1961 American Football League Championship Game

1961 American Football League Championship Game
1234 Total
Houston 0370 10
San Diego 0003 3
Date December 24, 1961
Stadium Balboa Stadium, San Diego
Attendance 29,556
TV in the United States
Network ABC
Announcers Jack Buck, George Ratterman, and Bob Neal[1]
 San Diego
Location in the United States

The 1961 American Football League Championship Game was a repeat the first AFL title game, between the Houston Oilers and the San Diego Chargers (formerly the Los Angeles Chargers). It was played on December 24 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego, California, and the Oilers were three-point favorites.[2][3][4]


The game matched the Eastern Division champion Houston Oilers (10–3–1), against the Western Division champion San Diego Chargers (12–2), two of only three AFL teams with winning records in the 1961 season (also the Boston Patriots at 9–4–1).

Game summary

The 1961 American Football League Championship Game was the sixth game that the two teams had played during the calendar year 1961. The previous year's game, won by Houston 24–16, had been played on January 1, 1961. The Chargers had won two exhibition contests with the Oilers, and the two teams had split during the 1961 regular season.

Scoring in the second AFL title game was held down by sloppy play and turnovers: Houston had seven and San Diego six. The only score of the first half came on a 46-yard George Blanda field goal, coming after a nine-yard San Diego punt. In the third quarter, the Oilers had the only sustained drive of the game, and went 80 yards. With a third-and-five at the San Diego 35, Blanda rolled to his right and found Billy Cannon open at the 17. Cannon jumped to make the catch, shrugged off a would-be tackler, and scampered into the end zone for a touchdown, his second in two straight low-scoring championship games. Blanda's extra point put Houston up 10–0. The Chargers scored early in the fourth quarter on a 12-yard field goal by George Blair, but they could not score again, and the Oilers won 10–3.[5][6]

Houston Oilers 10, San Diego Chargers 3
1 2 34Total
Oilers 0 3 7010
Chargers 0 0 033

at Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California

See also


  1. 1961 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews
  2. "Chargers challenge for AFL grid title". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 24, 1961. p. 2, sports.
  3. "Oilers face Chargers in A.F.L. playoff". Chicago Sunday Tribune. Associated Press. December 24, 1961. p. 3, part 2.
  4. "Houston wins, 10-3; keeps A.F.L. title". Chicago Daily Tribune. UPI. December 25, 1961. p. 1, part 4.
  5. "Blanda stars as Oilers win AFL title, 10-3". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 25, 1961. p. 1S.
  6. "Blanda's arm and toe clear path as Houston takes 2d AFL crown". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 25, 1961. p. 14.
  7. 1961 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews

Coordinates: 32°43′14″N 117°09′02″W / 32.7205°N 117.1505°W / 32.7205; -117.1505

Preceded by
Houston Oilers
1960 AFL Champions
Houston Oilers
American Football League Champions

Succeeded by
Dallas Texans
1962 AFL Champions
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