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The 1969 American Football League Season and the . . .

 

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        The 1969 regular season started with the Jets at Buffalo.  Hundreds of Bills fans (including me) greeted the Jets at the Buffalo airport, shouting "Thank you Jets!"
          When the visiting, defending World Champion Jets, the Bills' AFL Eastern Division rivals, ran onto the field at War Memorial Stadium,  a sellout crowd of 46,151 Bills fans gave them a standing ovation, and the Bills Cheerleaders honored them by displaying a green and white sign reading CHAMPS!
           What other league ever had fans as loyal?

 

           The Sporting News was always fair in its coverage of the American Football League.  In its April 4, 1970 issue, it published the complete statistics of the league's last year.  It shows every scorer, from Jim Turner's (Jets) 129 points, to Mike Richardson's (Oilers) 2 points.  The Charger's Lance Alworth was the leader in receptions with 56, but Oakland's Warren Wells had 1,260 yards and 14 touchdowns on only 47 catches, a 26.8 yards per catch average.  Greg Cook's (Bengals) 9.41 yards per attempt led the league and made him Rookie of the Year, while Daryle Lamonica's (Raiders) 3,302 yards and 34 touchdowns earned him MVP honors.  Bills' running back Preston Ridlehuber, of 'Heidi' fame, was 1 for 1, for 45 yards and a touchdown.  They didn't have passer ratings then, but that's perfect!  (click the columns to enlarge)

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        The Jets' defeat of the 'best team in Professional Football' a year earlier did little to convince the NFL writers that the American Football League was for real.

"The Purple Gang and the unsinkable Joe Kapp make the Minnesota Vikings solid favorites over the tricky Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in the last of the pure AFL - NFL Super Bowls."

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"After all, what happened in Tulane Sta≠dium wasn't necessarily the end. What's left of the old NFL can still catch up with the American Football League, and it may not even take 10 years."

Red Smith

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KANSAS CITY CHIEFS - 1969 WORLD CHAMPIONS

         LEFT TO RIGHT - FRONT ROW: Noland Smith, Jan Stenerud, Warren McVea, Mike Livingston, Tom Flores, Ed Podolak, Jacky Lee, Len Dawson, John Huarte, Emmitt ThomasSECOND ROW: Goldie Sellers, Mike Garrett, Willie Mitchell, Bert Coan, Ceaser Belser, Frank Pitts, Coach Hank Stram, Paul Lowe, Gloster Richardson, Curtis McClinton, Rchard Armstrong, Wendell Hayes, James Marsalis.  THIRD ROW: Dr. Albert Miller, Johnny Robinson, Jerrell Wilson, Robert Holmes, Jim Kearney, Jim Lynch, E. J. Holub, Jack Rudnay, George Daney, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier, Bobby Yarborough.  FOURTH ROW: John Beake, Tommy O'Boyle, Remi Prudhomme, Bob Stein, Jerry McClurg, Ed Budde, Dave Hill, Gene Trosch, Jerry Mays, Mo Moorman, Jim Tyrer, Bobby Bell, Lloyd Wells, Wayne Rudy.  FIFTH ROW: Tom Pratt, Bill Walsh, Jack Steadman, Reg Carolan, Mickey McCarty, Ed Lothamer, Fred Arbanas, Chuck Hurston, Buck Buchanan, Aaron Brown, Morris Stroud, Otis Taylor, Pete Brewster, Tom Bettis, Bob Wachler.

 

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All-Time Leaders through 1969

    In 1970, the Pro Football Hall of Fame published lists of All-Time Leaders in passing, receiving, rushing, and scoring, through the end of the 1969 season.   The tables are shown below.  Players  who spent time in the AFL are highlighted.
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    Items to note:
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  • BABE PARILLI, JACK KEMP, JOHN HADL and TOBIN ROTE each threw for about twice the yards and touchdowns as Bob Waterfield, who is not in the top twenty.  Waterfield is in the Hall of Fame: the AFL quarterbacks mentioned are not.

  • ART POWELL had twenty more touchdown catches, and more receptions and receiving yards than Elroy Hirsch, Jimmy Orr or Dante Lavelli.  Hirsch, Orr and Lavelli are in the Hall of Fame: POWELL is not. 
    CHRIS BURFORD had
    more receiving yards, a better yards-per-catch average, 17 more touchdown receptions and two more championship rings than Tom Fears.  Fears is in the Hall of Fame: BURFORD is not.

