Lance Alworth
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Lance “Bambi” Dwight Alworth (born August 3, 1940) is an American former professional
football Football is a family of s that involve, to varying degrees, a to score a . Unqualified, normally means the form of football that is the most popular where the word is used. Sports commonly called ''football'' include (known as ''soccer'' ...

football
player who was a
wide receiver A wide receiver (WR), also referred to as a wideout, historically a split end, is an eligible receiver in gridiron football. A key skill position of the offense (American football), offense, WR gets its name from the player being split out "wi ...

wide receiver
for the
San Diego Chargers The professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any sport Sport pertains to any form of ...
of the
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(AFL) and
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(NFL) and
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Dallas Cowboys
of the NFL. He played for 11 seasons, from
1962 Events January * January January is the first month of the year in the Julian calendar, Julian and Gregorian calendars and the first of seven months to have a length of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year's Day. ...
through
1972 Within the context of Coordinated Universal Time Coordinated Universal Time or UTC is the primary time standard A time standard is a specification for measuring time: either the rate at which time passes; or points in time; or both. ...
, and was elected to the
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in 1978. He was the first player inducted whose playing career was principally in the AFL. Alworth is also a member of the
College Football Hall of Fame The College Football Hall of Fame is a hall of fame A hall, wall, or walk of fame is a list of individuals, achievements, or animals, usually chosen by a group of electors, to mark their in their field. In some cases, these halls of fame c ...
.


Early life

Born in
Houston Houston ( ) is the List of cities in Texas by population, most populous city in Texas, List of United States cities by population, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as th ...

Houston
,
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards, a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Canada * Spanish River (disambigu ...

Texas
, Alworth was raised in Hog Chain, Mississippi. He played football at Brookhaven High School before attending the
University of Arkansas The University of Arkansas (U of A, UArk, or UA) is a public In public relations Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing and disseminating information from an individual or an organization An organization, or organis ...
. While in high school, he earned 15 letters. Alworth's sister Ann was fast enough in the 50- and 75-yard dashes in track to be invited to the
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trials, though she declined the invitation. After high school, Alworth was offered baseball contracts by the
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and the
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.


College career

At Arkansas, the six-foot (1.83 m), Alworth was a
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who led all colleges in punt return yardage in 1960 and 1961. He also was a track star competing in the long jump and running the 100 and 220-yard dashes (in 9.6 seconds and 21.2 seconds, respectively). Alworth was a three-time Academic All-American, graduating with a degree in marketing as a pre-law student. In 1962, Alworth was on multiple All-American teams: ''
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'' magazine,
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Associated Press
,
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and Coaches. Alworth was a key member of Arkansas teams that won, or shared, three consecutive
Southwest Conference The Southwest Conference (SWC) was an NCAA Division I NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics College athletics encompasses non-professional A professional is a member of a profession or any person who ...
championships between 1959 and 1961, winning 25 games in that time span. The 1959 team won the 1960 Gator Bowl over Georgia Tech. Alworth was the MVP of the
1961 Cotton Bowl Classic The 1961 Cotton Bowl Classic was the 25th Cotton Bowl Classic, edition of the college football bowl game, played at the Cotton Bowl (stadium), Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Monday, January 2. Part of the 1960 NCAA University Division footba ...
, even though Arkansas lost the game, after he returned a punt for a touchdown. It would be the last time a punt was returned for a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl for fifty-one years until another Razorback, Joe Adams, returned a punt for a score in the
2012 Cotton Bowl Classic The 2012 AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, the 76th edition of the game, was a post-season American college football bowl game, held on January 6, 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season, 2012 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas as part of the 2011– ...
. He is a member of the
Pi Kappa Alpha Pi Kappa Alpha (), commonly known as PIKE, is a Fraternities and sororities, college fraternity founded at the University of Virginia in 1868. The fraternity has over 225 chapters and colonies across the United States and abroad with over 15,500 u ...
fraternity A fraternity (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Repub ...
. Alworth is a member of the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame; he was named to the University of Arkansas' 1960's All-Decade Team, and the school's All-Century Team in 1994.


Professional career


San Diego Chargers

Alworth was chosen in the first round (eighth overall) of the 1962 NFL draft by the
San Francisco 49ers The San Francisco 49ers (also written as the San Francisco Forty Niners) are a professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport ...
. The
American Football League The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football American football, referred to simply as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport A team sport includes any ...
's
Oakland Raiders Oakland is the largest city and the county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
selected him with their first pick (ninth overall) in the second round of the 1962 American Football League draft, 1962 AFL Draft, and then traded his rights to the 1962 San Diego Chargers season, San Diego Chargers in return for halfback Bo Roberson, quarterback Hunter Enis, and offensive tackle Gene Selawski. Alworth opted to sign with the Chargers instead of the 49ers. The Chargers kept Alworth at flanker. His slender build, speed, grace, and leaping ability earned him the nickname "Bambi." In his rookie season, Alworth had just 10 receptions in 4 games (though three were for touchdowns). His second year was a different story, as he set franchise records in receptions (61), yards (1,205), and touchdowns (11), earning the United Press International, UPI's American Football League Most Valuable Players, AFL Most Valuable Player award. He had 4 receptions for 77 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown, in San Diego's AFL championship win over the Boston Patriots. He was selected as an American Football League All-Star games, AFL Western Division All-Star for the first of seven consecutive seasons, as well as an American Football League All-League Teams, AFL All-League flanker for the first of six seasons, selected by his peers from 1963 to 1966, and by newspaper wire services from 1967 to 1968. Over the next six seasons (1964–69), Alworth broke his own franchise receiving records several times, and also led the league in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, and total touchdowns three times each. He shattered the record for most consecutive seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards (7, previously 3, now held by Jerry Rice with 11), and was the first player with back-to-back seasons averaging 100+ receiving yards per game, both of which led the league. The 1966 season was particularly noteworthy, because he led the league in five categories. He still shares the record for the most regular-season games with 200+ yards receiving (5), and had a franchise-record streak of 96 consecutive games with a reception. Alworth formed a formidable tandem with Chargers quarterback John Hadl, and is considered by many to be the best wide receiver in all professional football during the 1960s. He is a member of the American Football League All-Time Team, AFL All-Time Team. He was the first of only a few American Football League stars to be featured on the cover of ''Sports Illustrated'', which like other media of the 1960s, showed a distinct bias for the NFL. ''Sports Illustrated'' even went so far as to declare Alworth the "Top Pro Receiver" in December 1965, this at a time when many claimed the AFL had inferior players. Alworth's productivity sharply declined in 1970 San Diego Chargers season, 1970 (35 catches for 608 yards), and he was traded to 1971 Dallas Cowboys season, Dallas at the end of the season. See below for his numerous franchise records with the Chargers.


