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.
|No. 24, 19|
|Born:||August 3, 1940|
|Height:||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Weight:||184 lb (83 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8|
|AFL draft:||1962 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at PFR|
Born in Houston, Texas, Alworth was raised in Hog Chain, Mississippi. He played football at Brookhaven High School before attending the University of Arkansas. While in high school, he earned 15 letters. 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. After high school, Alworth was offered contracts by the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At Arkansas, the six-foot (1.83 m), 180-pound (82 kg) Alworth was a flanker who led all colleges in punt return yardage in 1960 and 1961. He also was a track star, running the 100 and 220-yard dashes (in 9.6 seconds and 21.2 seconds, respectively) and long jump. Alworth was a three-time Academic All-American, graduating with a degree in marketing as a pre-law student. In 1962, Alworth was on multiple All-American teams: Look magazine, Associated Press, United Press International and Coaches. 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.
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. Alworth opted to sign with the Chargers instead of the 49ers. The Chargers kept Alworth at flanker. His slender build, speed, grace, and leaping ability earned him the nickname "Bambi".
In his rookie season, Alworth had just 10 receptions in 4 games (though three were for touchdowns). His second year was a different story, as he set franchise records in receptions (61), yards (1,205), and touchdowns (11), earning the UPI's AFL Most Valuable Player award. He had 4 receptions for 77 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, in San Diego's AFL championship win over the Boston Patriots. He was selected as an AFL Western Division All-Star for the first of seven consecutive seasons, as well as an AFL All-League flanker for the first of six seasons, selected by his peers from 1963 to 1966, and by newspaper wire services from 1967 to 1968.
Over the next six seasons (1964-69), Alworth broke his own franchise receiving records several times, and also led the league in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and total touchdowns three times each. He shattered the record for most consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards (7, previously 3, now held by Jerry Rice with 11), and was the first player with back-to-back seasons averaging 100+ receiving yards per game, both of which led the league. The 1966 season was particularly noteworthy, because he led the league in five categories. He still shares the record for the most regular season games with 200+ yards receiving (5), and had a franchise-record streak of 96 consecutive games with a reception. 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 is a member of the AFL All-Time Team. He was the first of only a few American Football League stars to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, 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 claimed the AFL had inferior players. 1970 saw a sharp decline in Alworth's productivity (35 catches for 608 yards), and he was traded to Dallas at the end of the season. See below for his numerous franchise records with the Chargers.
In Super Bowl VI following the 1971 season, he scored the game's first touchdown, which was a 7-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in the Cowboys' 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins. 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.
|League leader||* = Pro-bowl||+ = All-Pro team|
|Receiving||Rushing||Punt returns||Kickoff returns|
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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. 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. 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 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.
The 1960 Arkansas Razorbacks football team represented the University of Arkansas in the Southwest Conference (SWC) during the 1960 NCAA University Division football season. In their third year under head coach Frank Broyles, the Razorbacks compiled an 8–3 record (6–1 against SWC opponents), won the SWC championship, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 185 to 87. The Razorbacks' only losses during the regular season came against Baylor by a 28–14 score and to Mississippi by a 10–7 score. The team was ranked #7 in both the final AP Poll and the final UPI Coaches Poll and went on to lose to Duke in the 1960 Cotton Bowl Classic by a 23–14 score.Lineman Wayne Harris was selected by the Football Writers Association of America as a first-team player on the 1960 All-America Team. He was also honored as a second-team player by the UPI. Halfback Lance Alworth was recognized as a third-team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association.1961 Arkansas Razorbacks football team