  • ABNER HAYNES played eight years (112 games) and scored seven more rushing touchdowns than Ollie Matson had in twelve years (170 games).  PAUL LOWE scored the same number in nine years (101 games) as Matson did in twelve.  Both Haynes and Lowe had higher yards per carry than Matson.  Matson was a league MVP.  So were Haynes and Lowe.  Matson never played on a championship team.  Haynes and Lowe each helped their teams win championships.  Matson is in the Hall of Fame: HAYNES and LOWE are not.

  • GINO CAPPELLETTI is third on the list of scorers, ahead of several NFL players on the list who are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: CAPPELLETTI is not.  Also on the list, but not in the Hall, are JIM TURNER and GENE MINGO.

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PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL'S LEADING LIFETIME PASSERS
(At Conclusion of 1969 Season)

Rank

 Player

 League

Yrs.

Att.

Comp.

Yds.

TD

1

(1)

 Johnny Unitas*  NFL 14

4456

2450 35,502 266
2 (2)  Y. A. Tittle  AAFC-NFL 17

4395

2427 33,070 242
3 (5)  Sonny Jurgensen*  NFL 13 3526 1982 26,978 213
4 (3)  Bobby Layne  NFL 15 3700 1814 26,768 196
5 (4)  George Blanda*  NFL-AFL 20 3872 1843 25,965 224
6 (11)  John Brodie*  NFL 13 3422 1870 23,934 160
7 (6)  Norm Van Brocklin  NFL 12 2895 1553 23,611 173
8 (7)  Otto Graham  AAFC-NFL 10 2626 1464 23,584 174
9 (12)  Fran Tarkenton  NFL 9 3022 1630 23,140 186
10 (10)  Bart Starr*  NFL 14 2849 1644 22,787 144
11 (8)  Babe Parilli  NFL-AFL 15 3330 1552 22,681 176
12 (9)  Sammy Baugh  NFL 16 2995 1693 21,886 186
13 (15)  Norm Snead*  NFL 9 2993 1504 21,655 142
14 (14)  Jack Kemp *  NFL-AFL 10 3073 1436 21,218 114
15 (13)  Charley Conerly  NFL 14 2833 1418 19,488 173
16 (18)  Len Dawson*  NFL-AFL 13 2397 1356 19,103 184
17 (-)  John Hadl*  AFL 8 2512 1239 19,026 143
18 (16)  Tobin Rote  NFL-AFL 13 2907 1329 18,850 148
19 (17)  Billy Wade  NFL 13 2523 1370 18,530 124
20 (19)  Milt Plum  NFL 13 2419 1306 17,536 122

* Active in 1969 season. Number in parenthesis indicates rank at the start of the 1969 season.
NOTE---These rankings are by total passing yards only. Regular pro football rankings are by a combination of percentage of completions, percentage of interceptions, touchdown passes and average gain per pass play.
D
on Meredith, with 17,199 yards, started the 1969 season in 20th place, but was displaced during
the season by John Hadl.

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PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL'S LEADING LIFETIME RECEIVERS
(At Conclusion of 1969 Season)

Rank

 Player

 League

Yrs.

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

1

(1)

 Raymond Berry  NFL 13

631

9275 14.7 68
2 (2)  Lionel Taylor  AFL 9

567

7195 12.7 45
3 (4)  Don Maynard*  NFL-AFL 11 551 10373 18.8 84
4 (3)  Bobby Mitchell  NFL 11 521 7954 15.3 65
5 (5)  Billy Howton  NFL 12 501 8459 16.8 61
6 (6)  Tommy McDonald  NFL 12 495 8410 17.0 84
7 (7)  Don Hutson  NFL 11 488 7991 16.4 100
8 (7)  Art Powell  NFL-AFL 10 479 8046 16.8 81
9 (16)  Lance Alworth*  AFL 8 458 8976 19.6 77
10 (9)  Pete Retzlaff  NFL 11 452 7412 16.4 47
11 (11)  Boyd Dowler*  NFL 11 448 6918 15.4 40
12 (10)  Bobby Joe Conrad*  NFL 12 422 5902 14.0 38
13 (12) Charley Hennigan  AFL 7 410 6823 16.6 51
14 (13)  Billy Wilson  NFL 10 407 5902 14.4 49
15 (14)  Jim Phillips  NFL 10 401 6044 15.1 34
16 (15)  Tom Fears  NFL 9 400 5397 13.5 38
17 (15)  Chris Burford  AFL 8 391 5397 13.5 55
18 (-)  Jimmy Orr*  NFL 11 390 7715 19.8 64
19 (18)  Elroy Hirsch  AAFC-NFL 12 387 7029 18.2 60
20 (19)  Dante Lavelli  AAFC-NFL 11 386 6488 16.8 62

*Active in 1969 season. Number in parenthesis indicates rank at the start of the 1969 season.
NOTE-Pete
Pihos, with 373 receptions, started the season in 20th place but was replaced during the season by Jimmy Orr.

