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1960 American Football League Championship Game

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1960 American Football League Championship Game
1234 Total
LAC 6370 16
HOU 01077 24
DateJanuary 1, 1961
StadiumJeppesen Stadium, Houston, Texas
RefereeJohn McDonough
TV in the United States
AnnouncersJack Buck, George Ratterman,
and Les Keiter[1]
Houston is located in the United States
Location in the United States

The 1960 American Football League Championship Game was the first AFL title game, played on New Year's Day 1961 at Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, Texas.[2][3][4][5][6] With New Year's on Sunday, the major college bowl games were played on Monday, January 2.[7] This was the first time that a major professional football league's playoff game was played in January rather than December.

The game matched the Eastern Division champion, the Houston Oilers (10–4), against the Western Division champion, the Los Angeles Chargers (10–4), in the first Championship Game of the new American Football League. The host Oilers were favored by 6-6½ points.[8][9][2]

The AFL established a format in which Championship Games would be alternated each year between the Western Division winners and the Eastern Division, and while the first game was originally scheduled to be played in the 103,000 capacity Los Angeles Coliseum, the Chargers had drawn less than 10,000 fans per home game.

With the league fearing the prospect that ABC would pull its contract because of very poor ticket sales, the Chargers, the Oilers and the League mutally agreed to move the game [10] to the smaller Jeppesen Stadium in Houston, where it drew a near-capacity 32,183. It rained for five days straight prior to the game.[2]

Oilers quarterback George Blanda, who had retired after ten seasons in the NFL and had not played in 1959, threw three touchdown passes, and kicked a field goal and three extra points to lead Houston to the AFL Championship by a score of 24–16.[3]

Game summary

The Chargers led 6–0 in the first quarter on two field goals by Ben Agajanian, one of only two players (Hardy Brown) who played in the AAFC, the NFL and the AFL. In the second period, Houston scored on a 17-yard George Blanda pass to All-AFL fullback Dave Smith, then answered a 27-yard Agajanian field goal with a 17-yard kick by Blanda.

In the final quarter, Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon caught a short toss from Blanda and went for an 88-yard touchdown scamper. The Chargers, down by eight points, tried to reach the end zone on their final possession. Had they scored they could have gone for the two-point conversion, but the clock ran out with the Chargers at the Oilers' 22-yard line. The Oilers won the first American Football League championship, 24–16.[4][5][6]

Box score

1 2 34Total
Chargers 6 3 7016
Oilers 0 10 7724

at Jeppesen Stadium, Houston, Texas

Game information
  • First quarter
    • LAC – Ben Agajanian 38-yard FG, LAC 3–0
    • LAC – Agajanian 22-yard FG, LAC 6–0
  • Second quarter
    • HOU – Dave Smith 17-yard pass from George Blanda (Blanda kick), HOU 7–6
    • LAC – Agajanian 27-yard FG, LAC 9–7
    • HOU – Blanda 17-yard FG, HOU 10–9
  • Third quarter
    • HOU – Bill Groman 7-yard pass from Blanda (Blanda kick), HOU 17–9
    • LAC – Paul Lowe 2-yard run (Agajanian kick), HOU 17–16
  • Fourth quarter
    • HOU – Billy Cannon 88-yard pass from Blanda (Blanda kick), HOU 24–16

See also


  1. ^ a b 1960 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Houston faces Los Angeles in title battle". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. January 1, 1961. p. 6, part 2.
  3. ^ a b "Oilers rally to win AFL title, 24 to 16". Chicago Daily Tribune. Associated Press. January 2, 1961. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ a b "Blanda paces Oilers to AFL title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 2, 1961. p. 44.
  5. ^ a b "Oilers beat Chargers, 24-16, for AFL title". Reading Eagle. (Pennsylvania). UPI. January 2, 1961. p. 24.
  6. ^ a b "A big pass wins in a new league". Sports Illustrated. January 9, 1961. p. 42.
  7. ^ Smith, Wilfrid (January 2, 1961). "329,000 to attend 4 bowl games today". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. 1, part 6.
  8. ^ "Oilers tangle with Chargers for AFL title". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). Associated Press. January 1, 1961. p. 9.
  9. ^ "Houston, Los Angeles play for AFL title". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. January 1, 1961. p. 2, section 2.
  10. ^ "LA Times 1985-09-17 P46 Chargers History -". Retrieved April 13, 2018.

Preceded by
League's first season was 1960
Houston Oilers
American Football League Champions

Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 22 June 2022, at 19:32
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