This would have been the 50th season of the AFL, if it hadn’t merged into the NFL after the 1969 season, its 10th year of existence. Here’s a brief (very brief) look back.
The teams that played in the AFL’s inaugural season, 1960, were:
New York Titans; Boston Patriots; Buffalo Bills; Houston Oilers; Los Angeles Chargers; Dallas Texans; Denver Broncos; Oakland Raiders.
OK, now, pay attention. The Titans became the Jets, play in New Jersey but still call themselves New York.
The Patriots moved to the suburbs, claimed more territory and became the New England Patriots.
The Oilers moved to Tennessee and became the Titans (no relation to the N.Y. team).
The Dallas Texans became the Kansas City Chiefs (and have no connection with the Houston Texans).
The Denver Broncos are the only original AFL team that has never changed its name or home-field city.
The L.A. Chargers became the San Diego Chargers.
The Buffalo Bills have remained the Buffalo Bills, but they play their home games in suburban Orchard Park, N.Y., and Toronto.
And the Oakland Raiders became the Los Angeles Raiders, then became the Oakland Raiders again. I may be wrong but I believe the Raiders are the only major professional sports franchise to return to the same city it once abandoned.
Of the original AFL teams, all except the Oilers (Tennessee Titans), Bills and Chargers have won at least one Super Bowl. All have played in a Super Bowl.
OK. That ends “A Brief History of the AFL.”
I hope you took notes. There will be a quiz.
Those are the facts. Now for the opinions.
Best in the AFL’s 10-year history:
Coach: Hank Stram (three championships)
Honorable mention: Sid Gillman
Quarterback: Len Dawson (three championships)
Honorable mention: Joe Namath
Running back: Cookie Gilchrist
Receiver: Lance Alworth
Place-kicker: George Blanda
Punter: Jerrel Wilson
Tight end: Billy Cannon
Offensive lineman: Ron Mix; Jim Otto
Defensive lineman: Ernie Ladd, Ron McDole
Linebacker: Nick Buoniconti; Bobby Bell
Defensive back: Emmitt Thomas
Team: 1963 Chargers
Honorable mention: 1967 Raiders
Best game: 1962 AFL championship. Texans 20, Oilers 17, two overtimes.
Most significant game: Super Bowl III, Jets 16, Colts 7.
Trivia: The only coach to win NFL and AFL championships.
The only starting quarterback to win NFL and AFL championships.
Trivia answers: Weeb Ewbank (Colts, 1958, 59; Jets, 1968)
Tobin Rote (Lions, 1957; Chargers, 1963)