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PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL'S LEADING LIFETIME RUSHERS
(At Conclusion of 1969 Season)

Rank

 Player

 League

Yrs.

Att.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

1

(1)

 Jim Brown  NFL 9

2359

12312 5.2 106
2 (2)  Joe Perry  NFL 16

1929

9723 5.0 71
3 (3)  Jim Taylor  NFL 10 1941 8597 4.4 83
4 (4)  John Henry Johnson  NFL-AFL 13 1571 6803 4.3 48
5 (6)  Don Perkins  NFL 8 1500 6217 4.1 42
6 (5)  Steve Van Buren  NFL 8 1320 5860 4.3 69
7 (7)  Rick Casares  NFL-AFL 12 1431 5797 4.1 49
8 (8)  Dick Bass*  NFL 10 1218 5417 4.4 34
9 (9)  Hugh McElhenny  NFL 13 1124 5281 4.6 39
10 (10)  Lenny Moore  NFL 12 1069 5174 4.8 63
11 (11)  Ollie Matson  NFL 12 1170 5173 4.4 39
12 (19)  Clem Daniels  AFL-NFL 9 1146 5138 4.5 30
13 (14)  Paul Lowe*  AFL 9 1026 4995 4.9 39
14 (13)  John David Crow  NFL 11 1157 4963 4.3 38
15 (20) Bill Brown*  NFL 9 1354 4868 3.6 43
16 (-)  Gayle Sayers* NFL 5 955 4866 5.1 39
17 (15)  Marion Motley  AAFC-NFL 9 828 4720 5.7 31
18 (15)  J. D. Smith  NFL 11 1100 4672 4.2 40
19 (17)  Alex Webster  NFL 10 1196 4638 3.9 39
20 (18)  Abner Haynes  AFL 8 1036 4630 4.5 46
* Active in 1969 season. Number in parenthesis indicates rank at the start of the 1969 season.
NOTE---
Bob Hoernschemeyer, with 4548 yards, started the season in 19th place, but was displaced by Gale Sayers.

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PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL'S LEADING LIFETIME SCORERS
(At Conclusion of 1969 Season)

Rank

 Player

 League

Yrs.

TD

XP

FG

Total

1

(1)

 Lou Groza  AAFC-NFL 21

1

81 264 1608
2 (2)  George Blanda*  NFL-AFL 20

9

70 240 1477
3 (3)  Gino Cappelletti*  AFL 10 42 33 170 1100
4 (4)  Sam Baker*  NFL 15 2 42 179 977
5 (6)  Lou Michaels*  NFL 12 1 167 179 912
6 (5)  Bobby Walston  NFL 12 46 365 80 881
7 (7)  Don Hutson  NFL 11 105 172 7 823
8 (8)  Paul Hornung  NFL 9 62 190 66 760
9 (9)  Jim Brown  NFL 9 126 0 0 756
10 (10)  Tom Davis*  NFL 11 0 348 130 738
11 (11)  Lenny Moore  NFL 12 113 0 0 678
12 (19)  Fred Cox*  NFL 7 0 257 136 665
13 (14)  Jim Bakken*  NFL 8 0 258 134 660
14 (12)  Ben Agajanian  AAFC-NFL-AFL 13 0 343 104 655
15 (13)  Gordy Soltau  NFL 9 25 284 70 644
16 (-)  Jim Turner*  AFL 6 0 210 134 672
17 (20)  Gene Mingo*  AFL-NFL 9 13 198 107 597
18 (15)  Bob Waterfield  NFL 8 13 315 60 573
19 (-)  Bruce Gossett*  NFL 6 0 211 120 571
20 (16)  Pat Summerall  NFL 10 1 257 100 563
* Active in 1969 season. Number in parenthesis indicates rank at the start of the 1969 season.
NOTE---Jim Taylor, with 558 points, and Bobby Mitchell, with 546 points, started the 1969 season in the Top Twenty, but were displaced by Jim Turner and Bruce Gossett.

