1963 American Football League season

The 1963 American Football League season was the fourth regular season of the American Football League (AFL).

The season ended when the San Diego Chargers defeated the Boston Patriots in the AFL championship game – to this date the only major league championship won by the Chargers and the city of San Diego.

The original eight franchises of 1960 remained, but two underwent name changes, with one relocating. The Titans of New York changed their team colors and were renamed the New York Jets; the defending AFL champion Dallas Texans moved north to Missouri and became the Kansas City Chiefs.

1963 American Football League season
Regular season
DurationSeptember 7 – December 22, 1963
Playoffs
DateDecember 28, 1963 – January 5, 1964
Eastern ChampionBoston Patriots   (playoff)
Western ChampionSan Diego Chargers
SiteBalboa Stadium, San Diego, California
ChampionSan Diego Chargers

Division races

As with the previous three seasons, the AFL had 8 teams, split into two divisions. Every team played two games against the others for a total of 14 games, and the division winners met in the AFL championship game. If there was tie in the standings, a playoff was held to determine the division winner. San Diego led the Western Division for the entire season, with the Oakland Raiders following one game behind from Week Eight onward. The Raiders had started at 2–0, then lost four straight, then began a winning streak. Starting from a 2–4 handicap was insurmountable, and although Oakland beat San Diego twice (34–33 on October 27, and 41–27 on December 8), they were unable to catch up.

The Eastern race changed in Week Seven, after the Jets lost to Oakland, 49–26, and the Patriots and Houston Oilers tied at 4–3–0 for the lead. Houston, winner of the first three Eastern titles, pulled ahead the next week, and Boston beat them 45–3 the week after that; the next week, Boston lost 7–6 to San Diego, while Houston beat the Jets 31–27 to pull ahead again. Two weeks later (Week Twelve), San Diego beat Houston 27–0, while Boston led again after a 17–7 win over the Buffalo Bills. In Week Thirteen, Boston was at 7–5–1, and Buffalo and Houston right behind. In the final week, spoiler San Diego took out Houston, 20–14. Buffalo won 19–10 over the Jets, while Boston lost 35–3 at Kansas City, giving the Bills and Pats records of 7–6–1 and forcing a playoff.

The season schedule itself was pushed back a week from what was originally planned, owing to the assassination of President Kennedy, which resulted in the AFL moving games from that weekend (i.e., the weekend of November 23–24) to the weekend of December 21–22. Since only three games had been scheduled, with Boston and Buffalo both having a bye, it meant that the Patriots and Bills finished their regular schedule on Saturday, December 14, a week before the league's other six teams did. Consequently, the Patriots and Bills could have played their tiebreaker playoff on December 22, potentially leaving the AFL Championship Game for the next weekend (the originally scheduled date), since they knew after games of December 15 that they and they alone had tied for the division title. However, the Western Division race had not yet been decided and Chargers and Raiders owners Barron Hilton and Al Davis respectively objected to playing the Eastern playoff "early" on the grounds that it would have given the Eastern winner an unfair advantage in terms of rest in case the Chargers and Raiders also had to play a tiebreaker. The Chargers won their last game and with it won the West outright, nevertheless the Bills-Patriots Eastern Division playoff was not played until after the following week on Saturday, December 28 (the day before the Chicago-New York NFL Championship Game). This meant that the Boston-San Diego championship game was not played until January 5, 1964. Thus was held the second professional playoff game ever held in January (with the AFL's first ever title playoff on January 1, 1961, being the only time before then that that had occurred). As it happened, the Patriots-Chargers playoff was also latest date on which a non-Super Bowl playoff game was ever held, and it retained that record until the AFC and NFC Championship Games of January 7, 1979. No 14-game season ever ended later.

Week Eastern Record Western Record
1 Boston 1–0–0 3 teams 1–0–0
2 Tie (Bos, Hou) 1–1–0 Tie (Oak, SD) 2–0–0
3 Boston 2–1–0 Tie (SD, KC) 2–0–0
4 N.Y. Jets 2–1–0 San Diego 3–0–0
5 N.Y. Jets 3–1–0 San Diego 3–1–0
6 N.Y. Jets 3–2–0 San Diego 4–1–0
7 Tie (Bos, Hou) 4–3–0 San Diego 5–1–0
8 Houston 5–3–0 San Diego 5–2–0
9 Tie (Bos, Hou) 5–4–0 San Diego 6–2–0
10 Houston 6–4–0 San Diego 7–2–0
11 Houston 6–4–0 San Diego 8–2–0
12 Tie (Bos, Hou) 6–5–1 San Diego 9–2–0
13 Boston 7–5–1 San Diego 9–3–0
14 Tie (Bos, Buf) 7–6–1 San Diego 10–3–0
15 Tie (Bos, Buf) 7–6–1 San Diego 11–3–0

Regular season

The defending champion Dallas Texans relocated to Kansas City, Missouri, and changed the team's name to the Kansas City Chiefs. Meanwhile, the New York Titans went under new ownership and changed their name to the New York Jets as they prepared to move from the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan to Shea Stadium in Queens near LaGuardia Airport, and their colors went from navy blue and gold to green and white.

