Pre-Super Bowl III

autographed 1962 fleer abner haynes

Much has been said (especially since my recent photo postings) about Super Bowls I-IV.  They are fantastic subjects for debate, individually or collectively.  Great players, hall of fame coaches, big plays and ultimately, a 2-2 record between the leagues.

Not nearly as much is said about the world championship games that would have been played if the two leagues had arranged postseason contests beginning in 1960.  1960 Oilers vs. Eagles?  1963 Chargers vs. Bears?  Which AFL team would have been the first to knock off an NFL champion?  Or was the AFL simply not up to the NFL standard early on, as so many NFL enthusiasts like to shout from the rooftops?

Over the next several days we will run through the AFL-NFL Championships that never were, or as I am calling them, the Pre-Super Bowls.  I will post the vital stats, and you all provide the commentary.  Let’s see who most people think would be the first AFL team to be crowned, “World Champions.”

1962 Green Bay Packers – (13-1-0)

The 1962 Green Bay Packers starting line up was identical to the group that had won the league title in ’61.  Vince Lombardi’s well-oiled machine simply had a bit more seasoning in 1962, and their dominance was felt league-wide.  On offense, the Packers were led by quarterback Bart Starr (HoF), with Paul Hornung (HoF) and Jim Taylor (HoF) in the backfield.  The Packers were tough on the line as well, with Jim Ringo, Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg maintaining a tough right side of the line.  They were no weaker on defense, with five more hall of famers in their starting line up.  The ’61 Packers were +22 on turnovers, and scored 415 points while allowing just 148, both of which were firsts in the NFL.

1962 Dallas Texans – (11-3-0)

The Texans/Chiefs won their first AFL title in 1962.  Coached by Hank Stram, the offense was led by Len Dawson in his first AFL season.  The backfield featured an immensely-talented Abner Haynes at halfback, and rookie Curtis McClinton at fullback.  The offensive line was solid, but did not yet have the longtime stars that it would in the near future.  The receiving corps consisted of Frank Jackson and Chris Burford, with Fred Arbanas at tight end.  The Texans led the AFL in scoring in 1962, and had an incredibly-balanced attack that earned 2,455 yards passing and 2,407 yards on the ground.  Defensively, the Texans boasted Jerry Mays, Dave Grayson and Johnny Robinson, all of whom should be in the hall of fame.  The defense ranked first in the AFL in yards and points, and finished +17 in turnovers.

It was difficult for any team, AFL or NFL, to beat Lombardi’s Packers.  While this Texans team was talented, they were still young, and did not yet have many of the players that would make them dominant in the near future – Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Ed Budde, Willie Lanier, etc., but the Packers were all in their prime.  Both coaches were exceptional, but the nod has to go to Lombardi.  I don’t see this one going in the Texans’ favor.

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.

11 Responses to Pre-Super Bowl III

  1. 1967 says:

    Let’s review: the GB Packers went 13-1, were ranked # 1 on both offense & on defense NFL, were 1st in giveaway/takeaways, were… well, you get the gist. Sure, I think my Dallas Texans/Chiefs stood a chance vs the greatest team in the annals of pro football… that of a veritable fart caught in a whirlwind.

    That the DET Lions beat GB – in fact were routing them 26-0 & sacked their QB’s 10 times till a couple meaningless Packer scores 4th quarter – shows Lombardi’s troops were not ‘inVinceable’. GB barely scraped by DET in their other ’62 game early season, by just two points (and GB trailed in this game till they managed pull it out the 4th quarter; Lions defense was tough/ranked 2nd in the NFL.)

    GB defense was complemented by a running game (mainly Taylor) and an passing game just good enough keep opposing defenses honest. Brilliant special teams play too provided the cushion GB win their games by nearly 4 tds (19 points) per game, on average.

    And after the 7th day, the Packers rested.

    Came then the Dallas Texans face them, GB.

