1963 American Football League Championship Game
1234 Total
BOS 7300 10
SD 2110713 51
DateJanuary 5, 1964
StadiumBalboa Stadium, San Diego, California
MVPKeith Lincoln, running back
Attendance30,127 [1]
Hall of Famers
Patriots: Nick Buoniconti
Chargers: Sid Gillman (coach), Lance Alworth, Ron Mix
TV in the United States
AnnouncersCurt Gowdy, Paul Christman[2]

The 1963 AFL Championship Game was the fourth American Football League (AFL) title game. The Western Division champion San Diego Chargers won 51–10 over the Eastern Division champion Boston Patriots. The Chargers' Keith Lincoln was named the game's most valuable player (MVP).

At the end of the regular season, the Chargers (11–3) won the Western Division for the third time in the four-year existence of the AFL.[3] In the Eastern Division, the Patriots and the Buffalo Bills had identical 7–6–1 records, which required a tiebreaker playoff game on December 28 in Buffalo.[4][5]

Eastern Division playoff

In their final regular season games on Saturday, December 14, Boston lost and Buffalo won to draw even in the standings. Three-time division winner Houston (6–6) controlled their own destiny, but lost the next day and were eliminated. Buffalo and Boston had two weeks to prepare for the playoff, as their bye weeks were postponed from November 24 to December 22, due to the assassination of President Kennedy.

The game was played on Saturday, December 28, as the following day was the NFL championship game. On a slippery field at War Memorial Stadium in Buffalo with an inch of snow, visiting Boston led 16–0 at halftime and won 26–8. Quarterback Babe Parilli threw a touchdown pass in each half to fullback Larry Garron and Gino Cappelletti made four field goals for the Patriots. The Bills' sole score was a 93-yard touchdown pass play in the third quarter with a two-point conversion, which cut the lead to eight points.[4]

Boston Patriots 26, Buffalo Bills 8
Period 1 2 34Total
Patriots 10 6 01026
Bills 0 0 808

at War Memorial Stadium, Buffalo, New York

  • Date: December 28, 1963
  • Game time: 1:05 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 20 °F (−7 °C), relative humidity 76%,
    wind 11 mph (18 km/h), wind chill 9 °F (−13 °C)
  • Game attendance: 33,044[4]
  • TV: ABC
Game information
  • First quarter
  • Second quarter
    • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 12, 13–0 BOS
    • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 33, 16–0 BOS
  • Third quarter
  • Fourth quarter
    • BOS – Garron 17 pass from Parilli (Cappeletti kick), 23–8 BOS
    • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 36, 26–8 BOS

Surface: Natural grass

Championship Game

Idle during the week of Eastern Division playoff, well-rested San Diego was a touchdown favorite at home to win the AFL.[6][3] Fullback Keith Lincoln performed tremendously and led the Chargers to a 51–10 rout of Boston.[7][8] Named the game's MVP,[9] he rushed for 206 yards on 13 carries, led the team with 123 yards in receiving, and completed a pass for 20 yards.[10][11][12]

The game was not a sellout; the attendance of 30,127 was several thousand under Balboa Stadium's capacity.[11]

The Chargers' championship win 60 years ago is noted for being the only major sports title for the city of San Diego, the longest drought for a major American city.[13][14] The Chargers played in San Diego through 2016, then returned to Los Angeles in 2017. The Patriots' first league championship came in the 2001 season in Super Bowl XXXVI.

San Diego Chargers 51, Boston Patriots 10
Period 1 2 34Total
Patriots 7 3 0010
Chargers 21 10 71351

at Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California

  • Date: January 5, 1964
  • Game time: 1:30 p.m. PST
  • Game weather: 57 °F (14 °C), relative humidity 26%, wind 10 mph (16 km/h)
  • Game attendance: 30,127 [1]
  • TV announcers (ABC): Curt Gowdy, Paul Christman[2]
Game information
  • First quarter
  • Second quarter
    • SD – Field goal Blair 11, 24–7 SD
    • BOS – Field goal Cappelletti 15, 24–10 SD
    • SD – Don Norton 14 pass from Rote (Blair kick), 31–10 SD
  • Third quarter
  • Fourth quarter
    • SD – Lincoln 25 pass from John Hadl (pass failed), 44–10 SD
    • SD – Hadl 1 run (Blair kick), 51–10 SD

Starting lineups

Hall of Fame inductee

Boston Position San Diego
Babe Parilli QB Tobin Rote
Ron Burton HB Paul Lowe
Larry Garron FB Keith Lincoln
Jim Colclough FL Lance Alworth
Gino Cappelletti SE Don Norton
Tony Romeo TE Dave Kocourek
Don Oakes LT Ernie Wright
Charley Long LG Sam DeLuca
Walt Cudzik C Don Rogers
Billy Neighbors RG Pat Shea
Milt Graham RT Ron Mix
Larry Eisenhauer LDE Earl Faison
Jess Richardson LDT Henry Schmidt
Houston Antwine RDT George Gross
Bob Dee RDE Bob Petrich
Tom Addison LLB Emil Karas
Nick Buoniconti MLB Chuck Allen
Jack Rudolph RLB Paul Maguire
Dick Felt LCB Bud Whitehead
Bob Suci RCB Dick Harris
Ross O'Hanley SS George Blair
Ron Hall FS Gary Glick

Players' shares

The attendance in San Diego was nearly 8,000 lower than the previous year's game in Houston, but the players' shares were up slightly with increased television revenue. The winning Chargers players each made around $2,500, while the Patriots received about $1,700 each.[12] These shares were less than half of those for the NFL title game in 1963, at approximately $6,000 and $4,200 each.[15]

See also


  1. ^ a b Paid Attendance|Tales from the AFL
  2. ^ a b 1963 NFL-AFL Commentator Crews Archived December 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "Chargers choice over Patriots". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. January 5, 1964. p. 1, part 2.
  4. ^ a b c "Boston beats Buffalo, 26-8, in playoff". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press.
  5. ^ "Boston beats Bills for division crown". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. December 29, 1963. p. 2, sports.
  6. ^ "San Diego, Boston vie in battle for AFL title". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). January 5, 1964. p. 4B.
  7. ^ "Chargers shred 'AFL's best defense,' wallop Patriots, 51-10, for first crown". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. January 6, 1964. p. 1, part 3.
  8. ^ "Chargers roll over Boston in AFL final". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. January 6, 1964. p. 27.
  9. ^ Means, Raymond (January 6, 1964). "Chargers Smash Boston 51–10 For AFL Crown". The Press-Tribune. United Press International. p. A-5. Retrieved July 30, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "Chargers rout Boston, 51-10; compared with NFL teams". Milwaukee Journal. Associated Press. January 6, 1964. p. 11, part 2.
  11. ^ a b "Are Chargers good enough for NFL opponents?". Eugene Register-Guard. (Oregon). Associated Press. January 6, 1964. p. 3B.
  12. ^ a b "Charger win Lincolnesque; Palouse Moose gains 349". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. January 6, 1964. p. 12.
  13. ^ "Are San Diego Sports Teams Cursed?". San Diego 6. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved 2010-07-01.
  14. ^ Thirteen years after missing a Super Bowl-winning field – 07.12.04 – SI Vault
  15. ^ "Each Bear to receive about $6,000". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Associated Press. December 30, 1963. p. 18.

32°43′14″N 117°09′02″W / 32.7205°N 117.1505°W / 32.7205; -117.1505

Preceded byDallas Texans1962 AFL Champions San Diego ChargersAmerican Football League Champions 1963 Succeeded byBuffalo Bills1964 AFL Champions