The 1962 American Football League Championship Game was played on December 23 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas. The host Houston Oilers (11–3) of the Eastern Division were trying for their third consecutive AFL title, matched against the Western Division's Dallas Texans, also at 11–3.
|1962 American Football League Championship Game|
|Date||December 23, 1962|
|Stadium||Jeppesen Stadium, Houston, Texas|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman,|
and Jack Buck
The two teams were the class of the league that year, and they split their regular season series, with the visiting team winning each game. The Texans thumped the Oilers at Houston 31–7 on October 28, and the next week the Oilers returned the favor with a 14–6 win at the Cotton Bowl.
Dallas was coached by the erudite Hank Stram, and featured players on offense included Abner Haynes, quarterback Len Dawson, and rookie running back Curtis McClinton, a powerful 230 lb (104 kg) All-American from Kansas. The defense showcased Johnny Robinson and E. J. Holub.
Houston, coached by Frank "Pop" Ivy, featured a host of offensive talent with veteran quarterback George Blanda, Charlie Tolar, the fleet-footed Billy Cannon, Charlie Hennigan, and unheralded Willard Dewveall. Jeppesen Stadium ticket takers counted 37,981 fans in attendance. Astronaut Gus Grissom placed the ball on the kicking tee as the honorary referee.1 2 3
At the time, it was the longest game in the history of professional American football, and remains the longest professional championship game (and third-longest professional game) in the history of the sport.
Early in the game both teams relied on the run. Houston with Tolar and Cannon gained the advantage and advanced the ball to the Dallas 4-yard line. The Dallas defense rose to the occasion and hit Blanda as he attempted to pass causing the ball to wobble right into the eager arms of the Texans EJ Holub for an interception. Holub scrambled upfield but Houston's Al Jamison saved a touchdown by knocking Holub out of bounds at midfield. Len Dawson then mixed running and passing to the Houston 8 where Tommy Brooker booted a 16-yard field goal.
Houston started driving again with Tolar and Cannon running, often from a "double wing" backfield formation. The drive stalled and Blanda missed a 47-yard field goal to conclude the 1st qtr.
When Dallas took possession, Jack Spikes promptly darted around left end for 33 yards, augmented by a 15-yard face mask penalty against Houston. Dawson then hit Abner Haynes, who had lined up as a flanker, on a curl-out pattern and Haynes scooted down the right sideline for 28 yards and a touchdown. Brooker's extra-point made it 10–0, Dallas.
Later, in the quarter, Houston had the ball at their 32, when Blanda lofted a pass deep, but Dave Grayson picked the ball off and returned it to the Hou 29. Dallas kept the ball on the ground, with Haynes scoring his 2nd TD, and Dallas led 17–0. George Blanda would not be deterred and continued to pass, but a 4th down incompletion at the Dallas 25 ended another drive, and any more scoring threats in the first half.
The Oilers received the kickoff and Blanda again came out throwing. With Charlie Tolar (an oil-well fire fighter in the off-season)3 knocking defenders down and Blanda passing, Houston culminated the drive with a 15-yard pass to Willard Dewveall, closing the gap to 17–7, Dallas.
Later in the third period Haynes fumbled and Houston recovered at the Dallas 20, but Johnny Robinson picked-off Blanda's pass at the goal line and returned in to the Dallas 37.
Dallas kept the ball on the ground in the 2nd half, intending to use up the clock and keep Houston's potent offense off the field. Dallas consistently moved the ball, but could not get into scoring position.
George Blanda using the double wing backfield, had Houston driving again. On a third down pass from the Dallas 24, Johnny Robinson delivered a hard hit to Billy Cannon at the goal line, knocking the ball loose and preventing a touchdown. Blanda then kicked a 31-yard field goal to make it 17–10, Dallas.
Dallas stayed conservative and Blanda continued the aerial assault connecting with Cannon and Hennigan to move to the Dallas 1-yard line. Fullback Charlie Tolar the "human bowling ball" took the ball in on a 1-yard dive, again knocking defenders out of the way. Blanda's extra-point tied the game at 17–17.
With the clock running down, Dave Grayson blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt by Blanda to end any more scoring threats.