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SUPER BOWL IV

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          Though not all of the men below were with the Chiefs in their World Championship season, they all contributed to the character of the team that closed out the American Football League's existence with a resounding statement that they were Professional Football's best.

FRED ARBANAS

1965Topps89Arbanas250w.jpg (41701 bytes)

       Michigan State University's Fred Arbanas was the perfect tight end, not only because of his 6-foot-3 frame and 240 pounds of chiseled muscle.  Drafted by the Chiefs in 1962, Arbanas was an American Football League All-Star in 1962, ' 63, '64, '65, and '67.  Because of his heart and perseverance, he was the driving force behind one of the greatest teams in the history of the American Football League.
       He was the AFL's prototype tight end. His 198 receptions and 3,101 receiving yards are still the Chiefs records for the position.    In 1964 he lost the vision in one eye, but he rebounded to give the Chiefs six more solid years.

       Arbanas starred for two Chiefs Super Bowl teams and used the playing field to write a legacy for the AFL.  "I remember when the Chiefs played the Chicago Bears the summer after the loss to Green Bay in the first Super Bowl," team owner Lamar Hunt said. "We won the pre-season game 66-24, but there was a lot at stake in that game. I heard Fred say that was his most memorable game, and I feel the same way."
       His hard-nosed play and consummate skill earned a spot on the
All-Time All-AFL Team.

Arbanas84.gif (2439 bytes)      AFLHOF.gif (17340 bytes)

A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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BOBBY BELL

          Bobby Bell attended the University of Minnesota, where he was named an All-American and won the 1962 Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding interior lineman.  He was drafted by the Chiefs in 1963 and was an AFL All-Star for six straight years, 1964 through 1969.  He was on two AFL Championship teams and a World Championship team. He was named to the All-Time All-AFL Team in 1970.  He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1980, and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983.   The Chiefs retired his uniform number 78. In 1999, he was ranked number 66 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.
          Bell was noted for his one-of-a-kind athleticism, and was called the most physically gifted linebacker and one of the finest open-field tacklers in professional football history, because his speed at such a size made him ideal at his position.  He scored 9 tds in his career: 6 on interceptions (26 in his career), 2 more on fumble recoveries, and one on an onside kickoff return.  Coach Hank Stram said that "He could play all 22 positions on the field, and play them well."

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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TOMMY BROOKER

       In 1962, as a Dallas Texans rookie  from Alabama, Tommy Brooker made all of his 33 extra-point attempts, and 12 field goals.  His biggest score, however, came as a 24-yard field goal to end the second sudden-death overtme period in the 1962 American Football League Championship game.  That game, between the Texans and the two-time defending AFL champion Houston Oilers, was the longest AFL game ever played.  Brooker's field goal with  2:06  left in the second overtime gave the franchise its first of three AFL Championships.
        Athough Brooker played only five years, he was second only to George Blanda in consecutive successful kicks for points after touchdowns, with 149.  He made every PAT he attempted in those five years, never missing.   Brooker also holds a share of the AFL record for consecutive field goals attempted and made in a game, eight.

    

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ED BUDDE

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       Ed Budde, a product of Michigan State, was the No. 1 draft pick, for 1963, of the Dallas Texans.   The team became the Kansas City Chiefs before the 1963 season began.  An offensive guard, Budde went on to play for the Chiefs longer (14 years) than any other player, with the exception of Hall of Fame punter Jerrell Wilson. Budde was huge: 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds; and his explosive blocks could spring a running back loose or keep defenders away from the Chiefs signal-caller.
       He was selected to the AFL All-Star team in 1963, ‘66, ‘67, ‘68 and 1969, and he played in six AFL All-Star games.   Budde was the first offensive lineman to be selected by the Associated Press as an Offensive Player of the Week. As the heart of the Chiefs’ offensive line, his overpowering presence helped the Chiefs to win two American Football League Championships (1966 and 1969) and
a World Championship in Super Bowl IV.  Budde is a member of the
All-Time All-AFL Team.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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CHRIS BURFORD

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       A member of the STANFORD Athletic Hall of Fame and the College Football Hall of Fame, Chris Burford was a master of sideline receptions for the Dallas Texans and Kansas City Chiefs.  What he lacked in great speed or physical presence, he made up for by running perfectly choreographed pass routes that outsmarted most American Football League defensive backs.  An AFL All-Star in 1961, he followed that performance with 12 receptions for touchdowns in 1962, leading the league.   By the end of his career he was the Chiefs all-time reception leader (391) with 5,505 yards and 55 touchdowns.
       Teaming with Hall of Famer Len Dawson, Burford was a clutch receiver when the game was on the line and the ball had to be moved forward for a needed first down or for field-goal position.  For most of his AFL career, Burford was in the top ten in receiving catches, yards, and touchdowns.   Burford is a 1974 inductee of the Chiefs' Hall of Fame.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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LEN DAWSON

