January 7, 1963 - The Houston Oilers representatives to the 1963 AFL All-Star Game. Back Row - Rich Michael, Ed Husmann, Bob Talamini, Charlie Hennigan, Don Floyd, George Blanda. Front Row - Freddy Glick, Jim Norton, Tony Banfield, Bob Schmidt, Charlie Tolar, Al Jamison.

January 13, 1963 - Austin Gonsoulin of the Denver Broncos makes a leaping interception in front of the Houston Oilers Charlie Hennigan, in the second annual AFL All-Star Game.

November 11, 1962 - The San Diego Chargers Ernie Ladd prepares to tackle Cookie Gilchrist, the Buffalo Bills star running back and 1962 AFL Most Valuable Player.

November 15, 1964 - The Chargers defense swarms over Chiefs running back, Curtis McClinton.

November 6, 1964 - George Blanda drops back against the Patriots defense in Fenway Park.

November 23, 1967 - Daryle Lamonica and the Raiders facing the tough Chiefs defense in Kansas City Municipal Stadium.

 

Off-Season Autographed AFL Card Pick-Ups

One of my hobby passions is autographed 1960s football cards, so as usual, I spent time during the off-season adding signed AFL cards to my collection.  However, as my sets are in need of only a handful of rare cards, I was forced to get creative if I wanted to add anything new and interesting to my collection.  I put together a handful of player sets – Lance Alworth, Gino Cappelletti, John Hadl, Johnny Robinson – and picked up a few signed team cards, but the most fun that I had came in having players add interesting inscriptions to particular cards. read more

An Interview with the Raiders Clem Daniels

I am drawn to the AFL for a number of reasons, only one of which is that the football played during those 10 years was cutting-edge and fantastic.  This week I had an opportunity to conduct a long telephone interview with former Oakland Raiders running back, Clem Daniels.  Like the league itself, Clem’s successes on the field are but a contributing factor in what makes him so interesting.  Daniels was raised in Texas, and played his college ball there as well.  He suffered through a single frustrating season with the Dallas Texans, before fate stepped in and took him to Oakland, where he would make his name as an athlete, a businessman, community leader and advocate for social change. read more

Kentucky Babe – A Book Review

I was bouncing around on eBay a couple of weeks back and came across a book of which I had no prior knowledge.  Kentucky Babe is a biography of Babe Parilli, written by Dick Burdette and published in 2011.  Parilli had just passed away on July 15 of this year, and thus was at the forefront of my AFL mind.  I made the purchase, and began reading on my flight to Chicago.

Kentucky Babe runs 391 pages, and covers Parilli’s life from his birth in 1930 through the Jets’ victory in Super Bowl III.  The book was well-researched, and packed full of information.  As the title may suggest, I felt that the author dug a bit deeper into Parilli’s collegiate years than  he did his professional career.  The chapters covering Babe’s college days were full of detailed stories, lots of interaction with Coach Bear Bryant, and in-depth information about the turnaround of the Kentucky squad with Parilli under center. read more

The AFL at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention

I am currently in Rosemont, Illinois, working at the 2017 National Sports Collectors Convention.  This show is the annual Mecca for sports card and memorabilia collectors, and in many ways is as impressive as walking through a sports museum.

I walked the show floor all day today, looking for AFL material.  While standard Fleer and Topps cards are plentiful, I did not see an abundance of high quality items pertaining to “The Other League.”  There were a handful, however, that drew my attention. read more

An Interview with the Chiefs Noland Smith

The Kansas City Chiefs of the late 1960s were one of the dominant teams in AFL history.  They had future Hall of Fame members on offense, defense, and special teams.  Their owner and head coach have busts in Canton, and one could argue that the induction of at least four other team members is long overdue.

Mixed up in all of that greatness was an outstanding kick returner as well.  Standing just 5’5″ among the greats of the game, it is understandable how Noland Smith may be overlooked.  But he proved on many occasions that he deserved a spot alongside his massive teammates.  In his short, 39-game career, Smith led the AFL in yards-per-kick-off-return (1967) and yards-per-punt-return (1968).  He had a 106-yard kick off return for a touchdown as a rookie, and returned a punt for 80 yards and six points the following year.  He led the AFL in both kick off & punt returns, and in kick off & punt return yardage in 1967. read more