Dallas Cowboys

On May 19, 1971, Alworth was traded to the
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Dallas Cowboys
, for his final two seasons. In exchange, the Chargers received Tony Liscio, Pettis Norman, and Ron East. In Super Bowl VI following the 1971 season, he scored the game's first touchdown, which was a 7-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach in the Cowboys' 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Alworth would later call the two receptions he made in Super Bowl VI (one that converted a third and long and the other for the touchdown) the two most important catches of his career.


NFL career statistics


Legacy

Alworth finished his 11 AFL/NFL seasons with 543 receptions for 10,266 yards. He also rushed for 129 yards, returned 29 punts for 309 yards, gained 216 yards on 10 kickoff returns, and scored 87 touchdowns (85 receiving and 2 rushing). In 1972, he was inducted to the San Diego Hall of Champions. In 1977, he was inducted in the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame, Chargers Hall of Fame. In 1978, he became the first San Diego Charger and the first player who had played in the AFL to be inducted into the
Pro Football Hall of Fame The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame A hall, wall, or walk of fame is a list of individuals, achievements, or animals, usually chosen by a group of electors, to mark their fame Fame is the quality of being well-known and in the ...
. He chose to be presented at the Canton, Ohio ceremony by Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, his former position coach at San Diego, who had much to do with the success of the AFL. Alworth's number 19 was San Diego Chargers retired numbers, retired by the Chargers in 2005. In 1970, he was selected as a member of the American Football League All-Time Team, AFL All-Time Team, and in 1994, he was named to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, the only player to be named to both teams. In 1979, he was inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. In 1988, he was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was ranked number 31 on ''The Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Football Players, making him the highest-ranking Charger and the highest-ranking player to have spent more than one season in the AFL. In 2014, he was inducted into the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.


NFL records

* Most games with 200+ receiving yards: 5 (tied with Calvin Johnson) * Fastest to 5,000 career receiving yards (52 games) * Fastest to 6,000 career receiving yards (62 games) * Fastest to 7,000 career receiving yards (tied with Julio Jones (72 games) * Fastest to 8,000 career receiving yards (83 games) * Most receiving yards in first 50 games: 4,785 * Most receiving yards in first 75 games: 7,532 * Most touchdown receptions, 70+ yards, career: 12 * Most consecutive seasons, 11+ TD receptions: 4 (1963–1966; tied with Marvin Harrison, 1999–2002; Art Powell (wide receiver), Art Powell, 1963–1966) * Most consecutive seasons, 12+ TD receptions: 3, (1964–1966; tied with Jerry Rice, 1989–1991 and 1993–1995; Marvin Harrison, 1999–2001 and 2004–2006; Terrell Owens, 2000–2002; Cris Carter, 1997–1999) * Most consecutive seasons, 13+ TD receptions: 3, (1964–1966; tied with Jerry Rice, 1989–1991 and 1993–1995; Terrell Owens, 2000–2002)


Chargers franchise records

* Receiving yards, season: 1,602 (1965) * Receiving touchdowns, season: 14 (1965; tied with Tony Martin (American football), Tony Martin) * Yards per reception, season: 23.2 (1965) * Yards per reception, career (min. 50 receptions): 19.4 * Yards per game, season: 114.4 (1965) * Yards per game, career: 86.3 * Seasons with 1000+ receiving yards: 7 (1963–1969) * Consecutive seasons with 1000+ receiving yards: 7 (1963–1969) * Seasons with 10+ receiving TDs: 5 * Consecutive games with a reception: 96 (September 7, 1962 – December 14, 1969) * Games with 100+ receiving yards, career: 41 * Games with 100+ receiving yards, season: 9 * Games with 200+ receiving yards: 5 (only 3 other such games in franchise history) * Games with 100+ receiving yards, and 1+ TDs: 36


Personal life

Alworth and his wife, Laura, whom he married in 1997, live in San Diego. He has six children. He founded All Aboard Mini Storage, with facilities throughout California. His first wife, the former Betty Jeanne Allen, later married Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker.


See also

* List of NCAA major college yearly punt and kickoff return leaders *List of American Football League players


References


External links

* * * {{DEFAULTSORT:Alworth, Lance 1940 births Living people Arkansas Razorbacks football players American Football League All-Time Team American Football League All-Star players American Football League Most Valuable Players American Football League players American football wide receivers College Football Hall of Fame inductees Dallas Cowboys players National Football League players with retired numbers People from Lincoln County, Mississippi Players of American football from Mississippi Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees San Diego Chargers players Players of American football from Houston 10,000 receiving yards club