The first overtime started with a potentially damaging gaffe by Dallas captain Abner Haynes, who won the toss and elected to "kick to the clock". What Haynes wanted was the strong wind behind his team, but, by saying "kick" first, he gave the Oilers the choice of having the wind at their backs. As it turned out, it didn't matter. The first overtime went scoreless, but Bill Hull intercepted a Blanda pass to end it with the Texans at the Oilers' 48. In the second overtime, Jack Spikes picked up ten yards on a pass reception and nineteen yards on a rush. After the Texans ran a couple of plays to position the ball, rookie Tommy Brooker came in on fourth-and-nine, and kicked a 25-yard field goal after 2:54 of the sixth quarter, or 17:54 of sudden-death overtime, to end the game.
The Houston Oilers had come within a hair's breadth of winning the first three AFL championships, but the Texans prevailed, 20–17, in their last game before moving north to Missouri to become the Kansas City Chiefs. They would win the AFL title again in 1966 and 1969, gaining berths in the first and fourth Super Bowls.
The overflow attendance of nearly 38,000 brought a gate of about $170,000. The winning Texans players each made $2,261, while the Oilers received $1,471 each. These shares were less than half of those for the NFL title game in 1962, at $5,888 and $4,166 each.
1961 AFL Champions
| Dallas Texans
American Football League Champions
San Diego Chargers
1963 AFL Champions
The 1962 National Football League Championship Game was the 30th NFL title game, played on December 30 at Yankee Stadium in New York City. It matched the New York Giants (12–2) of the Eastern Conference and Green Bay Packers (13–1) of the Western Conference, the defending league champions.The Packers were led by hall of fame head coach Vince Lombardi, in his fourth year, and the Giants by Allie Sherman, in his second season. Green Bay was favored by 6½ points. The attendance for the game was 64,892, and the weather during the game was so cold that television crews used bonfires to thaw out their cameras, and one cameraman suffered frostbite. The conditions also made throwing the ball difficult.
Green Bay won 16–7, behind the performances of game Most Valuable Player linebacker Ray Nitschke, and fullback Jim Taylor. Right guard Jerry Kramer, filling in as placekicker for the injured Paul Hornung, scored ten points with three field goals and an extra point. The Giants fumbled twice, with Nitschke recovering both for the Packers, while the Packers recovered all five of their own fumbles and intercepted a Giants pass.This was the third and final NFL title game played at Yankee Stadium; the others were in 1956 and 1958, with the Giants winning the first. There would not be another NFL title game in greater New York City for 51 seasons until Super Bowl XLVIII, which was played February 2, 2014 at MetLife Stadium and resulted in the Seattle Seahawks defeating the Denver Broncos 43-8. Previous championship games hosted by the Giants in New York were played across the Harlem River at the Polo Grounds in 1934, 1938, 1944, and 1946; the Giants won the first two. An additional title game was played at the Polo Grounds in 1936, hosted by the Boston Redskins and won by the Packers.Bill Hull
William Harry Hull, Jr. (born August 4, 1940) is a former American football defensive end who played in the American Football League.Jack Spikes
Jack Erwin Spikes (born February 5, 1937) is a former American football running back and placekicker. He played in the American Football League (NFL) for the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Oilers, and the Buffalo Bills. He played college football at Texas Christian University (TCU).
Spikes played a key role in professional football's longest championship game, the 1962 American Football League Championship game between the Texans and the Houston Oilers. Spikes' teammate Bill Hull intercepted the Oilers' George Blanda late in the first overtime. Hull's interception allowed the Texans to start the second overtime with two powerful runs by Spikes, to move the ball to the Oilers' 25-yard line, and Tommy Brooker kicked a field goal to give the Texans the win, 20–17.
Dallas Texans 1962 AFL champions
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National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)
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1 – From 1966 to 1969, the first four Super Bowls were "World Championship" games played between two independent professional football leagues, AFL and NFL, and when the league merged in 1970 the Super Bowl became the NFL Championship Game.
2 – Dates in the list denote the season, not the calendar year in which the championship game was played. For instance, Super Bowl XLI was played in 2007, but was the championship for the 2006 season.
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