RB) and & Maguire (LB) played some beyond punting; interestingly, former NFL two-way man Chuck Bednarik (C/LB) also did some punting; what an different football world it was yesterday…

    • mikemetzler says:

      The last multi-position player I remember doing punting duties was quarterback Danny White with the Cowboys.

      • Matt Haddad a.k.a. overdrive1975 says:

        I was thinking exactly the same thing–Danny White, from the late ’70’s to the mid-’80’.

        Also, Pat MacInnally, wide receiver-punter for the Cincinnati Bengals, 1970’s. I have a clear memory of MacInnally, in the last game of the 1979 regular season, scoring a 59-yard touchdown. I’m guessing it was Ken Anderson who threw the pass.

  4. mikemetzler says:

    So fun to listen to Paul Maguire reminisce about days in the AFL. I am sitting here wishing I could have been in on that conversation as my uncle was an entertainer in the Buffalo area and worked for Paul Maguire and Tom Sestak for years in their restaurant. Great job, Todd!

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