New Photo Gallery – Tobin Rote Day

tobin rote day


Much like Steve Garvey did with the Padres 20 years later, Tobin Rote came to San Diego at the end of his career and made a lasting impression with post-season heroics.  Rote led the 1963 Chargers to their only AFL title, and was on his way to a repeat performance in 1964, before he headed off into pro football’s sunset.  As such, the San Diego Chargers celebrated Tobin Rote Day at their final 1964 home game, a December 13th contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.

At halftime the Chargers lauded Rote, presented he and his wife with many gifts, and listened to the old quarterback pass around thanks when it was his turn at the microphone.  Unfortunately, for Rote and the Chargers, Kansas City unloaded on San Diego, and the Chiefs rolled out of Balboa Stadium with a 49-6 victory, the box score of which cane be found HERE.

I have collected several photos of this day from a couple of different sources, and put together a new gallery dedicated to the event.

December 12, 1964 – Tobin Rote Day

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.

7 Responses to New Photo Gallery – Tobin Rote Day

  1. Paul Beaver says:

    Tobin Rote is grossly underrated. He was very successful at the High School, College and Pro levels. He won a Southwest Conference title, the Cotton Bowl, and both NFL and AFL Championships.

    I was lucky enough to have attended the Texas Sports Hall of Fame banquet which honored him as an elected member of the TSHFame (2011).

    As a sidelight, Rote’s success at the Detroit Lions in 1957, indirectly caused the trading of fellow Lion Bobby Lane to the Pittsburgh Steelers, which an enraged Bobby Lane put a curse on the Lions: “According to Legend, as he was leaving for Pittsburgh Bobby said that Detroit “would not win for 50 years”

  2. Tobin Rote and Norm Van Brocklin are the only two quarterbacks to lead two different teams to championships. Van Brocklin led the 1951 Los Angeles Rams and the 1960 Philadelphia Eagles, while Rote led the 1957 Detroit Lions and the 1963 San Diego Chargers.

    Earl Morrall, it should be noted, played a significant role on the 1970 Baltimore Colts and the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

  3. My earliest memory of Rote is reading about him as a kid in 1977, my first year of following football. Of course I knew about Bobby Layne first, but there’s one game I’ve always connected with Rote.

    The game I remember reading about was not the 1957 NFL Championship, but the game that led to it. The Lions played the 49ers in a playoff tie-breaker, and if I remember correctly, that game was played in San Francisco. The Lions were down 27-7, and Layne got hurt. Rote came in and led an amazing comeback for a 31-27 Lions win.

    • Looking at the game summary, (yes it was played in San Francisco), I see that Rote started the game. Layne apparently got hurt during the regular season.

      John Henry Johnson ! ! ! He came over to the Lions in a trade with the 49ers that season and helped them win the NFL Championship. I read, in the late ’70’s, about those great 49er running backs of the ’50’s (Perry, McElhenny, Johnson), and I understand Johnson also excelled as a blocker.

      • Tom says:

        The 49ers let all three of the HOF backs you mention and Paul Lowe go and kept JD Smith who was five or so years younger than the three and a bit younger than Lowe.
        Rote teamed with Cookie Gilchrist in TO in 1960-61 and in 1962 with former Chargers RB Jerry McDougal, according to McDougal in his interview with Todd, in 1963 Jerry he was number 1 on the depth chart at fullback ahead of Keith Lincoln before tearing his ACL during pre season training at Rough Acres, on a disaster they called a field. Jerry’s injury might help explain part of why the Chargers never returned to the desert.

  4. Tom says:

    At Rice and Green Bay it was Tobin Rote to Billy Howton touchdown, although Babe Parilli threw a couple of scoring tosses in Cheeseland to Billy as well. In Pittsburgh Layne teamed with former Owls star receiver Buddy Dial. A compelling case can be made for Howton’s induction into the PFHOF, Howton ended his career having eclipsed Don Hutson’s career receiving and yardage records and missed a season and a half to injury. In 1948 the three great prep hurdlers in the country were Bob Mathias, Hugh McElhenny and Billy Howton.

  5. Bob Gibson says:

    Tobin Rote is often overlooked as a significant Charger quarterback. However, Rote didn’t have the baggage that Garvey did as a Dodger – something a diehard Padre fan has a difficult time reconciling to this day. ;>

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