Home is where you hang your helmet

Home is where you hang your helmet

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It is fair to say that the early days of the American Football League featured an eclectic group of players, coaches and owners. The same can be said of the venues where each AFL club played. A total of 21 different stadiums served as home to an AFL team during the 10-season history of the league.

Only four teams utilized the same stadium during the entire decade that the AFL existed. The Denver Broncos began play in Bear Stadium which was later renamed Mile High Stadium late in 1968. The Buffalo Bills played their AFL days in War Memorial Stadium, affectionately known as “The Rock Pile.”

The Cincinnati Bengals, who played in Nippert Stadium and the Miami Dolphins were headquartered out of the Orange Bowl were both expansion teams and only played two seasons in the AFL.

Two teams, the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers, still play in the same stadium that they did back in the AFL. The Raiders began play on the opposite side of the Bay, first at Kezar Stadium and then in Candlestick Park. The team moved to Frank Youell Field in 1962 before taking root in Oakland-Alameda County Stadium, their current residence, in 1966.

The Chargers began in Los Angeles’ Memorial Coliseum before moving south to San Diego’s Balboa Stadium in 1962. In 1967 the team moved to Jack Murphy Stadium, now known as Qualcomm Stadium.

The Boston Patriots played in Nickerson Field (1960-62), Fenway Park (1963-68) and Boston College’s Alumni Stadium (1969). The Houston Oilers started at Jeppesen Stadium, a high school stadium before moving to Rice Stadium in 1965. The Oilers became the first professional football team to play in a domed stadium when the team relocated to the then state-of-the-art Astrodome in 1968.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who began as the Dallas Texans, started its history at the Cotton Bowl. When the team relocated to Kansas City in 1963 they moved into Municipal Stadium.

The New York Jets “took off” as the Titans in New York’s Polo Grounds. Built in 1911, the archaic facility was the oldest in the AFL. The team found a more modern facility when the Jets moved into the Shea Stadium in 1964.

Related links
50 Years After - the AFL’s 50th Anniversary Season is celebrated in 2009
NFL Stadiums in 2009


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