By ED WETTERMAN
Without a doubt, the Houston franchise completely dominated the early days of the American Football League (AFL), but the end of the 1962 season didn’t just mark the end of the Oiler dynasty.
It also marked the beginning of a long drought that would see the franchise post four straight losing seasons and enjoy just one winning campaign in the next 12 years, which also included a streak of five straight losing seasons and two 1-13 marks (for those advanced mathematicians crunching the numbers, the Oilers also had back-to-back .500 seasons in 1968 and 1969).
Although he had quarterbacked the Oilers to two titles and three championship games in three seasons, George Blanda was now a 34-year old veteran who had had overcome broken ribs, thyroid surgery, the loss of Bill Groman at receiver, and three head coaches in three seasons.
While battling his thyroid issue during the 1962 campaign, he still managed to toss 27 touchdown passes on the season, but he also threw 42 interceptions, which placed him squarely in the crosshairs of Houston Chronicle columnist Jack Gallagher, who crucified Blanda in the papTo make matters worse for Blanda, rumors began to fly about him shaving points in games, even dumping games.
One rumor even stated, “George rigs the games, Bud lays off the money, and they split it on a percentage basis.”
This story would stick to Blanda for years, despite no evidence that any of it ever happened.
Later, AFL Commissioner Joe Foss investigated the rumor and said, “We found out that George was a businessman with a good income from that trucking company, who didn’t need or seem to want more money.
“We found out he respected the game too much to take a chance on getting barred from it for life. He wasn’t the kind of guy who’d do anything illegal.”
Blanda was exonerated, but the rumors would hound him for the rest of his career.
With that rumor dogging them, the Oilers entered their first era of ineptitude.
Fans kept loving their Blue and kept coming to games, particularly when the Oilers moved into the sparkling new Harris County Domed Stadium in 1968, but the team was going down, and “coulda,” “woulda,” and “shoulda” became staples of OIler fans’ conversations.
Despite the doldrums Houston fans were about to enter, unlike the AFL fans in Dallas, at least they were able to keep their team.
The 1962 championship game in which they triumphed over the Oilers turned out to be the last game the team would play as the Dallas Texans.
Despite competing against a Dallas Cowboys NFL team that managed just a 9-28-3 record in its first three seasons, Texans owner Lamar Hunt decided that the Dallas–Fort Worth media market could not sustain two professional football franchises.
Supposedly, Hunt agreed to flip a coin with Cowboys owner Tex Schramm to decide which franchise would remain in Big D. The Cowboys won, and Hunt began to look for a new city.
Initially, Hunt considered moving the Texans to either Atlanta or Miami for the 1963 season, but he was eventually persuaded to relocate the franchise to Kansas City by Mayor Harold Roe Bartle.
Bartle promised to triple the franchise’s season ticket sales and expand the seating capacity of Municipal Stadium to accommodate the team.
Hunt accepted Bartle’s deal and moved the franchise to Kansas City on May 22, 1963, renaming the team Kansas City Chiefs in honor of Mayor Bartle’s nickname, which he acquired in his professional role as Scout Executive of the area Boy Scout councils and founder of the scouting society the Tribe of Mic-O-Say.
Now Oilers owner Bud Adams had the lone AFL franchise in the Lone Star State, but it was headed for the opposite end of the AFL standings from where it had been entrenched.
UP NEXT – The 1963 Season, Part 1
Ed Wetterman is a native Houstonian and lifelong Oiler fan/historian. He is a teacher, genealogist, game creator, and writer who lived and died on Sundays with the Oilers. Ed has created many games such as “East Texas University: Degrees of Horror” and written short stories such as “HellFighter,” published by Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Football has always been one of his greatest passions. He experienced the highs and the lows of being an Oiler fan, and like many others, he was crushed when the Oilers left Houston. Writing for Miss Ya Blue! gives him an outlet for his Columbia Blue love.
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