October 29, 1967 – The First Time Two African-American Brothers Appear on Same Pro Football Roster

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king brothers game programLast week I stumbled across an interesting eBay auction, the title of which caught me eye immediately – “AFL OILERS VS BUFFALO BILLS OCT SIXTY EIGHT AS SEEN IN PRO FOOTBALL HOF RARE.”

I opened the auction page, and found a slight item description, and a couple of photos, one of which showed a small display from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  The title card for the display read as follows:

king brothers game programThe Buffalo Bills were host to the first African-American siblings on the same team, Charlie and Tony King.  Only 16 months apart in age, Charlie, the elder of the brothers, was drafted by the Bill in 1966 and Tony was drafted the next season in 1967.  On display is a Buffalo Bills vs. Houston oilers game program from October 29, 1967, showing both brothers on the Bills roster.

The seller was asking $14 for the game program, so I clicked the “Buy It Now” button, and awaited shipment of my new little treasure.

I had not before known the significance of this game, and am thankful to have learned about it.  According to a game summary at pro-football-reference.com, the game itself was something of an unexciting defensive battle with five interceptions between the two teams.  Neither Charlie nor Tony King seem to have made much of an impact, but their significance was noted in the historical uniqueness of the game, if not in the box score.

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.



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5 Responses to October 29, 1967 – The First Time Two African-American Brothers Appear on Same Pro Football Roster

  1. 0tt060-74 says:

    $14 is an excellent price for any AFL program, even one with no historical importance, unless it’s in bad condition. Sounds like you scored on that one !

  2. 1967 says:

    Speaking of rare AFL programs (a subject that would take forever to discuss / show pics of), one thing marketing wise I never understood was the rationale behind a game day program (like the one pictured above) created in different colors (say instead of yellow pictured in the program above might be identical except the background color would have been blue.)

    One other item re: Todd’s SD Chargers; in 1967 the Chargers played the Boston Patriots twice in the regular season – and both games were played in San Diego.

    Why?

    Due to the 1967 World Series being played in Boston at Fenway Park, the game scheduled to be played there had to be moved back to San Diego. The Chargers had already beaten the Patriots to open the 1967 regular season 4 weeks earlier on September 9. Yet, SD got a second home game vs BOS and the Chargers won that one too (imagine that happening 2013, two home games vs the same team – it wouldn’t).

    That game program is unique in that it was only some 8 pages – created on the fly as it were due to the circumstances/timing. It features a nice Lance Alworth cover for the October 8 game.

  3. Tom says:

    Todd,

    Thank you for this and it may be of interest to note the historical uniqueness you identify is made even more unique with first year Bills teammate John Pitts (Hometown Laguna Beach) (College Arizona State.) On March 27 1992 Tom Birschbach writes and interesesting Los Angeles Times article on Pitts, titled ” John Pitts Still Practicing What He Preaches”.

  4. Ray says:

    I think it interesting that the program cover photo touting an Oilers-Bills would use a picture from an Oilers-Jets game???

  5. charlieblue47 says:

    Charles King is my Father!
    (Proud son here)

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