The defense also came up with a new wrinkle for Boston. "We shifted a middle linebacker and an outside linebacker to the weak side where they could stunt," said Linebacker Paul Maguire. " Boston never did adjust to it. They tried to go over the line with their check-off passes, but we were reading their checks pretty good."
Indeed, the San Diego red-dogging stole the show from Boston's famed and manifold rush. Babe Parilli, the harried Patriot quarterback, lost 42 yards attempting to pass. In two successive instances in the second quarter, Ernie Ladd and Earl Faison hit Parilli for losses of 11 and 10 yards respectively, and gave him the experience of being sat on by 573 pounds of lineman as well.
"It's asking our defense a lot to keep San Diego as low as we did in the regular season [17-13 and 7-6]," said Boston Coach Mike Holovak before the game. "For us to win we have to score quite a bit, if that's possible." It wasn't. Parilli passed creditably enough, but the Boston running game was pathetic. Its longest gainer was sub Quarterback Tom Yewcic's 14-yard dash for his life. This lack of running can be explained, however, by the loss of Fullback Larry Garron, Boston's leading ground-gainer, who suffered a slight concussion in the second quarter and appeared for only one play thereafter. His running mate, Ron Burton, who had been out the entire season after major surgery for a ruptured disc, was, perhaps, a step and a half slower than he used to be and never got away. Maybe Burton, who doubles as a stockbroker, made his best move of the weekend when he advised: "Now is the time to buy good solid issues. I am recommending life-insurance stocks." He did not say anything about the stock of the American League Professional Football Team of Boston, Inc., hereinafter known as the Patriots, whose nonvoting stock is publicly held. Good thing. The value of that stock—about $5 a share—has no bearing on the firm's financial standing, but fluctuates according to wins and losses.
To all purposes, the game was over early in the first period when Boston showed it was unable to solve either the San Diego offense or defense. On San Diego's second series of plays the remarkable Lincoln got off a 67-yard run on a pitchout from Tobin Rote, the ancient vagabond (Rice, Green Bay, Detroit, Toronto, San Diego), who has what Gillman calls "a beautiful feeling for the game." This was another play from the East formation, and O'Hanley was lured away from the flow of the play by Kocourek. The Patriots made a game of it briefly when, following a 49-yard pass from Parilli to Gino Cappelletti, a direct descendant of the Capulets, who played the Montagues in the Verona Bowl, Garron went in from seven yards out. But the Chargers retaliated on a lovely sweep by Paul Lowe on which erudite All-League Tackle Ron Mix, who got the only most valuable player vote that Lincoln did not, made three blocks. "I think," Mix explained, rather shamefacedly, "two were on the same man." Lowe's run, on which he went around his right end and then weaved up the middle of the field, was for 58 yards and was a good example of the difference in running styles between him and Lincoln. Lincoln, who weighs nearer 190 than his program weight of 212, is a brutal, one-speed runner along the lines of Green Bay's Jim Taylor, while Lowe artfully glides hither and yon at various speeds.
Lincoln attributes a great deal of his success this season to the isometric exercises of Alvin Roy (SI, Sept. 16), San Diego's strength coach. According to Roy, "The Chargers may not be the best football team to ever step on the gridiron, but they're the strongest." Roy, who has also helped Green Bay's Taylor, says that Lincoln has Jim's speed and moves but is two years behind him in strength development, especially in the legs. He adds, however, that Lincoln is 60% stronger than he was last year.
Although the Patriots scored again in the second quarter on a 15-yard field goal by Cappelletti, the Chargers dominated the rest of the game in such compelling fashion that Lance Alworth was nonchalantly taking home movies from the sidelines during the waning moments.
Thus ended the AFL season. The slow, light Patriots scrambled into their first title game, and the Chargers, who had a dismal season in 1962 after suffering a slew of injuries, won their first championship game in three tries.
It was, on the whole, a successful year for the league, its fourth in business. Attendance was up 10% to 12%, and gate receipts, with a higher scale at Boston and Kansas City, rose some 30%. Next year, with a new stadium in New York and 7,600 additional sideline seats in Buffalo, promises to be even better. Looking ahead to 1965, Houston gets the world's first indoor football field (air conditioned, yet), and by 1966 Oakland's new stadium could be completed.
Indeed, the only team that may not be playing on a big-league field in the foreseeable future is the Chargers. In a way, perhaps, San Diego does not deserve its champions. There were only about 27,000 in the 34,500-capacity Balboa Stadium for the title game, although 30,127 was announced. But there are mitigating circumstances. Aside from that problem of being a depressed area where people think about the $8 and $5 cost of seats, half the town could see the game on TV from Los Angeles, there are only 14,000 seats between the goal lines, and 49-year-old Balboa Stadium is called the rock pile—the patrons sit on concrete steps.
There is talk about a new stadium for San Diego, but President Hilton does not sound too hopeful. He talks, instead, about a new TV contract putting his still unprofitable enterprise into the black. A championship team that can put on the kind of dazzling show that Lincoln and company did on Sunday deserves to be in the black.