Lance Alworth
No. 19     
Wide receiver
Personal information
Date of birth: (1940-08-03) August 3, 1940 (age 79)
Place of birth: Houston, Texas
Height: 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) Weight: 184 lb (83 kg)
Career information
College: Arkansas
NFL Draft: 1962 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8
AFL Draft: 1962 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9
Debuted in 1962 for the San Diego Chargers
Last played in 1972 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 1972
Receptions     542
Receiving yards     10,266
Touchdowns     85
Stats at
Pro Football Hall of Fame
College Football Hall of Fame

Lance Dwight Alworth (born August 3, 1940) is a former American football wide receiver. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He retired as a player after the 1972 season.

Early lifeEdit

Born in Houston, Alworth was raised in Brookhaven, Mississippi, where he played football at Brookhaven High School before attending the University of Arkansas.[1][2] While in high school, he earned fifteen letters.[2] Alworth's sister Ann was fast enough in the 50 and 75-yard dash in track to be invited to the Olympic Games trials, though she declined the invitation.[2] After high school, Alworth was offered contracts by New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.[2] At Arkansas, the six-foot (1.83 m), 180-pound (82 kg) Alworth was a flanker[2] who led all colleges in punt return yardage in 1960 and 1961. He also was a track star, running the 100 and 200-yard dashes (in 10.6 seconds and 21.2 seconds, respectively) and long jump.[2] Alworth was a three-time Academic All-American, graduating with a degree in marketing as a pre-law student.[2] In 1962, Alworth was on multiple All-American teams: Look magazine, Associated Press, United Press International and Coaches.[2] 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.

San Diego ChargersEdit

He was taken 8th overall in the first round of the 1962 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. The American Football League's Oakland Raiders drafted him as their first pick (ninth overall) in the second round of the 1962 AFL draft, and then traded his rights to the San Diego Chargers in return for halfback Bo Roberson, quarterback Hunter Enis, and offensive tackle Gene Selawski.[3] Alworth opted to sign with the Chargers instead of the 49ers. The Chargers moved Alworth to wide receiver. His slender build, speed, grace, and leaping ability earned him the nickname "Bambi."

Alworth was an AFL Western Division All-Star in seven consecutive seasons, from 1963 through 1969, and was an AFL All-League flanker the same seven seasons, selected by his peers from 1963-1966, and by newspaper wire services from 1967-1964. Alworth was the UPI's 1969 AFL Most Valuable Player and is a member of the AFL All-Time Team. He scored on a 48-yard touchdown pass in the Chargers' 1963 AFL Championship Game victory over the Boston Patriots. In Alworth's 8 AFL seasons, he led the league in receiving yards and receptions three times. He also set a Chargers record with 83 touchdowns.

He held records for the most consecutive games with a reception (96), most seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards (7) and still holds the record for the most games with 200+ yards receiving (5) and was the only receiver to average more than 100 yards a game in three consecutive seasons (1964–1966). He remains the fastest player in AFL/NFL history to reach 4,000 (42 GP), 5,000 (52 GP), 6,000 (62 GP), 7,000 (73 GP), 8,000 (83 GP) and 9,000 (97 GP) receiving yards in his career. 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 was one of the few American Football League stars to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated (SI), which like other media of the 1960s, showed a distinct bias for the NFL. SI even went so far in 1969 as to declare Alworth "Pro Football's Top Receiver", this, a year before the AFL-NFL merger, and two years before the Common Draft, before which many claimed the AFL had inferior players.

Trade to Dallas CowboysEdit

On May 19, 1971, Alworth was traded to the Dallas Cowboys, for his final two seasons. In exchange, the Chargers received Tony Liscio, Pettis Norman, and Ron East.[4]

In Super Bowl VI, he caught a touchdown pass for the Cowboys in a 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.


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.[5] 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 1988, he was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.

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.

See alsoEdit


  1. "Lance "Bambi" Alworth". National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Eiland, William U (2002) [1992]. Dawson, Dawn P. ed. Great Athletes. 1 (Revised ed.). Salem Press. pp. 52–54. ISBN 1-58765-008-8.
  3. Sinn, Donn (December 28, 2002). "More Did You Know". San Francisco Forty Niners. Archived from the original on May 28, 2009. Retrieved May 28, 2009.
  4. Buck, Ray (February 29, 2008). "Trading wasn't always so difficult in the NFL". Star-Telegram. Retrieved 2011-12-03.
  5. Scholfield, Steve (July 14, 2005). "Chargers to honor AFL icon Alworth". North County Times. Archived from the original on May 12, 2012.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Len Dawson & Cookie Gilchrist
American Football League MVP
with Clem Daniels
Tobin Rote
Succeeded by
Gino Cappelletti

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