American Football League playoffs

For its first nine seasons, 1960 through 1968, the American Football League determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions (although ties in the standings in 1963 (Eastern) and 1968 (Western) necessitated a tiebreaker divisional playoff game the week before).

In 1969, the tenth and final year of the independent ten-team AFL, a four-team playoff was held, with the second-place teams in each division traveling to play the winner of the other division in what were called the "Interdivisional" playoffs. These playoffs were not, and are not considered to have been, "wildcard" playoffs since the runners-up in both divisions qualified, rather the two best non-division winners. (Had the 1969 playoffs been true wildcard playoffs, the Western's third-place team, San Diego (8–6–0), would have qualified while the Eastern's runner-up, Houston (6–6–2), would not have.) The 1969 AFL playoffs were only the second time a U.S. major professional football league allowed teams other than the first place teams (including ties) to compete in post-season playoffs (the first was the seven-team All-America Football Conference's 1949 four-team playoff).

Prior to the advent of the Super Bowl for the 1966 season, the AFL went to great lengths to avoid scheduling its playoffs head-to-head with the NFL. In 1960, the NFL's game was held on Monday, December 26; the AFL had that week off, and played its title contest on Sunday, January 1, as the college bowl games were played on Monday. In 1961 and 1962, the AFL played its game during the off-week between the end of the NFL's regular season and its title game (thus resulting in the AFL holding championship games on December 24, 1961, and December 23, 1962, a week before the NFL's games of December 31, 1961, and December 30, 1962). In 1963, the AFL held its Eastern Division tiebreaker playoff on Saturday, December 28, 1963, thereby avoiding the NFL championship game that Sunday (the AFL championship game was held on January 5). In 1964, pro football had a championship weekend, with the AFL's title game held on Saturday, December 26, and the NFL championship on Sunday. For 1965, the AFL tried to return to the practice of playing its game on a Sunday during the off-week between the NFL playoff, slating its championship contest for December 26, while the NFL's game was not held until January 2, 1966; unfortunately, the Colts and Packers required a Western Conference tiebreaker on the December 26, date --- and since that game went to overtime, the TV audience for the BillsChargers title game in San Diego was diminished considerably. Even in 1966, the AFL originally scheduled its championship game for the off-week, planning to hold its playoff on Monday, December 26, six days before the NFL title game on January 1.

Negotiations prior to the first Super Bowl, in early December 1966, resulted in the two leagues agreeing to have championship doubleheaders for the next four years, with each holding its title game on the same day but staggered, so that television audiences could view both. Thus the final four AFL championship games were held on the same day as the NFL championship game: January 1, 1967; December 31, 1967; December 29, 1968; and January 4, 1970.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the National Football League include AFL playoffs in their statistics for the NFL playoffs.

1963 Playoffs

A tie in the Eastern Division standings necessitated an Eastern Division playoff game

1963 Championship

The Chargers championship win is noted for being the only and most recent major sports championship won for the city of San Diego. No other city with at least two professional sports teams has a championship drought as long, as of 2013 (50 years). This is also the only time that the Chargers have beaten the Patriots in a postseason game.

1964 Championship

Mike Stratton's hit on San Diego Chargers running back Keith Lincoln set the stage for the Buffalo Bills and their first AFL championship.

1965 Championship

This was the last AFL Championship Game before the Super Bowl era began the following season and the last time a final pro football championship game was played in December. It was also the most recent championship won by a Buffalo-based professional sports team.

1966 Championship

The Bills went into the 1966 AFL Championship having already won the game the previous two years. Though the game was to be played in Buffalo, the visiting Kansas City Chiefs were three-point favorites, mainly because of their explosive and innovative offense led by Head Coach Hank Stram. The Bills were a more conventional team with a solid defensive line and a running mindset on offense.

Kansas City dominated the game from start to finish, forcing four turnovers (without losing any themselves) and outscoring Buffalo 24-0 over the last three quarters.

On the opening kickoff, Fletcher Smith's short kick was fielded by defensive end Dudley Meredith, who promptly fumbled the ball, and KC punter Jerrel Wilson, who also played on the kick coverage team, recovered it for the Chiefs on the Bills 31-yard line. This led to the first score of the game, a 29-yard touchdown pass from Len Dawson to tight end Fred Arbanas . After an exchange of punts, Buffalo tied the game when receiver Elbert Dubenion raced ahead of defensive back Fred Williamson, caught a pass from Jack Kemp at the Chiefs 45, and raced all the way to the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown reception.

