I find AFL team previews to be particularly enjoyable reading, especially now, some 50 years after the fact. This Sports Illustrated preview of the 1966 San Diego Chargers is no different, and in fact, SI did a pretty good job of predicting the challenges that faced the Chargers that season. The team was 5-2-1 after the first eight games, but then lost four of their last six games, and all to division rivals (Denver, Oakland and Kansas City) to finish 7-6-1 and in third place overall in the AFL Western Division.
One of the things that the SI article did not anticipate was the strained relationship between Sid Gillman and the Chargers new owner, Gene Klein. While Barron Hilton had been happy to let Gillman run most aspects of the Chargers, Klein was much more involved, and it wasn’t long before he and Gillman began to butt heads. This, in fact, was the beginning of the end of the Gillman era in San Diego. The Chargers never again won a division title under his leadership. The old offensive master went on a temporary hiatus for health reasons at the end of 1969. He returned in 1971, but was fired after leading the team to a 4-6 record.