Special Sub-Topic: Decade of Glory: The AFL
|What was the "foolish club?"|
The eight original owners of AFL teams. The idea of creating a successful football league to offer serious competition to the NFL was so far-fetched that skeptics quickly dubbed the eight owners, "The Foolish Club." Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, however, credits one-time Oakland Raider owner Wayne Valley with originating the name. The AFL owners had the last laugh though. By 1964, they had a lucrative television contract with NBC, ensuring them the money they needed to stay afloat, and within two years, the NFL had struck a deal to merge with the new league.
|At the conclusion of the 1969 season, the AFL folded in style with the Kansas City Chiefs defeating the Minnesota Vikings 23-7 in the Super Bowl, giving both leagues two wins apiece in the game. After this fourth Super Bowl, who led all AFL players in career Super Bowl scoring?|
Bill Miller. Miller, an Oakland Raider wide receiver, had a relatively undistinguished six-year career in the AFL, but his two 23-yard touchdown receptions from Daryle Lamonica accounted for all the Raiders' scoring in Super Bowl II. And his feat of scoring two touchdowns in a losing Super Bowl effort remains an unusual one, not duplicated again for another 14 years.
|I was an AFL Rookie of the Year, averaging 17.5 yards per completed pass, and I took my young team to an upset over the team who eventually won the Super Bowl that season. Then I injured my shoulder and, for all intents and purposes, my career was over. Who am I?|
Greg Cook. Greg Cook's spectacular rookie season for the 1969 Cincinnati Bengals promised many good things to come, but a misdiagnosed and mistreated shoulder injury kept him out of action again until 1973, when he threw just three passes in one game before retiring. Four of his 1969 receivers averaged more than 20 yards per reception (there are many NFL seasons in which no receivers on any team average that much). His average gain per completion was 17.5 yards, more than 50% higher than the best season averages typically attained by leading NFL quarterbacks. The highlight of his rookie year was leading his Bengals to victories over the Chiefs and the Raiders, who would play for the AFL title at the end of the season.
|What was the significance of the words, "We'll kick to the clock?"|
The words almost cost the Dallas Texans the 1962 AFL championship. When the Dallas Texans and Houston Oilers were tied at 17 at the end of regulation time in their 1962 contest for the AFL title, they readied themselves to play only the second overtime championship game in US football history. Texans coach Hank Stram, conscious of the fierce winds in the stadium, instructed team captain Abner Haynes, should he win the overtime coin toss, to choose the side of the field facing the stadium clock, giving the Texans the wind at their backs. Haynes won the toss, and, figuring that the Texans would wind up kicking off if they opted to choose which goal to defend, told the referee, "We'll kick to the clock". However, by beginning with the words "we'll kick", Haynes had inadvertantly made the choice to kick off, giving the Oilers both the first possession of the overtime and the wind at their backs. The Texans held though, the game went into a second overtime, and Dallas kicked a field goal after 77 minutes and 54 seconds to win the longest professional football game up to that time, 20-17.
|When the brand-new Miami Dolphins played their first game in 1966, how did they get their existence off to an auspicious start?|
They returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Although their 23-14 loss to the Oakland Raiders was not memorable in itself, Joe Auer's 95 yard touchdown return of the opening kickoff gave the 26,766 fans watching the game at the Orange Bowl something to talk about for the rest of their lives.
|Officially, we were quarterback and coach, but we were more like father and son. We won more titles together than any other AFL quarterback-coach duo. Before the AFL, we were in college together as quarterback and coach. We also presented each other for our inductions into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Which quarterback and coach are we?|
Len Dawson & Hank Stram. "I have a Super Bowl ring on one hand, and a Hall of Fame ring on the other", said Len Dawson in his speech presenting his former coach for induction into the Hall of Fame, "and I owe them both to Hank Stram", Stram was an assistant coach at Purdue when Dawson played there in the 1950s. Several years later, as coach of the AFL Dallas Texans, Stram brought Dawson out of NFL obscurity, and together, they led the Texans to the 1962 AFL title, then two more titles in 1966 and 1969 after the team became the Chiefs.
|Which original AFL team played in its original stadium longer than any other team in the league?|
Denver Broncos. The Broncos played their first AFL game on September 9, 1960 in Denver's Bears Stadium, continued to play there after it was renamed "Mile High Stadium" in 1969, and stayed there through the 2000 season. Most of the original AFL teams had moved to better facilities, or to new cities, within five years of the league's formation. Besides Denver, the only original AFL team to play in the same stadium for the entire 10 years of AFL existence was the Buffalo Bills, who continued to play in Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium through the 1972 season.
|How did the "JV-5" figure into AFL history?|
It was the game ball. The AFL used the Spalding JV-5, a slightly more narrow ball than the Wilson Duke used by the NFL. During Super Bowl and preseason contests between AFL and NFL teams, each team got to use its own league's ball while on offense. During an unguarded moment after the first Super Bowl, Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi was asked whether he was holding an NFL ball or an AFL ball. "This is an NFL ball," he replied, "and it kicks a little bit better, it throws a little bit better, and it catches a little bit better."
|I made history in 1964 as American pro football's first soccer-style kicker. Who am I?|
Pete Gogolak. Hungarian Pete Gogolak played for the 1964 and 1965 Buffalo Bills, helping them win the AFL title both of those years with his powerful and accurate soccer-style kicks. He scored more than 100 points both of those seasons and made more than 60% of his field goal attempts, both incredible numbers at the time. Another Gogolak "first" came in 1966, when he became the first AFL free agent player to leave the league for the NFL, joining the New York Giants. Gogolak's jump to the NFL helped convince AFL owners that, although they were winning many of the bidding wars at the time for talented players, it made good business sense for them to join alliances with the NFL.
|Besides sending his Kansas City Chiefs teams to two of the first Super Bowls, what major contribution did their owner Lamar Hunt make to the game?|
Named it. According to legend, Hunt thought of the name "Super Bowl" after watching his daughter play with a Super Ball, a highly-bouncy rubber toy. The first two Super Bowls were officially called the "NFL-AFL World Championship Game", although many fans used the more catchy "Super Bowl" term. Super Bowl III was the first to use the term on the official game program, although the tickets still said, "World Championship Game." Super Bowl IV was the first one to use the term on both the tickets and program, and Super Bowl V was the first one to use Roman numerals on the tickets and programs.
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