Later on, Mike Garrett's 27-yard punt return gave the Chiefs a first down on the Bills 45-yard line. After a few plays, Dawson made a key 15-yard completion to Arbanas on the Buffalo 29. It was the last catch of the day for Arbanas, who ended up leaving the game with a separated shoulder, but it paid off big time as Dawson threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Otis Taylor on the next play, giving the Chiefs a 14-7 second quarter lead. Buffalo responded with a drive deep into Chiefs territory, featuring Kemp's 30-yard completion to rookie receiver Rob Burnett on the Kansas City 12-yard line. But in what turned out to be one of the most crucial plays of the game, Kemp's next pass was intercepted in the end zone by safety Johnny Robinson, who returned it 72 yards to the Bills 28. Mike Mercer eventually cashed in the turnover with a 32-yard field goal that gave the Chiefs a 17-7 halftime lead.

The third quarter was a defensive struggle with each team punting twice. Near the end, Kansas City got the ball on the Bills 42-yard line, but failed to score when Mercer missed a 49-yard field goal attempt.

In the fourth quarter, the Chiefs put the game away with consecutive touchdown drives. First, Dawson's 45-yard completion to Chris Burford gave the team a first down on the Buffalo 4-yard line. Garrett then ran the ball on the next four plays, his last carry a 1-yard touchdown run. Then on the first play of Buffalo's next drive, receiver Glenn Bass lost a fumble that was recovered by Bobby Hunt and returned 21 yards to the Bills 20-yard line, leading to the final score of the game on Garrett's 18-yard touchdown burst. Buffalo could do nothing with their next drive, and on their final one of the day, Kemp was intercepted by Emmitt Thomas.[1][2]

Dawson was near perfect, completing 16/24 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 28 yards. Garrett rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns, caught 4 passes for 16 yards, returned a kickoff for 3 yards, and added another 37 yards on 3 punt returns. Kempt completed just 12/25 passes for 253 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. Burnett caught 6 passes for 127 yards.

1967 Championship

The Oakland Raiders were ten and a half point favorites over the Houston Oilers in the 1967 AFL Championship Game. Quarterback Daryle Lamonica, acquired in a trade from the Buffalo Bills in the offseason, led the Raiders to a 13-1 record, throwing 30 touchdown passes in the process. The Oilers went from last place in the Eastern Conference in 1966 to first in '67, beating out the New York Jets by a game. Most of the Oilers' offense centered on big fullback Hoyle Granger, and a midseason quarterback trade for the shifty Pete Beathard (sending their own starter, Jacky Lee, to the Kansas City Chiefs) proved to be the spark that turned Houston's season around.

The previous meeting between the two teams had been a close game won 19-7 by the Raiders, with Lamonica struggling offensively. This was not the case in the rematch. Oakland took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter on a 69-yard run down the left sidelines by Hewritt Dixon, and on a fake field goal attempt Lamonica passed to Dave Kocourek for the 17-0 halftime margin. Former Oilers quarterback George Blanda, who had led Houston to the AFL's first two championships, kicked four field goals for the Raiders. Houston did not score until the fourth quarter, when they already trailed 30-0.

Oakland lost Super Bowl II to the NFL champion Green Bay Packers.

1968 Playoffs

A tie in the Western Division standings necessitated a Western Division playoff game

1968 Championship

The Jets went on to win Super Bowl III to become the first AFL Super Bowl champion.

1969 Playoffs


Interdivisional Playoffs AFL Championship Game
W2 Kansas City Chiefs 13
E1 New York Jets 6
W2 Kansas City Chiefs 17
W1 Oakland Raiders 7
E2 Houston Oilers 7
W1 Oakland Raiders 56

1969 Championship

This was the final AFL Championship Game, as well as the final game played between two AFL teams before the merger with the National Football League. The Chiefs won Super Bowl IV as the last AFL champion.

