|Date||December 24, 1961|
|Stadium||Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers|| Jack Buck, George Ratterman,|
and Bob Neal
The 1961 American Football League Championship Game was a rematch of the first AFL title game, between the Houston Oilers and the San Diego Chargers (formerly the Los Angeles Chargers). It was played on December 24 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California, and the Oilers were three-point favorites.
The game matched the Eastern Division champion Houston Oilers (10–3–1), against the Western Division champion San Diego Chargers (12–2), two of only three AFL teams with winning records in the 1961 season. (The other was the Boston Patriots at 9–4–1).
The 1961 AFL championship game was the sixth meeting between the two teams during the calendar year. The previous season's title game, won by Houston 24–16, had been played on January 1, 1961. The Chargers had won two exhibition contests with the Oilers in the summer, and they had split during the regular season, with the home teams winning.
The second AFL title game kicked off at 1:30 pm PST and scoring was held down by sloppy play and turnovers: Houston had seven and San Diego six. The only score of the first half came on a 46-yard George Blanda field goal, coming after a nine-yard San Diego punt.
In the third quarter, the Oilers had the only sustained drive of the game, and went 80 yards. With a third-and-five at the San Diego 35, Blanda rolled to his right and found Billy Cannon open at the 17. Cannon jumped to make the catch, shrugged off a would-be tackler, and scampered into the end zone for a touchdown, his second in two straight low-scoring championship games. Blanda's extra point put Houston up 10–0. The Chargers scored early in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard field goal by George Blair, but they could not score again, and the Oilers won 10–3.
San Diego head coach Sid Gillman was involved in a heated post-game discussion at mid-field with an official, field judge John Morrow, who was wrestled to the ground by Charger safety Bob Zeman.
The game was not a sellout; the attendance of 29,556 was several thousand under Balboa Stadium's capacity.
Keith Payson Lincoln was an American professional football player who was a running back for eight seasons in the American Football League (AFL). He played college football for the Washington State Cougars before choosing to play with the San Diego Chargers in the AFL over the established National Football League (NFL). Lincoln was a two-time All-AFL selection and a five-time AFL All-Star. A member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, he won an AFL championship with San Diego in 1963, when he was named the most valuable player (MVP) of the championship game. He had a stint with the Buffalo Bills before returning to San Diego and finishing his career.
George Frederick Blanda was an American football quarterback and placekicker who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). Blanda played 26 seasons of professional football, the most in the sport's history, and had scored more points than anyone in history at the time of his retirement.
James Charles Norton was a professional American football player. He was an original member of the Houston Oilers of the American Football League. He played at strong safety and punter for their first nine seasons, 1960 to 1968. Norton was an AFL All-Star for three seasons and holds the league's record for career interceptions. His jersey No. 43 was the first of eight retired by the Oilers/Titans franchise.
For its first nine seasons, 1960 through 1968, the American Football League determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions.
The professional American football team now known as the Los Angeles Chargers previously played in San Diego, California as the San Diego Chargers from 1961 to 2017 before relocating back to Los Angeles where the team played their inaugural season. The Chargers franchise relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego in 1961. The Chargers' first home game in San Diego was at Balboa Stadium against the Oakland Raiders on September 17, 1961. Their final game as a San Diego-based club was played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego at the end of the 2016 season against the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated them 37–27.
The 1963 Boston Patriots season was the franchise's 4th season in the American Football League.
The 1967 American Football League Championship Game was the eighth AFL championship game, played on December 31 at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.
The 1965 American Football League Championship Game was the sixth AFL championship game, played on December 26 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California.
The 1964 American Football League Championship Game was the American Football League's fifth championship game, played at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, December 26.
The 1963 American Football League Championship Game was the fourth American Football League (AFL) title game. The Western Division champion San Diego Chargers won 51–10 over the Eastern Division champion Boston Patriots. The Chargers' Keith Lincoln was named the game's most valuable player (MVP).
The 1962 American Football League Championship Game was played on December 23 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. The host Houston Oilers (11–3) of the Eastern Division were trying for their third consecutive AFL title, matched against the Western Division's Dallas Texans, also at 11–3.
The 1961 American Football League season was the second regular season of the American Football League (AFL). It consisted of 8 franchises split into two divisions: the East Division and the West Division.
The 1960 American Football League Championship Game was the first AFL title game, played on New Year's Day 1961 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. With New Year's on Sunday, the major college bowl games were played on Monday, January 2. This was the first time that a major professional football league's playoff game was played in January rather than December.
Mark Johnston is a former professional football cornerback who played five professional seasons 1960-1964 in the American Football League with the Houston Oilers, New York Jets, and the Oakland Raiders. He was an American Football League All-Star in 1961, and was with the Oilers in the first three AFL Championship games, winning the title in 1960 and 1961.
The 1961 San Diego Chargers season was the team's second in the American Football League. It was the Chargers' first season in San Diego, where the team remained until 2017. The Chargers won their first eleven games and clinched the Western Division by mid-November, but only managed one victory in December. Like the previous season, the Chargers' season ended with a loss to the Houston Oilers in the AFL championship game, this time 10–3 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.
The 1960 Los Angeles Chargers season was the team's inaugural season and also the inaugural season of the American Football League (AFL). Head coach Sid Gillman led the Chargers to the AFL Western Division title with a 10–4 record, in the team's only season in Los Angeles until its 2017 return, with its home field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
The 1960 Houston Oilers season was the first season for the Houston Oilers as a professional American football franchise; Head Coach Lou Rymkus led the Oilers to the AFL Eastern Division title, with a 10–4 record. It was also the first American Football League season. It ended with a 24–16 victory in the AFL championship game at home over the Los Angeles Chargers (10–4).
The 1961 Houston Oilers season was the second season for the Houston Oilers as a professional American football franchise; For the second consecutive season, the Oilers scored a triumph in the AFL championship game over the San Diego Chargers (12–2), the Western Division champions.
The Los Angeles Chargers are a professional American football team that currently plays and competes in the National Football League (NFL). The Chargers were established in 1960 and played one season in Los Angeles before moving to San Diego in 1961. The team returned to Los Angeles in 2017.
1960 AFL Champions
| Houston Oilers|
American Football League Champions
1962 AFL Champions