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     Purdue’s Len Dawson - another so-called NFL reject who showed that the league’s talent evaluators blundered when they decided certain players weren’t “good enough” to play in the NFL. In his first year in the American Football League, Dawson led his Dallas Texans to a double-overtime victory over the two-time defending American Football League Champion Houston Oilers. The game was a classic, and Dawson ran a ball-control offense for a 17-14 win. Dawson had a 28-yard touchdown pass to Hall of Fame halfback Abner Haynes.

       In his first season, 1962, Dawson had led the league in touchdowns and yards per attempt. He was the Sporting News selection as the AFL MVP for 1962. A pinpoint passer with four AFL passing titles, he went on to be selected an AFL All-Star six times, and holds the American Football League’s number one career passer rating. He quarterbacked his team to three American Football League championships.

       Dawson was the MVP in the Fourth AFL-NFL World Championship game, the last game ever played by an American Football League team. He led the league out in glory, defeating the heavily-favored Vikings, who, like the Colts of the previous year, had been touted as “the best team in pro football history”.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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DAVE GRAYSON

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       Dave Grayson played offensive and defensive halfback at the University of Oregon.   He was drafted by the Dallas Texans in 1961 and played four years with the Texans/Chiefs before joining the Oakland Raiders in 1965.  Grayson held the AFL record for longest interception return for a td, 99 yds against the New York Titans in 1961.  He had an interception off George Blanda in the Texans' classic 1962 double-overtime championship game victory over the defending AFL Champion Houston Oilers.  Grayson was All-AFL in Dallas/Kansas City in 1962, 1963 and 1964, and in Oakland in 1965 and 1967, when he again played on an AFL Championship team.  He is the all-time AFL leader in interceptions with 47, for a 20-yard return average and 5 tds, and he averaged 25.4 yards on 110 kickoff returns.  He is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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ABNER HAYNES

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Paintng by Robert Hurst

       In 1956 Abner Haynes attended North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), where he helped make the school one of the first in Texas to integrate its football program.  In 1960, Haynes chose to play for the Dallas Texans and led the American Football League in rushing attempts, yards, and TDs in the league’s first year.  Haynes helped launch the AFL in 1960, when he was the fledgling league's first Most Valuable Player, and its first Rookie of the Year.  He captured the AFL's first rushing crown with 875 yards, and also led the Texans in receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns. Haynes spent three years in Dallas and two with the Kansas City Chiefs.  Haynes still owns 11 franchise records, including most points in a game (30), most touchdowns in a season (19), most touchdowns in a game (5), most career 100-yard rushing games (12), most career rushing touchdowns (39) and most career combined yards (8,442). Over his career he was regularly among the American Football League's top ten rushers, ranking third all-time, and the all-time leader in touchdowns, with 46.   He was Hall of Fame head coach Hank Stram's most versatile and dangerous weapon from 1960-62, amassing 43 touchdowns and 4,472 yards on rushes and receptions. In 1962, he helped the Texans win the American Football League championship in the classic double-overtime victory over the defending champion Houston Oilers, scoring touchdowns on a 28-yard pass reception from quarterback Len Dawson, and on a 2-yard run.
       "He was a franchise player before they talked about franchise players," praised Stram. "He did it all - rushing, receiving, kickoff returns, punt returns. He gave us the dimension we needed to be a good team in Dallas."
          
         The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Haynes, who had great speed and dazzling moves in the open field, set AFL records with 5 touchdowns in a game and 19 touchdowns in a season in 1961, and with 46 career rushing touchdowns. He also played for the Denver Broncos, the Miami Dolphins, and the New York Jets. 
 
      
  During his 8 professional seasons, Haynes carried the ball 1,036 times for 4,630 yards, a 4.5 average; caught 287 passes for 3,535 yards, a 12.3 average, and 20 touchdowns; returned 85 punts for 875 yards, a 10.3 average, and 1 touchdown; and ran back 121 kickoffs for 3,025 yards, a 25.0 average, and 1 touchdown, and ran a recovered fumble back for a td: 69 total touchdowns, for 414 points.

