In the 1960’s professional football was run by the toughest guys in towns all across the country. Guys who didn’t need to take a water break just because six teeth were knocked out of their skull because a linebacker drop kicked them. They were men ladies and gentleman, granted maybe not men who could whistle to well but men none the less, and among these titans was Louisville native Bob Talamini.
A standout lineman and linebacker at his college Alma Mater, Kentucky, Talamini was named to the All SEC third team. Despite this no professional interest was drummed up so Talamini began after college plans.
Meanwhile the American Football League was still trying to find its footing- originally a rival to the National Football League the AFL was still struggling to find its platform.
Struggling to find talent Talamini got a quick phone call from the Houston Oilers organization inviting him to a try out. The rest is history, as upon his arrival in 1960 Talamini was given a starting offensive lineman position.
A position he held for seven years, six of those Talamini was named to the AFL All-Star team, while he suited up for pro-bowl games twice during this time.
Led by the former Wildcat the Oilers won the first AFL championship against the Los Angeles Chargers in 1960. In ’61 the Chargers had moved to San Diego and again met the Oilers for the AFL crown, a game which concluded in back to back titles for Houston.
The following year the Oilers again made it to the championship, this time against the Dallas Texans and in a game that lasted for two overtimes, Dallas came up victorious.
Still Talamini became a very notable athlete in the AFL, and as such moved to the New York Jets in 1968. A year which would prove pivotal for professional football fans across the country.
The Superbowl had become a spectacle, and in ’68 the third was set to be played, the battle between bitter rivals the AFL and NFL had the more established NFL with a perfect record.
As Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers had one the first two.
The AFL winner was in fact the Jets who were unquestionably major underdogs to the NFL’s Baltimore Colts, but it was in this game that history was made as the AFL won its first superbowl upsetting the Colts.
After that pivotal year Talamini officially retired but has since been named to the All-Time All-AFL second team.
Image courtesy of Virtual Card Collection
Highlights from the end of Superbowl 3