Lance Alworth weighs in on "AFL Call for the Hall" with his top 10 choices
When Hall-of-Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth joined the Talk of Fame Network broadcast two years ago we asked him to name one player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame he’d like to see inducted.
He named two.
One was Kansas City Chiefs’ star safety Johnny Robinson, and Alworth got his wish. Robinson was enshrined the following year. The other was a former teammate who’s still waiting on Canton.
Quarterback John Hadl.
It should come as no surprise, then, that when AFL historian and Talk of Fame Network contributor Todd Tobias of Talesfromtheamericanfootballleague.com approached Alworth last weekend, asking him to choose the best 10 candidates from a list of 20 finalists for our “AFL Call for the Hall,” Hadl was one of his picks.
Hadl played with the Chargers from 1962-72 and was a four-team AFL all-star, the league’s leading passer in 1965 and ’68 and MVP of the 1969 AFL All-Star game. He is also a member of the Chargers’ Hall of Fame.
However, according to Tobias, a close friend of Alworth’s and one of 15 voters for the “Call for the Hall,” he was not Alworth’s first pick. Former Houston wide receiver Charlie Hennigan was.
Alworth split his vote evenly, with five players from offense and five from defense. Here are some of the takeaways from his ballot:
-- He did not choose all three Chargers’ candidates. He picked offensive guard Walt Sweeney and quarterback John Hadl. He did not include running back Paul Lowe. In fact, he did not include one running back
-- He chose Kansas City tackle Jim Tyrer over Chiefs’ guard Ed Budde.
-- There are two receivers on his list, but one of them isn’t five-time AFL receiving champ Lionel Taylor. His choices: Art Powell and Charlie Hennigan.
-- He picked both of Buffalo’s defensive candidates: Defensive tackle Tom Sestak and linebacker Mike Stratton. That makes sense, too. The Bills beat Alworth’s Chargers in consecutive AFL championship games in 1964-65 by a combined score of 43-7.
Two things to remember before getting to Alworth’s picks: 1) He is not one of our 15 judges, as Tobias is, and 2) this exercise is not authorized or sanctioned by the Pro Football Hall of Fame … nor will it be mentioned by the Hall. It is a procedure conducted by the Talk of Fame Network to name the 10 best AFL players not in Canton, with the hope that it draws the Hall’s attention to them.
Our list will be revealed this week at talkoffamenetwork.com. OK, now on to Alworth’s ballot:
QB – John Hadl (San Diego, 1962-72; L.A. Rams, 1973-74; Green Bay, 1974-75; Houston, 1976-77).
WR – Art Powell (Philadelphia 1959; N.Y. Titans, 1960-62; Oakland, 1963-66; Buffalo, 1967; Minnesota, 1968), Charlie Hennigan (Houston, 1960-66).
OG – Walt Sweeney (San Diego, 1963-73; Washington, 1974-75).
OT – Jim Tyrer (Kansas City, Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-73; Washington, 1974).
DT – Tom Sestak (Buffalo, 1962-68).
DE – Jerry Mays (Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-70).
LB – Larry Grantham (N.Y. Titans/Jets, 1960-72), Mike Stratton (Buffalo, 1962-72; San Diego, 1973).
CB – Dave Grayson (Dallas Cowboys, 1961; Dallas/Kansas City, 1961-64; Oakland, 1965-70).