|1962 American Football League Championship Game|
|Date||December 23, 1962|
|TV/Radio in the United States|
|TV Announcers||Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman and Jack Buck|
The day saw the Eastern Division's 11-3 Houston Oilers in the title game for their third straight year, against the West's Dallas Texans, also at 11-3. The two teams were the class of the league that year, with the Texans thumping the Oilers at Houston 31-7 on October 28, and the Oilers returning the favor a week later, beating Dallas 14-6 at the Cotton Bowl.
Dallas, coached by the erudite Hank Stram featured on offense Abner Haynes, Len Dawson and rookie running back Curtis McClinton, a powerful 230 lb former All-American running back at Kansas. The defense would showcase Johnny Robinson and EJ Holub.
Houston, coached by Frank "Pop" Ivy featured a host of offensive talent with veteran George Blanda, Charlie Tolar, the fleet-footed but ill-fated4 Billy Cannon, Charley 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
It was at the time the longest game in the history of professional American football, and remains the longest professional championship game (and the second-longest professional game of any kind) 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 cooly 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 calmly 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 Oliers had come within a hair's breadth of winning the first three American Football League championships, but the Texans prevailed, 20-17, in their last game before the team became the Kansas City Chiefs.
- First Quarter
- Dal-Tommy Brooker 16-yd FG
- Second Quarter
- Third Quarter
- Fourth Quarter
- First Overtime
- No scoring
- Second Overtime
- Dal-Brooker 25-yd FG
1. The Football Encyclopedia, St Martin's Press, New York, NY, ISBN 0-312-05089-5, p. 357 2.http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1962_AFL/games.htm 3. Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman or Jack Buck during ABC's original game broadcast 4. http://www.secsportsfan.com/billy-cannon-biography.html, retrieved April 20, 2010
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American Football League Champions
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