    As for my Texans, they had a remarkable season, one culminated their departure for the greener gridiron Toma pastures, Kansas City. An new starting QB picked up on waivers, Len Dawson, an offense and defense that, like GB’s NFL, led the AFL same. AlsO were 1st in giveaway/takeway ratio, again just like the Packers. As for the experience factor – no – Packers by 1962 had said in spades, Texans did not.

    Dawson & Haynes especially as well McClinton & Burford were the catalysts on offense DAL, while on defense they featured an new starter just switched from offense – Johnny Robinson. Special teams, DAL was not on par with the Packers (especially the kicking game despite Brooker’s clutch game winning field goal in overtime vs the Oilers AFL Championship Game.)

    1962 was the year before the Texans (by ’63 Chiefs) added guys like Bell and Buchanan on defense & Budde/Hill on offense. Coincidentally or not, the 1963 College All Star Game vs GB featured several of those guys/soon to be Chiefs – and the All Stars beat the Packers.

    This game that never was GB vs DALL 1962, it’s hard for me to say it based on my own affiliation as a KC/DAL fan, but I suspect the Packers probably win it going away: GB 38 DAL 17

    The AFL would get their revenge however/draw their first blood in 1963, albeit not vs the Packers…

    • Tom says:

      1967 The Lions were 11 and 3 in 1962 and beat a pretty good Colts team twice, the Texans lost to a 4 and 10 Chargers team and as you and I have seen over the years, you can’t always go by who beat who, to determine who could beat who. 28-17 Packers. Hornung and Alex Karras were suspended for gambling after the 1962 season forced to sit out the entire 1963 season and Hornung’s suspension included the College All Star game. Hornungs suspension and whether it had any affect on his teammates performance in the Summer College All Star game is unknown to me, unless Jerry Kramer made light of it in one of his books, but one could speculate that it very well did, as great a coach as Lombardi wss, players don’t always relate to coaches, but do to other players especially great ones who are good guys like Hornung and Karras.

  2. mike t says:

    I saw this guy play against the then called Boston Patriots at Fenway park Boston….at the time I think they were the Kansas City Chiefs .

  3. Jim McKinley says:

    1967 mentioned that the Packers had been beaten in 1963 by the College All-Stars. I don’t remember from back then, but did the NFL teams play their first team for the whole game or or did they treat it like the Preseason games of today are treated?

    • Howard says:

      I think the game was treated seriously by Lombardi. Reading various books about the Packers, it was repeated several times that Lombardi was angry that his team was beaten. His players did not take the game as seriously as he did.

  4. Howard says:

    There is some debate as to which Green Bay team was better; 1962 or 1966. The 1962 team was a better running team. Taylor ran more more yards that year than any white running back ever. In fact Taylor led the NFL in yards. Jim Brown was a bit shaken up that year.

    The 1966 team was actually a great passing team. I know the AFL fans here think the NFL was a 3 yard and a cloud of dust league, playing Woody Hayes football; the truth is different. Bart Starr was league MVP in 1966.

    I have no idea which Green Bay team was better. I would presume that the 1962 team would beat the 1962 Texans/Chiefs. Probably not a blow out. Stram, Dawson, and company were quality people. I would say 28-10 Green Bay.

    • Paul Seaton says:

      I’m reasonably sure Green Bay would’ve won this game, probably some where along the lines of 35-17… How ever, their’ 1966 team wasn’t as good.
      SB I very, very easily could’ve been very close or completely went the other way had the tv networks NOT screwed up coming back from half time and forced a re-kick off (Kansas City had real good field position on the 1st kick off) for one and as Hank Stram said the interception of the Dawson pass to Abanas changed “the personality of the game”, as the Chiefs WERE driving on Green Bay at the time.

      • 1967 says:

        People also tend to forget or don’t know that the Chiefs were a missed field goal from ‘leading’ the Packers 10-7, Superbowl I; had KC/an AFL team actually gotten the lead over the NFL/GB, it might have changed the entire complexion of the game, who knows how either of the teams would’ve responded.

        As it happened, one play (the early second half int) turned an very competitive contest into an eventual 25 point margin, but one that was not a rout less one merely looks at a final score sans perspective.