Results

Home/Road Eastern Division Western Division
BOS BUF HOU NY DEN KC OAK SD
Eastern Boston Patriots 17–7 45–3 38–14 40–21 24–24 20–14 6–7
Buffalo Bills 28–21 20–31 45–14 27–17 27–27 12–0 13–23
Houston Oilers 28–46 28–14 31–27 20–14 28–7 13–24 14–20
New York Jets 31–24 10–19 24–17 35–35 17–0 10–7 7–53
Western Denver Broncos 14–10 28–30 24–33 9–14 7–59 10–26 50–34
Kansas City Chiefs 35–3 26–35 28–7 48–0 52–21 7–22 17–38
Oakland Raiders 14–20 35–17 52–49 49–26 35–31 10–7 41–27
San Diego Chargers 17–13 14–10 27–0 24–20 58–20 24–10 33–34

Standings

AFL Eastern Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
Boston Patriots 7 6 1 .538 4–2 327 257 L1
Buffalo Bills 7 6 1 .538 3–3 304 291 W2
Houston Oilers 6 8 0 .429 3–3 302 372 L4
New York Jets 5 8 1 .385 2–4 249 399 L3

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

AFL Western Division
W L T PCT DIV PF PA STK
San Diego Chargers 11 3 0 .786 3–3 399 255 W2
Oakland Raiders 10 4 0 .714 6–0 363 282 W8
Kansas City Chiefs 5 7 2 .417 2–4 347 263 W3
Denver Broncos 2 11 1 .154 1–5 301 473 L7

Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.

Playoffs

Coaching changes

External links

1963 All-AFL Team

The 1963 American Football League All-League Team was selected after the 1963 American Football League (AFL) season by AFL players, the Associated Press (AP), the Newspaper Enterprise Association (NEA), the New York Daily News (NYDN), and United Press International (UPI) to honor the league's top performers at each position.

1963 American Football League Championship Game

The 1963 American Football League Championship Game was the fourth AFL title game. At the end of the regular season, the San Diego Chargers (11–3) won the Western Division for the third time in the four-year existence of the AFL.The Eastern Division Boston Patriots and Buffalo Bills had identical 7–6–1 records, which required a tiebreaker playoff game on December 28 in Buffalo.

1963 American Football League draft

The 1963 American Football League draft was held in Dallas on Saturday, December 1, 1962.The Kansas City Chiefs drafted as the Dallas Texans, as their relocation would take place a few months later. With the first overall selection, they took Buck Buchanan, a defensive tackle from Grambling in Louisiana. The NFL draft was held two days later in Chicago.

1963 Boston Patriots season

The 1963 Boston Patriots season was the franchise's 4th season in the American Football League.

In their first season at Fenway Park, switching from Nickerson Field, the Patriots hovered around the .500 mark all season, and were in position to win the Eastern Division title outright with a victory on their final game. The 35–3 road loss to the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs allowed the Buffalo Bills catch up and both finished at 7–6–1, which required a divisional playoff game, the AFL's first. Both teams had a bye the following week, postponed from the Sunday after the assassination of President Kennedy; the tiebreaker playoff was scheduled for Saturday, December 28, at Buffalo's War Memorial Stadium. The teams split their two games during the regular season, with the home team winning, and the host Bills were slight favorites.The visiting Patriots won the playoff game 26–8 on a snowy field, with quarterback Babe Parilli throwing two touchdown passes to fullback Larry Garron, and three field goals were added by end Gino Cappelletti. With the win, Boston became Eastern Division champions, while the Western champion San Diego Chargers (11–3) were idle. The AFL championship game was played the next week in southern California on January 5, where San Diego routed the Patriots 51–10 at Balboa Stadium.

1963 Buffalo Bills season

The 1963 Buffalo Bills season was the team’s fourth season in the American Football League. Winless after their first four games, Buffalo won seven of the final ten games, including the final two over the New York Jets, to finish with their second-consecutive 7–6–1 record, tied with the Boston Patriots atop the Eastern division. In this era, this required a tiebreaker playoff, the AFL's first. The Patriots and Bills had split their season series, each team winning at home, and the Bills were slight favorites as playoff hosts.The playoff game on December 28 was played on a snowy field at War Memorial Stadium and Boston won 26–8, ending Buffalo's season.

