Sports Illustrated’s 1963 AFL Preview

Autographed 1963 Fleer Tobin Rote

#68 – Tobin Rote

I really enjoy looking over past football preview articles and magazine issues, and seeing how players, teams and seasons shook out in comparison to the experts’ prognostications.  I like to figure out what was not taken into account, see how unexpected injuries factored in, and what the upsets were.  In this vein, I took a look at a 1963 AFL Preview in the SI Vault.  You can find the entire article HERE.

SI clearly expects the Kansas City Chiefs (formerly Dallas Texans) to return to the AFL title game and take home their second-consecutive championship.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.  Nor did the Bills represent the Eastern Division in the championship game, though they came pretty darned close.  The Bills lost a divisional playoff to the Boston Patriots, a team that the author found wholly uninspiring, and predicted to finish third place in the division.

In the West, the author praises the Chiefs and Broncos (who were apparently ready to win, save for a couple of guards), and gives very little consideration to the Chargers and Raiders.  Both teams came off poor seasons in 1962, but as history shows, were contenders for the Western Division title until the very end, when the Chargers defeated the Broncos by a score of 58-20 on December 22nd, to claim the title.

In all, fun stuff, and interesting ideas on the possibilities for each of the AFL squads in ’63.  But as they say, there is a reason the still play the games.  The experts are often, far from expert.


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.

5 Responses to Sports Illustrated’s 1963 AFL Preview

  1. Howard says:

    Didn’t the Raiders have a good year in 1963? Something like 10 wins? I think that coaching staff had Al Davis, Chuck Noll, and some other great coaches.

    • Tim says:

      That was the Chargers who had that coaching staff!

    • Kenton says:

      The 1963 Oakland Raiders went from 1-13 in 1962 to 10-4 in 1963, which was at the time I believe, the best turn around in the history of pro football. Along the way in 1963, Clem Daniels was named AFL player of the year, and Al Davis the AFL coach of the year.

  2. TK says:

    The greatness of the AFL can be traced back to the pivitol year of 1963, the 4th season of the league…Sonny Werblin & his consortium saved the NY franchise & perhaps the league, by purchasing the Titans in bankruptcy court for 1 million, rebranding the team the Jets and the rest is history…Lamar Hunt moved his champion franchise, the Texans from his hometown Dallas to KC and rebranded them the Chiefs, gaining traction in a new market as well as titles…..Chargers asst coach, Al Davis took over the reigns of an awful & broke franchise in Oakland as Head Coach & GM of the Raiders and built “Pro Football’s Dynamic Organization” that lasted over two decades….
    Those original 8 franchises hung in there despite dire financial straits with several teams, while on the field every team played each other 2x/yr, developing fierce rivalries, demonstrating a more balanced league compared to their senior, arrogant counterparts…In a year or so after 1963, the upstart AFL would be rewarded with a landmark tv contract from NBC founder & president David Sarnoff, who bankrolled the league to parity with the older league, despite smaller cities, stadiums & fewer teams….The great AFL wasn’t going anywhere…

  3. Tom says:

    On Friday 11-22-1963 at 12:30 PM Central Time President JFK was assassinated in Dallas Texas and all AFL games schedule Sunday 11-24-63 were postponed. As a result the season was extended and the postponed games were played on 12-22 or the day the AFL Championship game was originally scheduled.
    The AFL Championship game was played two weeks later on Jan 5 1964 after the College Bowl season and other television time slot conflicts were resolved?

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