AFL Championship Game appearances 1960–1969

Num Team W L Pct
5 Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers 1 4 .200
4 Houston Oilers 2 2 .500
3 Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs 3 0 1.000
3 Buffalo Bills 2 1 .667
3 Oakland Raiders 1 2 .333
1 New York Jets 1 0 1.000
1 Boston Patriots 0 1 .000

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Chicago Tribune - Historical Newspapers".
  • NFL Record and Fact Book (ISBN 1-932994-36-X)
  • Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League (ISBN 0-06-270174-6)

External links

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.

American Football League

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference (which existed between 1944 and 1950 but only played between 1946 and 1949).

This fourth version of the AFL was the most successful, created by a number of owners who had been refused NFL expansion franchises or had minor shares of NFL franchises. The AFL's original lineup consisted of an Eastern division of the New York Titans, Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and the Houston Oilers, and a Western division of the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Dallas Texans. The league first gained attention by signing 75% of the NFL's first-round draft choices in 1960, including Houston's successful signing of college star and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon.

While the first years of the AFL saw uneven competition and low attendance, the league was buttressed by a generous television contract with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) (followed by a contract with the competing National Broadcasting Company (NBC) for games starting with the 1965 season) that broadcast the more offense-oriented football league nationwide. Continuing to attract top talent from colleges and the NFL by the mid-1960s, as well as successful franchise shifts of the Chargers from L.A. south to San Diego and the Texans north to Kansas City (becoming the Kansas City Chiefs), the AFL established a dedicated following. The transformation of the struggling Titans into the New York Jets under new ownership further solidified the league's reputation among the major media.

As fierce competition made player salaries skyrocket in both leagues, especially after a series of "raids", the leagues agreed to a merger in 1966. Among the conditions were a common draft and a championship game played between the two league champions first played in early 1967, which would eventually become known as the Super Bowl.

The AFL and NFL operated as separate leagues until 1970, with separate regular season and playoff schedules except for the championship game. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle also became chief executive of the AFL from July 26, 1966, through the completion of the merger. During this time the AFL expanded, adding the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals. After losses by Kansas City and Oakland in the first two AFL-NFL World Championship Game to the Green Bay Packers (1967/1968), the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowls III and IV (1969/1970) respectively, cementing the league's claim to being an equal to the NFL.

In 1970, the AFL was absorbed into the NFL and the league reorganized with the ten AFL franchises along with the previous NFL teams Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers becoming part of the newly-formed American Football Conference.

Fred Biletnikoff

Frederick S. Biletnikoff (born February 23, 1943) is a former gridiron football player and coach. He was a wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for fourteen seasons and later an assistant coach with the team. He retired as an NFL player after the 1978 season, and then played one additional season in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Montreal Alouettes in 1980. While he lacked the breakaway speed to be a deep-play threat, Biletnikoff was one of the most sure-handed and consistent receivers of his day. He was also known for running smooth, precise pass routes. He is a member of both the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1988) and College Football Hall of Fame (1991).

Biletnikoff attended Florida State University, where he played college football for the Florida State Seminoles football team and earned consensus All-America honors after leading the country in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns as a senior. The Biletnikoff Award, given annually to the most outstanding receiver in NCAA Division I FBS, is named in his honor.

Through his AFL and NFL career, Biletnikoff recorded 589 receptions for 8,974 yards and 76 touchdowns, and had a then-league-record 10 straight seasons of 40 or more receptions. He accomplished these numbers at a time when teams emphasized running over passing. With the Raiders, Biletnikoff played in the second AFL-NFL World Championship game—retroactively known as Super Bowl II—and in Super Bowl XI, in which he was named the game's MVP in a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, he also played two AFL All-Star games, three AFL title games, and five AFC championship games.

Lowlanders Białystok

The Lowlanders Białystok is an American football team based in Białystok, Poland. They play in the Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego.

Super Bowl I

The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, known retroactively as Super Bowl I and referred to in some contemporaneous reports, including the game's radio broadcast, as the Super Bowl, was played on January 15, 1967 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California. The National Football League (NFL) champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs by the score of 35–10.

