Physics of nature

History Published on : 9/23/2009

by Saleem Choudhry

Polarity is something that is commonly found in nature; a positive and negative charge, east and west, high pressure and low pressure. One could observe that this was the case in the American Football League. Take for example the Houston Oilers and the New York Titans/Jets.

Houston entered the AFL lightning hot. The Oilers compiled a record of 31-10-1 and captured two AFL championships in its first three seasons. At the opposite end of the decade during the league’s final three seasons New York countered with a similar streak that included a 29-12-1 mark, the 1968 AFL Championship, and win in Super Bowl III.

In nature, when opposites collide, more often than not, spectacular things occur. This was the case in the 1962 AFL season. That year the Oilers were en route to an 11-3 record and a third straight trip to the AFL championship game. The Titans, who were renamed the Jets following the season, finished the year with a 5-9 record and a last place finish in the AFL Eastern Division. On the field, the Oilers boasted the league’s best offense and second best defense while the Titans ranked seventh in both categories.

AFL Record Book
Most Touchdowns, Game (8)
Houston vs. New York, Oct. 14, 1962
Kansas City vs. Denver, Sept. 7, 1963
Buffalo vs. Miami, Sept. 18, 1966
Kansas City vs. Denver, Oct. 23, 1966
All of these ingredients equaled fireworks when the two teams collided on October 14.

The Titans tempted fate at Houston’s Jeppesen Stadium by drawing a 3-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Houston quarterback George Blanda then delivered one of the greatest performances of his career. He finished the first quarter by quickly throwing two TD passes to put the Oilers up 14-3.

The hailstorm of offense continued in the second quarter as Blanda racked up two more TD passes and capped another drive by handing off to fullback Dave Smith for a two-yard touchdown run. The Oilers breezed into the locker room with the 35-10 advantage at the end of the first half.

In the third quarter Blanda continued his assault by again throwing a pair of touchdown passes. When the dust settled, the Hall of Fame signal-caller had completed a deadly-efficient 190 yards and six touchdowns on just 13 completions. To add insult to injury, he also converted on eight extra point attempts. The Oilers won handily 56-17.

Houston’s offensive eruption set a then AFL single-game scoring record and proved that the stronger of two opposite powers will normally prevail.

Choudhry is a researcher at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joined the Hall of Fame's staff in 1994.