(Photos courtesy of the San Diego Chargers)
Talk of Fame Network
Lance Alworth was more than one of pro football’s greatest wide receivers. He was a Super Bowl champion, scoring the first touchdown of Super Bowl VI in Dallas’ 24-3 defeat of Miami.
The Cowboys were the best pro football had to offer then. But, according to Alworth, they weren’t the best club he played on. The 1963 San Diego Chargers were, and if you don’t remember them maybe this helps: They walloped the then-Boston Patriots 51-10 in that year’s AFL championship game.
“Honestly,” Alworth told The Talk of Fame Network on its latest broadcast, “the best team I played on was the ‘63 Chargers. They had a great offense – with Paul Lowe, Keith Lincoln, some great linemen with Ron Mix – and we had great defenses, with probably two of the biggest guys in the league at that time (Ernie Ladd and Earl Faison) … not only big but very active. It was the best team I played on.”
Earlier in the broadcast, former Patriots’ star Gino Cappelletti said he believed those Chargers would have pushed NFL champion Chicago had the two met — which, of course, they did not. It wasn’t until January, 1967, when Green Bay played Kansas City in the first Super Bowl that the two leagues converged. Nevertheless, like Cappelletti, Alworth is convinced San Diego would not have been outclassed had the Chargers and Bears played.
“I would say we would’ve been competitive,” he said. “We always were wanting to challenge them, but nobody would play us at the time. We’ll never really know. But I feel like we would’ve held our own, I guarantee you that.”
John Hadl quarterbacked the ’63 Bolts, and when Alworth was asked to choose one player for the Hall of Fame who is not already in, he nominated Hadl — with former Kansas City safety Johnny Robinson a close second.
“Everywhere John went he won,” he said, “and he is probably in the top five or six, if you look at all the stats. He didn’t win a Super Bowl, but he won everything else. He was a tremendous football player and leader. He’s just a guy I felt has been overlooked.
“Johnny Robinson was the same way. You locked your jock when you went across the middle with him. When you go across the middle, if you go get the ball normally a defensive back will give you a split second to catch it. If you go up to get, it there’s a split second he hesitates and lets you get it.
“There are few people who don’t, and Johnny Robinson was one of those who didn’t. He just went right through you. He had my respect, and I think his record shows that he deserves some recognition. He was a great ballplayer.”