|1961 American Football League season|
|Duration||September 9 – December 17, 1961|
|Date||December 24, 1961|
|Eastern Champion||Houston Oilers|
|Western Champion||San Diego Chargers|
|Site||Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California|
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 (Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, Titans of New York, Boston Patriots) and the West Division (San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, Dallas Texans, Oakland Raiders).
In an organized sports league, a typical season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session: for example, in Major League Baseball the season lasts approximately from April to October. In other team sports, like association football or basketball, it is generally from August or September to May although in some countries - such as Northern Europe or East Asia - the season starts in the spring and finishes in autumn, mainly due to weather conditions encountered during the winter.
The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.
The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area. The Bills compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays their home games at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills are the only NFL team that plays its home games in the state of New York. The Bills conduct summer training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, an eastern suburb of Rochester.
After having spent its inaugural season in Los Angeles, the Chargers moved to San Diego, California for this AFL season; 56 years later, the franchise returned to their original home.
The season ended when the Houston Oilers defeated the San Diego Chargers in the AFL Championship game.
The AFL had 8 teams, grouped into two divisions. Each team would play a home-and-away game against the other 7 teams in the league for a total of 14 games, and the best team in the Eastern Division would play against the best in the Western Division in a championship game. If there was tie in the standings, a playoff would be held to determine the division winner.
The San Diego Chargers won their first eleven games, clinching the Western Division on November 12, with four games left. When San Diego reached 10–0, it had twice the wins of any other team in the AFL. In the Eastern Division, the Titans of New York lost 27–10 to Denver, while Boston beat Buffalo 52–21, in Week Seven, for a tie in the race, with the Pats at 3–3–1 and the Titans at 3–3–0. The Titans lost, 48–13 to San Diego, in Week Nine. The following week, though (November 12), Houston beat Boston, 27–15, to take a half-game lead, and won the division by a full game.
|1||Tie (Hou, TNY)||1–0–0||Tie (Den, SD)||1–0–0|
|3||Tie (Bos, TNY)||2–1–0||San Diego||3–0–0|
|4||New York||3–1–0||San Diego||4–0–0|
|5||New York||3–1–0||San Diego||5–0–0|
|6||New York||3–2–0||San Diego||6–0–0|
|7||Tie (Bos, TNY)||3–3–1||San Diego||7–0–0|
|8||Tie (Bos, TNY)||4–3–1||San Diego||8–0–0|
|Home/Road||Eastern Division||Western Division|
|Titans of New York||37–30||21–14||21–48||28–7||35–28||23–12||10–25|
|San Diego Chargers||0–41||28–10||34–24||48–13||24–14||37–0||44–0|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
|AFL Championship Game|
|December 24, 1961 – Balboa Stadium|
|San Diego Chargers||3|
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. Blanda retired from pro football in 1976 as the oldest player to ever play at the age of 48. He was one of only two players to play in four different decades, and he holds the record for most extra points made (943) and attempted (959). During his career, he played under head coaches Bear Bryant, George Halas, and John Madden.
The 1961 Houston Oilers season was their second. 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.
Louis Henry Saban was an American football player and coach. He played for Indiana University in college and as a professional for the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Football Conference between 1946 and 1949. Saban then began a long coaching career. After numerous jobs at the college level, he became the first coach of the Boston Patriots in the American Football League (AFL) in 1960. He joined the Buffalo Bills two years later, and led the team to consecutive AFL championships in 1964 and 1965. After serving briefly as head coach at the University of Maryland, he was hired as head coach of the Denver Broncos in 1967, where he remained for five years. Saban returned to the Bills—by then in the National Football League following the AFL–NFL merger—from 1972 to 1976, reaching the playoffs once but failing to bring Buffalo another championship.
Michael Joseph Holovak was an American football player, coach, and executive. He played college football at Boston College, where he was named an All-American at fullback in 1942. Holovak was selected in the first round of the 1943 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Rams. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he played in the National Football League (NFL) with the Rams, who had moved to Los Angeles, in 1946 and with the Chicago Bears in 1947 and 1948. Holovak served as the head football coach at his alma mater, Boston College, from 1951 to 1959, compiling a record of 49–29–3. In 1960, he joined the Boston Patriots of the American Football League as an assistant coach under Lou Saban. Holovak took over as head coach after Saban's firing midway through the 1961 season and remained as the team's head coach through the 1968 season. In 1976, he served one game as head coach for the New York Jets. He was also the general manager of the Houston Oilers from 1989 to 1993. Holovak was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1985.
Garrard Sliger "Buster" Ramsey was an American football player who starred at William and Mary and was the first head coach of the American Football League's Buffalo Bills in 1960. Prior to coaching the Bills, and after a stint in the United States Navy during World War II, Ramsey played for the Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1951 and a member of the 1947 NFL Champions. In 1951, Ramsey became a player-coach for the Cardinals before becoming the defensive coach for the Detroit Lions in 1952. During his tenure with the Lions, Ramsey is credited with devising the 4-3 defense, a staple of modern football, and being the first coach to blitz linebackers, a package he called Red Dog. The Lions won three World Championships in the 1950s with Ramsey running the defense. He developed Lions greats such as Yale Lary, Jack Christiansen, Jim David, and many others. In 1960, he was lured to the new American Football League as coach of the Buffalo Bills. Though fired by Bills' owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. after the 1961 AFL season, Ramsey is credited for laying the foundation of one of the best defensive teams in the history of the AFL. He also had a brother, Knox Ramsey, who also starred for the College of William and Mary, the Chicago Cardinals, and the Washington Redskins. Ramsey was elected into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1974, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 1978.
The Kansas City Chiefs are a professional American football team based in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. The team was founded in 1960 as the Dallas Texans by businessman Lamar Hunt and was a charter member of the American Football League (AFL). In 1963, the team relocated to Kansas City and assumed their current name. The Chiefs joined the NFL as a result of the merger in 1970. The team is valued at over $2 billion. Hunt's son, Clark, serves as chairman and CEO. While Hunt's ownership stakes passed collectively to his widow and children after his death in 2006, Clark represents the Chiefs at all league meetings and has ultimate authority on personnel changes.
Henry Louis "Hank" Stram was an American football coach. He is best known for his 15-year tenure with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs of the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL).
The Denver Broncos are a professional American football franchise based in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos compete as a member club of the National Football League (NFL)'s American Football Conference (AFC) West division. They began play in 1960 as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) and joined the NFL as part of the merger in 1970. The Broncos are owned by the Pat Bowlen trust and currently play home games at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Prior to that, they played at Mile High Stadium from 1960 to 2000.
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 American Football Conference – Western Division or AFC West is one of the four divisions of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL). The division comprises the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Oakland Raiders.
The 1960 Oakland Raiders season was the inaugural one for the franchise and for the American Football League. Head coach Eddie Erdelatz led the team to a 6–8 finish, third out of four teams in the Western Division.
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The 1969 American Football League season was the tenth and final regular season of the American Football League (AFL). To honor the AFL's tenth season, a special anniversary logo was designed and each Kansas City Chiefs player wore a patch on his jersey with the logo during Super Bowl IV, the final AFL-NFL World Championship Game prior to the merger of the two leagues.
The 1968 American Football League season was the ninth regular season of the American Football League, and its penultimate season prior to the AFL–NFL merger.
The 1967 American Football League season was the eighth regular season of the American Football League.
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The 1963 American Football League season was the fourth regular season of the American Football League (AFL).
The 1962 American Football League season was the third regular season of the American Football League (AFL). It consisted of 8 franchises split into two divisions: the East Division and the West Division.
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