The 1961 Arkansas Razorbacks football team represented the University of Arkansas in the Southwest Conference (SWC) during the 1961 college football season. In their fourth year under head coach Frank Broyles, the Razorbacks compiled an 8–3 record (6–1 against SWC opponents), finished in a tie with Texas for the SWC championship, and outscored all opponents by a combined total of 183 to 97. The Razorbacks' only losses during the regular season came against Mississippi by a 16–0 score and to Texas by a 33–7 score. The team was ranked #9 in the final AP Poll and #8 in the final UPI Coaches Poll and went on to lose to the undefeated national champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the 1962 Sugar Bowl by a 10–3 score.Arkansas halfback Lance Alworth was selected by the Football Writers Association of America as a first-team player on the 1961 College Football All-America Team. He was also honored as a second-team All-American by the Associated Press and United Press International. Alworth was later inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame and Pro Football Hall of Fame.1961 Cotton Bowl Classic
The 1961 Cotton Bowl Classic was a post-season college football bowl game between the Southwest Conference champion Arkansas Razorbacks and the champions of the ACC, the Duke Blue Devils. Duke defeated Arkansas, 7–6, in front of 70,500 spectators.1962 NFL Draft
The 1962 National Football League draft was held on December 4, 1961 at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, Illinois.1962 San Francisco 49ers season
The 1962 San Francisco 49ers season was the team's 13th year with the National Football League. The 49ers went 6–8 that season, finishing in fifth place in the NFL Western Conference. With their first round draft pick, the 49ers drafted Lance Alworth but he opted for the San Diego Chargers of the rival American Football League.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 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 2016, 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.1964 American Football League Championship Game
The 1964 American Football League Championship Game was the American Football League's fifth championship game, played at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, December 26.The Buffalo Bills (12–2) of the Eastern Division hosted the defending AFL champion San Diego Chargers (8–5–1) of the Western Division. The two had met twice in the regular season and the Bills won both, most recently by three points in San Diego a month earlier on Thanksgiving Day. Hall of fame wide receiver Lance Alworth of the Chargers was injured in the final regular season game (left knee hyperextension) and did not play. The Chargers had lost three of their last four games to end the regular season, and the Bills were slight favorites to win the title at home; with Alworth out they became strong favorites.AFL and NFL era competitive college drafts
During the first seven years of existence (1960–1966) of the American Football League (AFL, 1960–1969), the AFL and the NFL held separate, competing drafts for college football talent.
These drafts were conducted differently in each league, with the AFL, as a new league, starting its existence with the 1960 AFL draft that was actually held in December, 1959 and had 33 rounds. Each AFL team had "territorial rights" to players from its general region for a "bonus" draft selection, so that teams could sign players who were known to their fans. These were not "picked" as such, but agreed on by consensus. The 1960 AFL draft proceeded with teams selecting by lot and player position, e.g., each team selected quarterbacks from the available list, then running backs, etc. These were not listed in order of selection, but alphabetically in two groups called "First Selections" and "Second Selections" by each team. Minneapolis-Saint Paul was originally included in the AFL draft on November 22, 1959. When the Minneapolis-Saint Paul owners reneged on their agreement to join the AFL and jumped to the NFL, some of the remaining AFL teams signed several players from the deserters' draft list. To compensate for this, after the Oakland Raiders' AFL franchise was granted, an allocation draft was held, to permit the Raiders to stock their team with players from the other seven AFL teams.
The established NFL held drafts more similar to the present day, in which the team with the worst record from the previous year selected first, and the reigning league champion selected last. Starting in 1961, the AFL also followed this procedure.
Because of the competition between the leagues, unlike today's drafts, they were held soon after the end of the football season in each league, often before the college bowls were over. Many players, such as LSU's Billy Cannon signed pro contracts "under the goalposts" at bowl games; and in the College East-West Game and other all-star college bowls, many players wore the helmets of the professional team that they had signed with.
The AFL was at a disadvantage in name-recognition with the established NFL, but contrary to common belief, during this period, its franchises signed a significant number of stars away from the older league. These included Cannon, as well as eventual Hall of Famers Lance Alworth, Buck Buchanan, Jim Otto, Billy Shaw, and Nick Buoniconti, and such standouts as Matt Snell, Tom Sestak, Charley Hennigan, Abner Haynes, Johnny Robinson and many others.American Football League draft
The American Football League (AFL, 1960–1969) stocked its teams in two ways:
Signing free agents (players whose contracts in other professional football leagues had expired, or who had no professional experience).
