Lance Alworth

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Lance Alworth
No. 24, 19
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1940-08-03) August 3, 1940 (age 76)
Place of birth: Houston, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Weight: 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
High school: Brookhaven (MS)
College: Arkansas
NFL Draft: 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
AFL draft: 1962 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions: 542
Receiving yards: 10,266
Touchdowns: 85
Player stats at PFR

Lance Dwight Alworth (born August 3, 1940) is a former American football player who was a wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) and Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. He played for eleven seasons, from 1962 through 1972, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. He was the first player inducted whose playing career was principally in the AFL. Alworth is also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Born in Houston, Texas, Alworth was raised in Brookhaven, Mississippi, where he played football at Brookhaven High School before attending the University of Arkansas.[1][2] While in high school, he earned 15 letters.[2] Alworth's sister Ann was fast enough in the 50- and 75-yard dashes in track to be invited to the Olympic Games trials, though she declined the invitation.[2] After high school, Alworth was offered contracts by the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.[2]

College career[edit]

At Arkansas, the six-foot (1.83 m), 180-pound (82 kg) Alworth was a flanker[2] who led all colleges in punt return yardage in 1960 and 1961. He also was a track star, running the 100 and 200-yard dashes (in 9.6 seconds and 21.2 seconds, respectively) and long jump.[2] Alworth was a three-time Academic All-American, graduating with a degree in marketing as a pre-law student.[2] In 1962, Alworth was on multiple All-American teams: Look magazine, Associated Press, United Press International and Coaches.[2] He is a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Alworth is a member of the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame; he was named to the University of Arkansas' 1960's All-Decade Team, and the school's All-Century Team in 1994.

Professional career[edit]

San Diego Chargers[edit]

Alworth was chosen in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1962 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The American Football League's Oakland Raiders selected him with their first pick (ninth overall) in the second round of the 1962 AFL Draft, then traded his rights to the San Diego Chargers in return for halfback Bo Roberson, quarterback Hunter Enis, and offensive tackle Gene Selawski.[3] Alworth opted to sign with the Chargers instead of the 49ers. The Chargers moved Alworth to wide receiver. His slender build, speed, grace, and leaping ability earned him the nickname "Bambi."[4]

Alworth was an AFL Western Division All-Star in seven consecutive seasons, from 1963 through 1969, and was an AFL All-League flanker the same seven seasons, selected by his peers from 1963 to 1966, and by newspaper wire services from 1967 to 1964. Alworth was the UPI's 1963 AFL Most Valuable Player and is a member of the AFL All-Time Team. He scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass in the Chargers' 1963 AFL Championship Game victory over the Boston Patriots. In Alworth's eight AFL seasons, he led the league in receiving yards and receptions three times. He also set a Chargers record with 83 touchdowns.

Alworth held records for the most consecutive games with a reception (96) and most consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards (7). He still holds the record for the most games with 200 or more yards receiving (5, tied with Calvin Johnson) and was the only receiver to average more than 100 yards a game in three consecutive seasons (1964–1966). Alworth formed a formidable tandem with Chargers quarterback John Hadl, and is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in all professional football during the 1960s. He was the first of only a few American Football League stars to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated,[5] which like other media of the 1960s, showed a distinct bias for the NFL. Sports Illustrated even went so far as to declare Alworth the "Top Pro Receiver", this at a time when many[who?] claimed the AFL had inferior players.

Dallas Cowboys[edit]

On May 19, 1971, Alworth was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, for his final two seasons. In exchange, the Chargers received Tony Liscio, Pettis Norman, and Ron East.[6]

In Super Bowl VI following the 1971 season, he scored the game's first touchdown, a 7-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in the Cowboys' 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins.[7] Alworth would later call the two receptions he made in Super Bowl VI (one that converted a third and long and the other for the touchdown) the two most important catches of his career.


Alworth finished his 11 AFL/NFL seasons with 543 receptions for 10,266 yards. He also rushed for 129 yards, returned 29 punts for 309 yards, gained 216 yards on 10 kickoff returns, and scored 87 touchdowns (85 receiving and 2 rushing).

In 1972, he was inducted to the San Diego Hall of Champions. In 1977, he was inducted in the Chargers Hall of Fame. In 1978, he became the first San Diego Charger and the first player who had played in the AFL to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[8] He chose to be presented at the Canton, Ohio ceremony by Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, his former position coach at San Diego, who had much to do with the success of the AFL.

Alworth's number 19 was retired by the Chargers in 2005.[9] In 1970, he was selected as a member of the AFL All-Time Team, and in 1994, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, the only player to be named to both teams.

In 1979, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 1988, he was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

WIn 1999, he was ranked number 31 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Charger and the highest-ranking player to have spent more than one season in the AFL.

In 2014, he was inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Alworth and his wife Laura, whom he married in 1997,[11] live in San Diego. He has six children.[12] He founded All Aboard Mini Storage, with facilities throughout California.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lance "Bambi" Alworth". National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Eiland, William U (2002) [1992]. Dawson, Dawn P, ed. Great Athletes. 1 (Revised ed.). Salem Press. pp. 52–54. ISBN 1-58765-008-8. 
  3. ^ Sinn, Donn (December 28, 2002). "More Did You Know". San Francisco Forty Niners. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009. 
  4. ^ Shrake, Edwin (December 13, 1965). "They All Go Bang! At Bambi". Sports Illustrated. 23 (24). Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  5. ^ Center, Bill (January 5, 2014). "No finer Chargers WR than Lance Alworth". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  6. ^ Buck, Ray (February 29, 2008). "Trading wasn't always so difficult in the NFL". Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2011-12-03. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Alworth AFL's first Hall of Fame member". Star-News. July 27, 1978. p. 4-D. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  9. ^ Scholfield, Steve (July 14, 2005). "Chargers to honor AFL icon Alworth". North County Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012. 
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