January 15, 1966: Bills Lose To AFL All-Stars

In an attempt to shake up the All-Star game, the AFL instituted an innovative format following the 1965 season, when the league champion was scheduled to face the best of the rest of the AFL. The Buffalo Bills, having won the 1965 AFL Championship, were the first and only AFL Champion to receive this honor.

The Bills stormed out to an early lead in the first half as a cohesive unit. George Saimes returned a fumble for a touchdown, and kicker Pete Gogolak kicked a short field goal to give Buffalo a 10-0 lead. At the half, the Bills led 13-6.

The first real glimpse of Joe Namath's superstar potential then powered the All-Stars to victory. Entering the game in the second half the rookie Namath led the Stars to four straight scores including two touchdown passes. With the Bills down 30-13 Bills coach Joe Collier replaced Jack Kemp with Darryle Lamonica who led the team down for their final score. A Wray Carlton TD catch made the final score 30-19.

The AFL returned to the traditional format a year later. Namath was named MVP of the game for his 89 yards passing and two touchdowns.

One final note: The iconic image of Jack Kemp leaping in the air and throwing the ball was taken during this game. It's lucky that he was wearing his standing Buffalo helmet instead of an East All-Star jersey.

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