Coming into this game, considerable animosity existed between the AFL and NFL, thus the teams representing the two rival leagues (Kansas City and Green Bay, respectively) felt pressure to win. The Chiefs posted an 11–2–1 record during the 1966 AFL season, and defeated the Buffalo Bills 31–7, in the AFL Championship Game. The Packers finished the 1966 NFL season at 12–2, and defeated the Dallas Cowboys 34–27 in the NFL Championship Game. Still, many sports writers and fans believed any team in the older NFL was vastly superior to any club in the upstart AFL, and so expected Green Bay would blow out Kansas City.The first half of Super Bowl I was competitive, as the Chiefs outgained the Packers in total yards, 181–164, to come within 14–10 at halftime. Early in the 3rd quarter, Green Bay safety Willie Wood intercepted a pass and returned it 50 yards to the 5-yard line. The turnover sparked the Packers to score 21 unanswered points in the second half. Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr, who completed 16 of 23 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with 1 interception, was named MVP.

It remains the only Super Bowl to have been simulcast in the United States by two networks. NBC had the rights to nationally televise AFL games, while CBS held the rights to broadcast NFL games; both networks were allowed to televise the game. The 1st Super Bowl's entertainment consisted of college marching bands from the University of Arizona and Grambling State University, instead of featuring popular singers and musicians as in later Super Bowls.

Super Bowl II

The second AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional football, known retroactively as Super Bowl II, was played on January 14, 1968, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. The National Football League (NFL)'s defending champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American Football League (AFL) champion Oakland Raiders by the score of 33–14. This game and Super Bowl III are the only two Super Bowl games to be played in back-to-back years in the same stadium.

Coming into this game, like during the first Super Bowl, many sports writers and fans believed that any team in the NFL was vastly superior to any club in the AFL. The Packers, the defending champions, posted a 9–4–1 record during the 1967 NFL season before defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 21–17, in the 1967 NFL Championship Game (also popularly known as the Ice Bowl). The Raiders finished the 1967 AFL season at 13–1, and defeated the Houston Oilers, 40–7, in the 1967 AFL Championship Game.

As expected, Green Bay dominated Oakland throughout most of Super Bowl II. The Raiders could only score two touchdown passes from quarterback Daryle Lamonica. Meanwhile, Packers kicker Don Chandler made four field goals, including three in the first half, while defensive back Herb Adderley had a 60-yard interception return for a touchdown. Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr was named the MVP for the second straight time, becoming the first back-to-back Super Bowl MVP for his 13 of 24 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown.

Super Bowl IV

Super Bowl IV, the fourth and final AFL-NFL World Championship Game in professional American football, was played on January 11, 1970, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana. The American Football League (AFL) champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Minnesota Vikings by the score of 23–7. This victory by the AFL squared the Super Bowl series with the NFL at two games apiece. The two leagues merged into one after the game.

Despite the AFL's New York Jets winning the previous season's Super Bowl, many sports writers and fans thought it was a fluke and continued to believe that the NFL was still superior to the AFL, and thus fully expected the Vikings to defeat the Chiefs; the Vikings entered the Super Bowl as 12.5 to 13-point favorites. Minnesota posted a 12–2 record during the 1969 NFL season before defeating the Cleveland Browns, 27–7, in the 1969 NFL Championship Game. The Chiefs, who previously appeared in the first Super Bowl, finished the 1969 AFL season at 11–3, and defeated the Oakland Raiders, 17–7, in the 1969 AFL Championship Game.

Under wet conditions, the Chiefs defense dominated Super Bowl IV by limiting the Minnesota offense to only 67 rushing yards, forcing three interceptions, and recovering two fumbles. Kansas City's Len Dawson became the fourth consecutive winning quarterback to be named Super Bowl MVP. He completed 12 of 17 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown, with one interception. Dawson also recorded three rushing attempts for 11 yards.

Super Bowl IV is also notable for NFL Films miking up the Chiefs' Hank Stram during the game, the first time that a head coach had worn a microphone during a Super Bowl.