        Whether KC lost their poise, wilted due superior conditioning GB or failed to utilize some plays they’d practiced before the game (attributed aspects referenced by various folk), was penultimate hurrah for GB & for KC the equivalent GB’s own loss to PHIL ’60, experience factor garnered the hard way, a Championship loss.

        GB had the experience & that’s ‘all’ that won the game for them, my opine. Talent wise ‘man for man’ KC was actually better than the Packers variously…the best ‘team’ as (re)proven over time was Green Bay. Those who claim the game was a rout are ignorant, or did not watch it transpire. Close game up to the 4th quarter, GB leading but 21-10 less than a minute remained 3rd, became 28-10.

        Too, Lombardi/the NFL were ‘still’ trying to run up the score even late in the game, Starr’s attempt throw an long bomb was intercepted by KC’s Willie Mitchell, far down the sideline vs GB’s McGee. NFL types who had predicted/counted on 50 or 60-0 Packer margin sorely mistaken.

        I have to agree the ’62 Packers were probably a bit better than the 1966 club, less wear & tear if not as much team experience the trade off.

        Small solace to the AFL, but the fact that it was revealed after the fact Lombardi was actually shaking from nervousness pre-game (according announcer Frank Gifford) and several Packers admitted Lombardi was genuinely concerned with the Chiefs ability, belies the NFL’s smugness pre & post game; never let ’em see you sweat, Vince.


        • Howard says:

          In fact during halftime, Lombardi was pointing out to the team if they didn’t step up their game, they would be on the short end of the scoreboard. I disagree that the Chiefs were more talented than the Packers. I think it was close, but, except for wide receivers, I think in 1966, Green Bay was better in every category; Quarterback, Offensive Line, Defensive Line, Linebackers, Secondary, Coaching. Maybe KC was better in special teams. Still, I respected the Chiefs, and we have had numerous discussions about the Chiefs not winning their fair number of championships. A lot of good teams, and it is hard to win once, let alone multiple titles.

          • 1967 says:

            Perhaps where Vince first delivered his – “Everybody grabbing, nobody tackling, just grabbing – GRAB GRAB GRAB GRAB GRAB!”


            Career in hindsight, several of the Chiefs arguably were better than their GB counterparts. Time of the Superbowl, media bias/NFL hype would say otherwise, but when performance afield during Superbowl I was analyzed too, that bias didn’t hold water.

            Any of these type debates are subjective, but of note KC DT Buchanan was referred to as best lineman on the field by several observers. My opine, P Jerrel Wilson > than GB’s Chandler, KC K Mercer > Chandler same, OT Jim Tyrer > than Skoronski.

            Many players might be considered a wash, LBS Bell & Robinson, S Wood & Robinson, TE’s Arbanas & Fleming, OG Budde & Thurston, HB Garrett & Pitts; ditto LBS Holub & Caffey, S Hunt & Brown, DT Rice & Kostelnik, C Frazier & Curry (Bell & Budde > GB’s Robinson & Thurston, my opine.)

            KC DE Mays a hair behind GB’s Davis, both Packer CBs superior to KC’s. OT Gregg, OG Kramer, FB Taylor, LB Nitschke & DE Aldridge superior to KC’s, same.

            My opine WR Taylor & Burford were at least as good as individuals & a duo GB’s Dale & McGee (and/or Dowler).

            Starr & Dawson: edge Starr time of Superbowl I, career wise Dawson (stats; Championships notwithstanding – no one won as many as Starr.) Coaching: Lomabrdi > Stram.

            So, as I proffered the Chiefs were superior to Packers variously, several other players were a wash & GB had a few more betters the remainder.

            Best ‘team(s)’ ever, still, GB Packers. The ’69 Chiefs their added experience & HOF defenders added like Culp & Lanier – trouble in Packerland perhaps, courtesy KC.


  5. Charles Oakey says:

    I’m an AFL man but this one would have gone to Green Bay.

    The AFL would get its “mythical revenge” the following year.

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