         His 12,065 combined yards is the American Football League record.  Haynes had three games in which he gained 100 or more yards on 14 or fewer carries.  He sponsors "Heroes of Football" a program that re-connects pro football players with communities and charities.   Abner Haynes is a 2007 inductee to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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SHERRILL HEADRICK

       An original Dallas Texan out of Texas Christian University, Sherrill Headrick was considered the Texans' and the early Chiefs' best linebacker, a hard-nosed, all-giving player.   He left TCU after three seasons and played one season at offensive guard, center and linebacker in the Canadian Football League (1959) before joining the Texans for the initial AFL season, signing as a free agent.
     His teammates called him "Psycho" for his rambunctious nature, a reputation he fueled by banging his head against his locker and working himself up to the point of nausea before games.   The nickname also befit his style of play: in his first year with the Texans, Headrick set the standard for playing hurt, after fracturing a vertebrae in his neck in a collision in warm-ups before a game with the Houston Oilers.   Despite feeling pain in his neck, he played the entire game.  He learned of the fracture five days later, but went on to play the following week.  Hank Stram said that Headrick, who refused to wear hip pads, had the highest pain threshold he'd ever seen in an athlete. Headrick payed with a broken neck, infected gums, and a fractured thumb. When an injury left the bone in his finger protrding from the skin, he popped the bones in place without missing a play.

       Headrick had fourteen interceptions during his eight-year Texans/Chiefs career, returning three for touchdowns.  He played in the franchise's 1962 and 1966 AFL title game wins and in the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game. 
         He was
All-AFL in 1960, and an American Football League All-Star  in 1961, 1962, 1965 and 1966.   Headrick was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 1968 AFL expansion draft and played for them one season. 
 

 

A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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E. J. HOLUB

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       In 1961, the Dallas Texans drafted TEXAS TECH Universty's E. J. Holub.  A member of the College Football Hall of Fame, Holub started for the Texans and the Chiefs as a linebacker, and as a center.  
      
       Even after nine knee surgeries, Holub was a leader, a "holler guy". And he was a team player, enduring pain to lead his team.    He would spend hours in the training room, watching blood and liquid drain from his knee, then go out to the field and perform as though he was physically "100 percent".
      
       He was an
American Football League All-Star in 1961, '62, '64, '65 and '66 and was the only player to start two World Championship games at two different positions.  He started Super Bowl I at linebacker, then started Super Bowl IV at center and was a driving force in helping the Chiefs run past Minnesota 23-7.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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FRANK JACKSON

       Frank Jackson played collegiately at SMU, and professionally with the American Football League's Dallas Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Miami Dolphins. As a halfback in 1961, he scored four TDs (two rushing, two receiving) for the Texans in a 49 - 21 victory over the Denver Broncos.  As a wide receiver, in 1964 he caught four touchdown passes from Len Dawson in a 49 - 6 Chiefs defeat of the San Diego Chargers. That tied the Pro Football record at the time. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1965. He played on the Texans' 1962 AFL Championship team, winning the longest pro football game ever played up to that time in the AFL Championship game against the two-time defending AFL Champion Houston Oilers.

    

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JERRY MAYS
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       In 1961, in the fifth round, the Dallas Texans also drafted Jerry Mays of Southern Methodist University, where he had been a co-captain and an All-Southwest Conference defensive tackle.   Mays was drafted by the Vikings, but chose to play in the AFL, near his home.  He was a force at end on the Chiefs' vaunted defensive line, after starting his professional career playing defensive tackle.
       A six-time
AFL All-Star, Jerry Mays was selected to the All-Star team at two different positions: at defensive tackle in 1962 and 1964, and at defensive end in 1965 through 1968.
       An emotional, durable competitor wth speed, agility and strong "second effort", Mays played in 126 straight games for the AFL Texans and Chiefs, and once recovered and returned a Jets' fumble 58 yards for a touchdown.  He was not only an AFL player but an AFL fan, who empathized with Titans players when their paychecks were late and celebrated with Broncos players when they burned their infamous vertically striped socks.  Mays is a member of the
American Football League All-Time Team.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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CURTIS McCLINTON
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          Halfback Curtis McClinton was a future choice by the New York Titans in the 14th round of the 1961 AFL draft, from the University of Kansas, where he is in the schoolís Athletic Hall of Fame.   His rights were traded to the Dallas Texans, where McClinton became one of the early stars of the American Football League. He was named the AFL Rookie of the Year in 1962, when he had 604 Yards on 111 carries for a 5.4 yards per carry average, and caught 29 passes for 333 yards. He finished the season off with his selection as the Outstanding Player of the 1962 AFL All-Star game.
          In addition to 1962, he was also an AFL All-Star in 1966 and 1967. Left off the AFL All-Star squad in 1965 in favor of the Chargersí Paul Lowe, McClinton still accumulated 1,251 total yards from scrimmage on 175 carries and 37 receptions for 6 tds rushing and 3 receiving. He had the size to run inside and the speed to run outside, and was excellent in pass protection. McClinton played on three American Football League Championship teams and in two AFL-NFL World Championship games, the first, in which he was the first AFL player to score a touchdown, and the last, in which the Chiefs defeated the Vikings 23-7. He is a member of the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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JOHNNY ROBINSON