Signing players from the previous year's college graduates.The latter option involved a "draft" in which each team selected players who then were not available for other teams to select. The draft for the 1960 season was actually conducted in late 1959, shortly after the formation of the league. Thereafter, American Football League drafts were conducted separately from the rival NFL through 1966. Starting in 1967, after the NFL agreed to merge with the AFL, the two leagues conducted a "common draft".
In 1961 and 1962, the American Football League drafts were "regional". Teams were assigned broad geographical regions around their home city, and had "rights" to the players within those regions. The AFL's owners reckoned that players would be more willing to play in their league if they had the opportunity to sign with their "home town" teams, and also hoped to attract fans with players with whom they had some familiarity. The AFL also tapped sources which the NFL had disdained: small colleges and all-black colleges.
During the years in which the American Football League was in direct competition with the NFL for players (and fans), numerous star players chose to play in the AFL. The first and one of the most prominent of these was LSU All-American Billy Cannon, who went on to become an AFL All-Star both as a running back with the Houston Oilers and as a tight end with the Oakland Raiders. Other greats signed by the AFL in the years before the common draft included Abner Haynes and Johnny Robinson (Dallas Texans); Jim Otto (Oakland Raiders); Lance Alworth, John Hadl, and Ron Mix (San Diego Chargers), Lionel Taylor (Denver Broncos); Billy Shaw (Buffalo Bills); Larry Grantham (New York Titans); Matt Snell and Joe Namath (New York Jets); Nick Buoniconti (Boston Patriots) and a host of others.Art Graham
Arthur William Graham III (born July 31, 1941) is a former American football player. He played professionally as a wide receiver in the American Football League (AFL) for six seasons with the Boston Patriots. He was named Patriots player of the year in 1963 after averaging 26.2 yards per catch and scoring five touchdowns. Drafted by both the Patriots and the Cleveland Browns, the Patriots offered him $10,000 to play for them. He played college football at Boston College.
His father Art (Skinny) Graham II was an outfielder for 21 games for the Boston Red Sox during the 1934-35 seasons.
Art Graham III averaged 26.1 yards per reception during his rookie season with the Boston Patriots. Art had a career best 167 yards receiving in the Patriots thrilling 25-24 last second victory over the Houston Oilers @ Fenway Park on 11-06-64.
He caught an 80-yard touchdowns pass from Babe Parilli in the Patriots 34-17 win over the Houston Oilers on 11-29-64. Art made a game saving tackles on a long punt return by Hoot Gibson in the Patriots 17-14 win over the Oakland Raiders on 09-13-64. Art also made a game saving tackle on a long punt return by Lance Alworth in the Patriots 33-28 win over the San Diego Chargers on 09-20-64.
Art held the Patriots Team Record for the most receptions in a game for 33 years. He had 11 receptions for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Patriots 27-27 tie with the Kansas City Chiefs on 11-20-66. He caught a 22-yard touchdown pass, even though he was only wearing one shoe, in the Patriots 20-14 win over the Miami Dolphins on 11-27-66. (It would take another 20 years before the Patriots would win another game played in Miami Florida)
Graham is a member of the Patriots' All-1960s (AFL) team.Billy Parks
William James "Billy" Parks (January 1, 1948 – July 22, 2009) was an American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys, and Houston Oilers. He played college football at Long Beach State University.Booker Edgerson
Booker Tyrone Edgerson (born July 5, 1939) is a former American football player. This graduate of Western Illinois University was a cornerstone of the American Football League Buffalo Bills' defense in the mid-1960s, at left cornerback.