Game information
  • LA – Field goal Agajanian 38 LA 3-0
  • LA – Field goal Agajanian 22 LA 6-0
  • HOU – Smith 17 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick) HOU 7-6
  • HOU – Field goal Blanda 18 HOU 10-6
  • LA – Field goal Agajanian 27 HOU 10-9
  • HOU – Groman 7 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick) HOU 17-9
  • LA – Lowe 2 run (Agajanian kick) HOU 17-16
  • HOU – Cannon 88 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick) HOU 24-16
Game information
  • HOU – Field goal Blanda 46
  • HOU – Cannon 35 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick)
  • SD – Field goal Blair 12
Game information
  • DAL – Field goal Brooker 16
  • DAL – Haynes 28 pass from Dawson (Brooker kick)
  • DAL – Haynes 2 run (Brooker kick)
  • HOU – Dewveall 15 pass from Blanda (Blanda kick)
  • HOU – Field goal Blanda 31
  • HOU – Tolar 1 run (Blanda kick)
  • DAL – Field goal Brooker 25
Game information
  • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 28
  • BOS – Garron 59 pass from Parilli (Cappelletti kick)
  • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 12
  • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 33
  • BUF – Dubenion 93 pass from Lamonica (Tracey pass from Lamonica)
  • BOS – Garron 17 pass from Parilli (Cappelletti kick)
  • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 36
Game information
  • SD – Rote 2 run (Blair kick)
  • SD – Lincoln 67 run (Blair kick)
  • BOS – Garron 7 run (Cappelletti kick)
  • SD – Lowe 58 run (Blair kick)
  • SD – Field goal Blair 11
  • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 15
  • SD – Norton 14 pass from Rote (Blair kick)
  • SD – Alworth 48 pass from Rote (Blair kick)
  • SD – Lincoln 25 pass from Hadl (Pass failed)
  • SD – Hadl 1 run (Blair kick)
Game information
  • SD – Kocourek 26 pass from Rote (Lincoln kick)
  • BUF – Field goal Gogolak 12
  • BUF – Carlton 4 run (Gogolak kick)
  • BUF – Field goal Gogolak 17
  • BUF – Kemp 1 run (Gogolak kick)
Game information
  • BUF – Warlick 18 pass from Kemp (Gogolak kick)
  • BUF – Byrd 74 punt return (Gogolak kick)
  • BUF – Field goal Gogolak 11
  • BUF – Field goal Gogolak 39
  • BUF – Field goal Gogolak 32
Game information
  • KC – Arbanas 29 pass from Dawson (Mercer kick)
  • BUF – Dubenion 69 pass from Kemp (Lusteg kick)
  • KC – Taylor 29 pass from Dawson (Mercer kick)
  • KC – Field goal Mercer 32
  • KC – Garrett 1 run (Mercer kick)
  • KC – Garrett 18 run (Mercer kick)
Game information
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 37
  • OAK – Dixon 69 run (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Kocourek 17 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Lamonica 1 run (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 40
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 42
  • HOU – Frazier 5 pass from Beathard (Wittenborn kick)
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 36
  • OAK – Miller 12 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
Game information
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 24 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Wells 23 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 44 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • KC – Field goal Stenerud 10
  • KC – Field goal Stenerud 8
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 54 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Wells 35 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 41
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 40
Game information
  • NY – Maynard 14 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
  • NY – Field goal Turner 33
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 29 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • NY – Field goal Turner 36
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 26
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 9
  • NY – Lammons 20 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
  • OAK – Field goal Blanda 20
  • OAK – Banaszak 4 run (Blanda kick)
  • NY – Maynard 6 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
Game information
  • NY – Field goal Turner 27
  • KC – Field goal Stenerud 23
  • KC – Field goal Stenerud 25
  • NY – Field goal Turner 7
  • KC – Richardson 19 pass from Dawson (Stenerud kick)
Game information
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 13 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Atkinson 57 interception return (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Sherman 24 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Biletnikoff 31 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Smith 60 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Sherman 23 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • OAK – Cannon 3 pass from Lamonica (Blanda kick)
  • HOU – Reed 8 pass from Beathard (Gerela kick)
  • OAK – Hubbard 4 run (Blanda kick)
Game information
  • OAK – Smith 3 run (Blanda kick)
  • KC – Hayes 1 run (Stenerud kick)
  • KC – Holmes 5 run (Stenerud kick)
  • KC – Field goal Stenerud 22
Eastern Division
Western Division
NFL Championship Game
AFL Championship Game
AFL-NFL World Championship Games[1]
Super Bowl[2]

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