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realpatch10year.gif (2119 bytes)Louisiana State University product Johnny Robinson was a master thief for the Kansas City Chiefs, leading the team in interceptions with 10 in 1966, and 57 for his career, a team record.
         In Super Bowl IV, the underdog Chiefs defeated "one of the [so-called] greatest teams in the history of the NFL", the Vikings, 23-7.  Late in the first half, Robinson recovered a Minnesota fumble and helped seal the Viking's fate.  With Chiefs rushing to congratulate him, lying on the turf, Robinson held one finger high to signify that the Chiefs were the best team in professional football.  Robinson also had an interception off Joe Kapp in the fourth quarter. 
         Robinson was a six-time
All-American Football League selection who played that Super Bowl game with three broken ribs.   Five times the interception leader on the Chiefs, Robinson redefined the role of the safety in professional football.  Opposing quarterbacks soon learned to keep the ball away from him.  In 1968, Pro Football Weekly selected him to its combined all-pro team, and Robinson is a member of the All-time All-AFL Team and one of only twenty players who were in the American Football League for its entire ten-year existence.  He founded and operates Johnny Robinson's Boys Home in Monroe, Louisiana.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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(click here for a story about the photo)

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OTIS TAYLOR

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       Otis Taylor, drafted and signed by the Chiefs in 1965 two years before the "common draft", was another example of the American Football League's expertise in selecting future stars from small, predominantly black schools, in this case, Prairie View A&M University.   He caught five td passes in his rookie year, and in his second year, 1966, led the AFL with a 22.4 yds/catch average.  Taylor owns the Chiefs' career records for receiving yards (7,306), receiving touchdowns (57) and 100-yard games (20), and was an All-Star three times. 
       Taylor stood 6-foot-3 and weighed 215 pounds.  Along with his sure hands, he was a devastating upfield blocker, springing backs like Mike Garrett and Robert Holmes for many long gainers.  He and Holmes teamed up for the longest reception in Chiefs history in 1969 when he caught a pass for 79 yards, then lateraled to Holmes, who carried it another 14 yards for a touchdown.

       He was a rugged receiver with sure hands and the uncanny instinct to catch anything thrown his direction.  He is the team's second leading all-time receiver with 410 receptions.
      "Otis made my job easy," former Chiefs quarterback Len Dawson said. "If you got the pass to Otis, you knew he'd catch it." 
       In the fourth World Championship Game, Taylor caught a short pass in the flat, turned upfield and stiff-armed his way to a 46-yard touchdown in the Chiefs 23-7 crushing of Minnesota.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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JIM TYRER

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       Jim Tyrer was an All-American at OHIO STATE under Woody Hayes.  Signing with the Dallas Texans in 1961, he set the standard for his position.
       The best offensive tackle of his time, Jim Tyrer anchored the Texans/Chiefs line for 13 seasons.  He was an American Football League All-Star seven times, in 1962, '63, '64, '65 , '66, '68 and '69.  His blocks were crushing, and his consistent, outstanding play landed him a spot on the American Football League All-Time Team
       He had an uncanny ability to open a hole for Chiefs running backs, which helped the team crush the Vikings in Super Bowl IV.  The 6-foot-6, 295 pound giant would single-handedly take on two of Minnesota's vaunted defensive linemen, blow them away and lead the charge as Mike Garrett swept through the hole.  Tyrer was named AFL Offensive Lineman of the Year in 1969 and played in 180 consecutive games for the franchise.      