A four-year letterman (football, baseball, wrestling, track & field); in 1959 and 1960, he led the WIU football team to the only consecutive undefeated seasons in school history, and is in the WIU Hall of Fame.
Booker was born in Baxter County, Arkansas. He signed as a free agent with the Bills in 1962 and stepped into a starting role at left cornerback. He made a career-high six interceptions (including two in his first game, against Hall of Famer George Blanda), and was named to the AFL All-Rookie team.
Edgerson's college background as a sprinter and long jumper served him well in the demanding role of man-to-man pass coverage. The AFL featured many dangerous receivers at that time including San Diego's Lance Alworth. But Edgerson became one of the key components of the league's best defense, and he was the only man ever to catch Alworth from behind in a game.
Edgerson appeared in playoffs four consecutive years, and in three straight AFL Championship games. The Bills beat the San Diego Chargers in 1964 and again in 1965, when Edgerson was selected as an American Football League All-Star.
Edgerson had 23 interceptions in his eight-year career in Buffalo, and scored on two, including one against Joe Namath. He also forced and returned a fumble for the deciding score in a 1969 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, played in blizzard conditions.
Edgerson retired to Buffalo, where he has been involved in numerous charitable endeavors through the Bills Alumni, and was the 1993 recipient of the Ralph C. Wilson Award. He is a member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Edgerson was selected to be the 2010 Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame inductee where his name was revealed during a halftime ceremony on October 3 during the Bills game against AFC rival New York Jets.
Edgerson wrote the foreword to The Cookie That Did Not Crumble, the autobiography of his former teammate, Cookie Gilchrist.History of the San Diego Chargers
The professional American football team now known as the Los Angeles Chargers previously played in San Diego, California as the San Diego Chargers from 1961 to 2017 before relocating back to Los Angeles where the team played their inaugural 1960. The Chargers franchise relocated from Los Angeles to San Diego in 1961. The Chargers' first home game in San Diego was at Balboa Stadium against the Oakland Raiders on September 17, 1961. Their last game as a San Diego-based club was played at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on January 1, 2017 against the Kansas City Chiefs, who defeated the host Chargers, 30–13.List of National Football League annual receiving yards leaders
In American football, passing, along with running (also referred to as rushing), is one of the two main methods of advancing the ball down the field. Passes are typically attempted by the quarterback, but any offensive player can attempt a pass provided they are behind the line of scrimmage. To qualify as a passing play, the ball must have initially moved forward after leaving the hands of the passer; if the ball initially moved laterally or backwards, the play would instead be considered a running play. A player who catches a forward pass is a receiver, and the number of receiving yards each player has recorded in each season is a recorded stat in football games. In addition to the overall National Football League (NFL) receiving champion, league record books recognize statistics from the American Football League (AFL), which operated from 1960 to 1969 before being absorbed into the NFL in 1970, Although league record books do not recognize stats from the All-America Football Conference, another league that merged with the NFL, these statistics are recognized by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The NFL did not begin keeping official records until the 1932 season. The average the yards the leader has gained has increased over time – since the adoption of the 14-game season in 1961, all but one season saw the receiving leader record over 1,000 yards. No player has ever finished with over 2,000 receiving yards in a season; the current record is 1,964 yards, set by Calvin Johnson during the 2012 season. Wes Chandler, who led the league with 1,032 yards in the strike-shortened 1982 season, averaged 129 yards receiving per game, an NFL record.Don Hutson led the league in receiving yards seven times, the most of any player; Jerry Rice is second with six. Hutson also recorded the most consecutive seasons leading the league in receiving, doing so for five seasons from 1941 to 1945, while Jerry Rice ranks second with three consecutive league-leading seasons from 1993 to 1995. A Green Bay Packers player has led the league in receiving yards eleven times, the most in the NFL; the Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams rank second with nine league-leading seasons. The most recent receiving yards leader was Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, who recorded 1,677 receiving yards over the 2018 season.List of San Francisco 49ers first-round draft picks
The San Francisco 49ers entered professional football in 1946 as a member of the All-America Football Conference. The team joined the NFL along with the Cleveland Browns and the original Baltimore Colts in 1950. The 49ers' first draft selection in the NFL was Leo Nomellini, a defensive tackle from the University of Minnesota; the team's most recent pick was Mike McGlinchey, an offensive tackle from Notre Dame at number 9.
