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 a tie in the standings, a playoff would be held to determine the division winner.
The Denver Broncos, who would not have a winning season until they went 7–5–2 in 1973, were the Western Division leaders halfway through 1960. They won the AFL's first game, played on Friday night, September 9, 1960, beating the Boston Patriots 13–10. The Patriots' Gino Cappelletti scored the AFL's first points with a 35-yard field goal. Other results in Week One were the Los Angeles Chargers 21–20 win over the Dallas Texans, the Houston Oilers 37–22 win over the Oakland Raiders, and the New York Titans' 27–3 win over the Buffalo Bills. In the Raiders game, J.D. Smith caught a pass from Tom Flores to score the first two-point conversion in pro football history.
In Week Eight (October 30), Denver lost to the visiting Texans, 17–14, and did not win any of their last eight games, finishing with the AFL's worst record at 4–9–1. The Chargers, still in Los Angeles, pulled ahead the next week with a Friday night win over the New York Titans, 21–7, and finished at 10–4–0. The Eastern Division lead was held by Houston, except for a setback from a 14–13 loss to Oakland on September 25. In Week Five, the Oilers beat the visiting Titans, 27–21 and led the rest of the way.