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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JERREL WILSON

       Jerrel Wilson was a center at the University of Southern Mississippi, and played running back early in his pro career, after being drafted by Kansas City in 1963.  But he became an All-AFL punter for the Chiefs.  He played more seasons than any player in team history. Wilson's booming punts earned him the media nickname  "Thunderfoot", because he frequently got the Chiefs out of the shadow of their own goal posts.  To friends, he was "Duck", a lover of the outdoors. 
       Wilson had four punts of 70 or more yards in his career.  He played for Kansas City for seven years in the American Football League, and 15 years altogether, a total of 203 games and 1,018 punts for the Chiefs.  
Wilson had a career average of 43.0 yards per kick and was at his best during big games.    His average of 46.5 yards on 11 punts in two World Championship games is a record.  He was selected as a member of the American Football League All-Time Team.  Wilson is a 1988 inductee of the Chiefs' Hall of Fame.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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LLOYD WELLS


Photo courtesy of Jim L. Chambers
 

       The epitome of the American Football League's enlightened policies towards recruiting black athletes was Lloyd C. A. "Judge" Wells, a Texas Southern University graduate who, while he was a sports photographer, accomplished the desegregation of fan seating at amateur and professional events in Houston. 
       As a part-time scout for Kansas City, he convinced
Grambling defensive tackle Buck Buchanan to sign with the Chiefs.  He also recruited defensive backs Jim Kearney and Emmit Thomas, and linebacker Willie Lanier.  After becoming pro football's first black full-time scout, in a famous "babysitting" incident in 1965, he managed to get Hall of Fame receiver Otis Taylor (Prairie View A&M) away from the other league's Dallas team.  Wells' success was a catalyst for the old league to try to get up to speed in signing talented black players from small colleges, as the AFL had done from its inception.
       No less than eight of Wells' recruits made All-AFL during their pro careers. He had a major hand in staffing the Chiefs to enable them to win the Fourth World Championship Game.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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HANK STRAM

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realpatch10year.gif (2119 bytes)The only coach the Texans and Chiefs ever had, Hank Stram's teams won three American Football League titles, more than any other coach in the league's history.  He also coached for the most victories (87), most post-season appearances (6) and the best post-season record (5-1).
         Stram was an innovator, a shrewd judge of talent, and an excellent teacher.  He helped develop Hall of Famers Len Dawson, Johnny Robinson, Willie Lanier, Ed Budde and many others.
        In Super Bowl IV, his ingenious innovations, the "moving pocket" and the "triple-stack defense", utterly dominated the Vikings on both sides of the ball.  In that championship game, Stram became the first professional football coach to wear a microphone.
        Stram's recorded comments from that game have become classics: "Let's matriculate the ball down the field, boys.", and his assessment of the Vikings' ineffectual play: "You can't do that in OUR league!"
(Click here for Behr on Stram)

       The man who coached the team Stram beat in Super Bowl IV was elected to the "pro football" hall of fame nine years before Stram was admitted.   Like those of other AFL pioneers, Stram's contributions to the game helped change the face of professional football.  A ten-year head coach in the American Football League.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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LAMAR HUNT


(click here for more)

realpatch10year.gif (2119 bytes)Lamar Hunt had a dream . . . to bring professional football to Texas and to American markets that had a yearning for the game in places other than the traditional Northeast.  In fulfilling that dream, Hunt gave life to the league that was the genesis of modern professional football: the American Football League.
         As his coach for the entire ten-year history of the AFL, he chose Hall-of-Famer-to-be Hank Stram.  Hunt encouraged, entreated, wheedled, and cajoled seven other forward-thinking men to form a league that would forever leave its mark on American sport.  The excellence of his team forced others in the league to compete to meet his high standards.  Hunt and his AFL associates signed some of the best players ever to play the game, and brought new ideas, excitement, and color to AFL cities while other "pro football" towns watched "three yards and a cloud of dust".

       When his team capped off the league's existence with a crushing victory over a hugely favored opponent, it was Hunt who approved the 10-year AFL patch they wore, commemorating the ten years of excellence of the American Football League.  For his foresight and perseverance, and for giving them ten years of pure football pleasure, American Football League fans everywhere say "Thank you!" to Lamar Hunt.

AFLHOF.gif (17340 bytes) A member of the
American Football League
Hall of Fame

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     In 1970, the Chiefs put out a summary of their World Championship year. Here's the cover, courtesy of Chiefs and AFL fan Randy Brown.

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.Click here for TEXANS/CHIEFS team facts

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Patriots Bills Oilers Jets Dolphins Broncos DALLAS TEXANS ~ KANSAS CITY CHIEFS ~ Chargers Raiders Bengals

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