Every year during April, each NFL franchise seeks to add new players to its roster through a collegiate draft known as "the NFL Annual Player Selection Meeting", which is more commonly known as the NFL Draft. Teams are ranked in inverse order based on the previous season's record, with the worst record picking first, and the second worst picking second and so on. The two exceptions to this order are made for teams that appeared in the previous Super Bowl; the Super Bowl champion always picks 32nd, and the Super Bowl loser always picks 31st. Teams have the option of trading away their picks to other teams for different picks, players, cash, or a combination thereof. Thus, it is not uncommon for a team's actual draft pick to differ from their assigned draft pick, or for a team to have extra or no draft picks in any round due to these trades.
The 49ers have selected the No. 1 overall pick three times: Harry Babcock in 1953, Dave Parks in 1964, and most recently, Alex Smith in 2005. In its first three years as an NFL team, the 49ers picked three consecutive future Hall of Famers in the first round: Leo Nomellini, Y. A. Tittle, and Hugh McElhenny; since then, the team has picked four more future Hall of Famers in the first round (Jimmy Johnson, Lance Alworth, Ronnie Lott and Jerry Rice), making it seven in total. However, Lance Alworth elected to sign with the San Diego Chargers of the American Football League instead of the 49ers of the NFL, and never played for San Francisco.Sports-related curses
A sports-related curse is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a "curse" for many negative things, such as their inability to win a sports championship, or unexpected injuries.Super Bowl VI
Super Bowl VI was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Miami Dolphins to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1971 season. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins by the score of 24–3, to win their first Super Bowl. The game was played on January 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana, the second time the Super Bowl was played in that city. Despite the southerly location, it was unseasonably cold at the time, with the kickoff air temperature of 39 °F (4 °C) making this the coldest Super Bowl ever played.Dallas, in its second Super Bowl appearance, entered the game with a reputation of not being able to win big playoff games such as Super Bowl V and the 1966 and 1967 NFL Championship Games prior to the 1970 AFL–NFL merger. They posted an 11–3 record during the 1971 regular season before defeating the Minnesota Vikings and the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. The Dolphins were making their first Super Bowl appearance after building a 10–3–1 regular season record, including eight consecutive wins, and posting postseason victories over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Colts.
The Cowboys dominated Super Bowl VI, setting Super Bowl records for the most rushing yards (252), the most first downs (23), and the fewest points allowed (3). For the next 47 years, they would be the only team ever to prevent their opponent from scoring a touchdown in the Super Bowl, a feat matched by the 2018 New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. The game was close in the first half, with the Cowboys only leading 10–3 at halftime. But Dallas opened the third quarter with a 71-yard, 8-play touchdown drive, and then Dallas linebacker Chuck Howley's 41-yard interception return in the fourth quarter set up another score. Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach, who completed 12 out of 18 passes for 119 yards, threw 2 touchdown passes, and rushed 5 times for 18 yards, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player.
This was the last Super Bowl to be blacked out in the TV market in which the game was played. Under the NFL's unconditional blackout rules at the time, the Super Bowl could not be broadcast locally even if the local team did not advance to the Super Bowl, and it was a sellout. The following year, the league changed their rules to allow games to be broadcast in the local market if sold out 72 hours in advance. It was the last Super Bowl played with the hashmarks (also called the inbound lines) set at 40 feet apart (20 yards from the sidelines, and the last NFL game overall); the next season, they were brought in to 181⁄2 feet, the width of the goalposts, where they remain.