1960 American Football League Championship Game

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1960 American Football League Championship Game
1234 Total
LAC 6370 16
HOU 01077 24
DateJanuary 1, 1961
StadiumJeppesen Stadium, Houston, Texas
RefereeJohn McDonough
Attendance32,183
TV in the United States
NetworkABC
AnnouncersJack Buck, George Ratterman, and Les Keiter[1]
Houston is located in the US
Houston
Houston
Location in the United States

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.[2][3][4] With New Year's on Sunday, the major college bowl games were played on Monday, January 2.[5]

The game matched the Eastern Division champion Houston Oilers (10–4), against the Western Division champion Los Angeles Chargers (10–4), in the first championship game of the new American Football League. The host Oilers were a 6½-point favorite.[2][6]

The AFL had established a format in which championship games would be alternated each year between the Western Division winners and the Eastern Division. The first game was originally scheduled to be played in the cavernous Los Angeles Coliseum but with the Chargers drawing less than 10,000 a game in the 100,000+ seat coliseum it was feared ABC would pull its contract because of empty seats so the game was moved[7] to the smaller Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, where it drew 32,183. It rained the five days prior to the game.[2]

Oilers' quarterback George Blanda had retired after ten seasons in the NFL and did not play during the 1959 season; he threw three touchdown passes (and kicked a field goal and three extra points) to lead Houston to the first AFL title, 24–16.[3]

Game summary[edit]

The Chargers led 6–0 in the first quarter on two field goals by Ben Agajanian, one of only two players (Hardy Brown) who played in the AAFC, the NFL and the AFL. In the second period, Houston scored on a 17-yard George Blanda pass to All-AFL fullback Dave Smith, then answered a 27-yard Agajanian field goal with a 17-yard kick by Blanda.

In the final quarter, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon caught a short toss from Blanda and went for an 88-yard touchdown scamper. The Chargers, down by eight points, tried to reach the end zone on their final possession. Had they scored they could have gone for the two-point conversion, but the clock ran out with the Chargers at the Oilers' 22-yard line. The Oilers won the first American Football League championship, 24–16.

Box score[edit]

1 2 34Total
Chargers 6 3 7016
Oilers 0 10 7724

at Jeppesen Stadium, Houston, Texas

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 1960 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Houston faces Los Angeles in title battle". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. January 1, 1961. p. 6, part 2.
  3. ^ a b "Oilers rally to win AFL title, 24 to 16". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. January 2, 1961. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ "Blanda paces Oilers to AFL title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 2, 1961. p. 44.
  5. ^ Smith, Wilfrid (January 2, 1961). "329,000 to attend 4 bowl games today". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 6.
  6. ^ "Houston, Los Angeles play for AFL title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 1, 1961. p. 2, section 2.
  7. ^ "LA Times 1985-09-17 P46 Chargers History - Newspapers.com". newspapers.com. Retrieved April 13, 2018.

Coordinates: 29°43′19″N 95°20′56″W / 29.722°N 95.349°W / 29.722; -95.349

Preceded by
League's first season was 1960
Houston Oilers
American Football League Champions

1960
Succeeded by
Houston Oilers
1961 AFL Champions