All-Time AFL Team - DEFENSE

History Published on : 1/1/2005

On January 14, 1970, the Pro Football Hall of Fame released the list of the All-Time AFL Team. The honorary defensive team, that hit the papers the following morning, also included the naming of the AFL’s All-Time coach. The All-Time AFL team was determined by a vote of the AFL members of the Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors.

Balloting was very close at two particular positions, defensive tackle and cornerback. There was also a three-way battle for coach between Weeb Ewbank, Sid Gillman, and Hank Stram. Linebacker George Webster of the Houston Oilers held the distinction of being the youngest player to be named to the team.

The All-Time AFL Team was officially presented as part the AFL’s final event, the All-Star Game held in Houston on Saturday, Jan. 17, 1970.


Jerry Mays - Texans/Chiefs
The former Southern Methodist star never missed a game during his entire 10-year career that ended after the 1970 season.

In all, he was voted to six AFL All-Star Games and also played in the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl following his final season after the Chiefs joined the NFL as part of the merger. Mays earned first- or second-team All-AFL acclaim every season from 1962-69. In 1972, he became just the third member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. Mays died on July 17, 1994. | Mays player page on>>>

Gerry Philbin – Jets
Philbin anchored New York’s defensive front line from 1964 to 1972 before he played one last season in Philadelphia with the Eagles in ’73.

He reached the pinnacle of his career toward the end of the AFL years. He was an integral part of the 1968 Jets’ championship team. Philbin earned first-team All-AFL honors and was voted to the AFL All-Star Game after both the 1968 and 1969 seasons. | Philbin’s player page on>>>


Houston Antwine – Patriots
Antwine started on offense before the club switched him to defense later in his rookie season. He turned into one of the most dominant defensive players in league history especially noted as devastating against the run. Antwine played for the Patriots from 1961 to 1971. He played one final year with the 1972 Philadelphia Eagles.

He was selected All-AFL in 1963, 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969. In addition, he was named second-team All-AFL in 1964. Antwine was also named to six AFL All-Star Games. | Antwine’s player page on>>>

Tom Sestak – Bills
Although injuries limited Sestak to a relatively short seven-season career (1962-68), he made a major impact. Regarded as the quiet leader of the Bills defense, he helped the team win back-to-back AFL championships in 1964 and 1965.

He earned All-AFL acclaim each season of his career that included first-team honors five straight years. He was also named to four AFL All-Star Games. In 1987, shortly after his death, Sestak was added to the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame. | Sestak’s player page on>>>


Bobby Bell – Chiefs
Bell was a huge signing for the AFL in 1963. An incredibly versatile player, he began his career as a defensive end before he moved to outside linebacker. He won all-league honors at both positions. Bell had a knack for the end zone as he scored a total of nine TDs in his career. He also intercepted 26 passes in his career which he returned for 479 yards and scored six touchdowns.

Named All-AFL/AFC nine times, he was voted to six AFL All-Star Games and three AFC-NFC Pro Bowls. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1983. | Bell’s HOF Bio>>>

George Webster – Oilers
Webster, a collegiate star at Michigan State, joined the Oilers as the club’s first pick, fifth overall, in 1967. He starred for the team through 1972 before moving on to the Steelers (1972-73) and Patriots (1974-76). His contribution in just three AFL seasons before the league merged with the NFL was so significant he earned a place on the All-Time team.

He was voted to the AFL All-Star Game and named consensus first-team All-AFL three straight seasons, 1967-69. | Webster’s player page on>>>


Nick Buoniconti - Patriots, Dolphins
The Notre Dame product made an immediate impact upon joining the Patriots as a 13th-round draft pick in 1962. He starred for the club through 1968 before joining the Dolphins where he finished his career (1969-1974, 1976).

Buoniconti was named to five AFL All-Star Games with the Patriots and one with Miami. He was also voted to two AFC-NFC Pro Bowls while with the Dolphins. He earned first-team All-AFL/AFC acclaim eight times. Buoniconti was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. | Buoniconti’s HOF Bio>>>


Willie Brown - Broncos, Raiders
Brown’s Hall of Fame career began as an undrafted free agent signed by the Broncos after the Oilers cut him. He was dealt to the Raiders where he reached the height of his career. In all, he intercepted 54 passes which he returned for 472 yards and two TDs.

Brown was named either All-AFL or All-AFC seven times and was voted to five AFL All-Star Games and four AFC-NFC Pro Bowls. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1984. | Brown’s HOF Bio>>>

Dave Grayson - Texans/Chiefs, Raiders
No player in AFL history had more interceptions than the 47 amassed by Grayson. He also was the league’s all-time leader in interception return yardage with 908 yards. Originally a member of the Texans, later renamed the Chiefs from 1961-64, he joined the Oakland Raiders in 1965 where he played through his retirement following the 1970 season.

Six times Grayson was voted to the AFL All-Star Game. He was also named first-team All-AFL three times as a cornerback and twice at safety. | Grayson’s player page on>>>


Johnny Robinson - Texans/Chiefs
An original member of the 1960 Dallas Texans, Robinson starred for 12 seasons in the team’s secondary. He recorded all but 14 of his 57 career interceptions while in the AFL. He registered a career-high 10 interceptions during the Chiefs’ 1966 championship season.

Robison was picked for six AFL All-Star Games and one AFC-NFC Pro Bowl. He was also named second-team All-AFL in 1963 and 1964 before he earned first-team All-AFL honors for the next five straight season (1965-69). In 1974, Robinson was elected to the Chiefs Hall of Fame. | Robinson’s player page on>>>

George Saimes – Bills

Saimes spent his entire AFL career with Buffalo after the Bills signed him in 1963. All of his 22 interceptions which he returned for 238 yards came during his AFL days. Saimes finished his career in the NFL with the Denver Broncos (1970-73).

A five-time AFL All-Star pick, Saimes earned All-AFL honors each season from 1964 through 1968. He was placed on the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame in 2000. | Saimes’ player page on>>>


Weeb Ewbank – Jets
Ewbank is the only coach ever to win a championship in both the NFL and the AFL. After guiding the Baltimore Colts to back-to-back NFL titles in 1958 and 1959, Ewbank joined the Jets in 1963.

His poise and a great ability to handle raw, young talent help project the Jets to the top of the football world. After winning the 1968 AFL title, the Jets shocked the heavily favored Colts in Super Bowl III. Ewbank was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. | Ewbank’s HOF Bio>>>

AFL All-Time Team - Defense (Second Team)