1963 Denver Broncos season

The 1963 Denver Broncos season was the fourth season for the team in the American Football League (AFL). They finished with a record of two wins, eleven losses, and one tie, and finished fourth in the AFL's Western Division, and also the worst record in the league. The Broncos went winless in their final 10 games of the season.

The Broncos had the fewest passing yards in the AFL in 1963, throwing for only 2,487 yards, or 177.6 yards per game. For comparison, the league's top passing team — the Houston Oilers — threw for 229.2 yards per game. Curiously, Broncos wide receiver Lionel Taylor led the league with 78 receptions.The Broncos allowed 473 points in 1963, the most in the history of the AFL, and second most all time for a 14-game season. The Broncos' 40 passing touchdowns allowed in 1963 were the most in the history of pro football until the New Orleans Saints broke the record in 2015.

1963 Houston Oilers season

The 1963 Houston Oilers season was the fourth season for the Houston Oilers as a professional American football franchise. Houston had won the first two league championships and were runners-up in 1962, which went to a second overtime. In 1963, the Oilers lost their final four games to finish at 6–8, 1½ games behind the Boston Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the Eastern division. They failed to win the division (and qualify for the title game) for the first time in franchise history.

1963 Kansas City Chiefs season

The 1963 Kansas City Chiefs season was the 4th and inaugural season for the Kansas City Chiefs as a professional AFL franchise; Despite winning the AFL championship game the previous year, the Chiefs were 5–7–2 in 1963, third in the four-team Western division. The Chiefs were winless for two months in the middle of the season and were eliminated from the postseason in mid-November after ten games; they finished the season with three consecutive wins at home, with diminished attendance.

For the previous three seasons, the team was known as the Dallas Texans. Owner and founder Lamar Hunt moved the team following the 1962 AFL Championship. Despite enormous success in Dallas, Texas, the city could not sustain two professional football franchises (the other being the NFL's Dallas Cowboys). The team was renamed the Kansas City Chiefs and moved into Municipal Stadium alongside the Kansas City Athletics baseball team.

1963 NFL season

The 1963 NFL season was the 44th regular season of the National Football League. On April 17, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung and Detroit Lions defensive tackle Alex Karras for gambling on their own teams, as well as other NFL games; Hornung and Karras would miss the entire season. In addition, five other Detroit players were fined $2,000 each for placing bets on one game in which they did not participate.

The season ended with the Chicago Bears defeating the New York Giants at Wrigley Field in the NFL Championship Game.

1963 New York Jets season

The 1963 New York Jets season was the fourth season for the team in the American Football League (AFL) and the first under the moniker Jets. The season began with the team trying to improve on their 5–9 record from 1962 under new head coach Weeb Ewbank. The Jets finished the season 5–8–1, while playing their final season of home games at the Polo Grounds in Upper Manhattan, before relocating to Shea Stadium in the borough of Queens the following season.

In rebranding itself as the Jets, the club abandoned its navy-blue and gold uniforms in favor of kelly green and white. The jerseys had opposite-colored sleeves with thick stripes on the shoulders and cuffs, above and below the TV numerals. The pants were white with two parallel green stripes on each side. The new helmets were white with a single green stripe down the center; the logo on each side was a silhouette of a jet airplane in green, with the word "JETS" in thick white sans-serif italics along the fuselage.

1963 Oakland Raiders season

The 1963 Oakland Raiders season was the team's fourth in Oakland. The campaign saw the team attempt to improve upon its abysmal 1962 record of 1–13.

In his first year with the organization, Raiders legend Al Davis, formerly a receivers coach with the San Diego Chargers, replaced the team's original gold and black uniforms with the current "silver and black" scheme. Under his leadership as head coach and general manager, the Raiders stunned the rest of the AFL by winning ten games. They finished with a record of 10–4, which was good for second place in the Western Division, one game behind the eventual AFL champion Chargers, whom they had defeated twice. The Raiders swept the Western division in 1963, winning all six games. For his role in the Raiders' miraculous turnaround, Al Davis was named the AFL's "Coach of the Year".

1963 San Diego Chargers season

The 1963 San Diego Chargers season was the team's fourth in the American Football League. The team had gone 4–10 in 1962. They won their only AFL Championship with a 51–10 win over the Boston Patriots in Balboa Stadium. Receiver Lance Alworth was named the league M.V.P.

Through 2019, this is the Chargers' only league championship season in the AFL or NFL, although they did win the 1994 AFC Championship before losing in Super Bowl XXIX to the San Francisco 49ers. This is also the most recent world championship ever won by a major league sports team in the city and county of San Diego. In 2003, the team was inducted into the Chargers Ring of Honor.The Chargers were the only AFL team to go undefeated against four teams in the regular season that would go on to make the postseason.

The 1963 San Diego Chargers were one of the best.

Early era
(1920–1969)
Modern era
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1963 AFL season

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