Chargers honoring '63 championship team

SAN DIEGO -- Lance Alworth fought back tears during a news conference here announcing the San Diego Chargers will induct the entire 1963 American Football League championship team into the franchise’s Ring of Honor.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the team, which will be honored at halftime during San Diego’s Dec. 1 contest against Cincinnati. Expected to attend the ceremonies are Alworth and tackle Ron Mix, along with 1963 AFL championship game most valuable player, running back Keith Lincoln.

“I wish they were all here to see this happen,” Alworth said. “Some of us are still here, some of aren’t. And for all of those guys, we wish them the best, and their families the best.”

Alworth, the first AFL player voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said even though he won a Super Bowl ring later in his career with the Dallas Cowboys, the 1963 squad was the best team he played on.

“They could do everything,” Alworth said. “They played well. They played together. The defense was fabulous. The running game was unbelievable. The receiving was average (laughs). But we did well, and we had a great football team.”

Alworth, 73, appeared to be in great shape. He also talked a little bit about this year’s Chargers, saying he was excited to see Philip Rivers benefiting from the introduction of the short passing game.

“I love what they’re doing, because they’re just dumping the ball down, and that’s what you have to do,” Alworth said. “With the quarterback you have, he’s a wonderful quarterback, but he’s always been on his back because if you don’t have any help up front, you’ve got to get rid of the ball quickly.

“Our offense last year wouldn’t let us do that. He was always getting rushed up the middle, and you could forget it. You’d go back to pass, and you’d go back five or six yards to throw it, and you can’t get rid of it. But now, he’s accurate, he’s quick and he’s been given the ability to make some changes, as he’s said, and it’s a big, big difference.”