Chargers @ Broncos, Sunday October 6th, 1963
Broncos kicker Gene Mingo got the festivities started hitting a 37-yard FG in the 1st quarter. Chargers QB Tobin Rote led his offense on two consecutive scoring drives culminating in scoring strikes of 39 yards and 31 yards to Keith Lincoln and Paul Lowe respectively. Remember, we're in the era of mediocre and the same rang true for kickers. George Blair failed to convert one of the PAT attempts and the Charger lead was 13-3 heading into the 2nd quarter.
Broncos quarterback John McCormick answered with a scoring drive of his own hitting Gene Prebola for a 12 yard TD to bring the Broncos within a score 13-10. Remember Lance Alworth and Lionel Taylor? These two number ones brought the flash to the receiver position long before the days of the electric slide and Iggy shuffle. Alworth caught an 85-yard bomb to extend the Charger lead back to 10, and Lionel Taylor caught a 24 yard TD to end the 1st half with the score at 20-17 Chargers.
The back and forth of the 1st half would not continue in the 2nd. In the 3rd quarter, Gene Mingo hit FG's of 41, 26, and 13 yards to give the Broncos a 6-point advantage. Backup Charger QB John Hadl entered the game following a Rote injury and continued the aerial onslaught with a scoring pass to Keith Lincoln to give the chargers their last lead of the game 27-26. From there, Lionel Taylor caught a 49-yard score, Donnie Stone ran one out from 39 yards, Goose Gonsoulin returned a pick-6 and the Broncos won 50-34 in a wild one.
Lionel Taylor led all receivers with 7 catches for 142 yards and 2 TD's. Goose Gonsoulin recorded 2 INT on the day.
Cool 63 Factoid
The AFL was still segregated from the NFL until the superbowl. It was comprised of two divisions, the East and the West. In the East the teams were the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, and New York Jets. The west featured the San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos.
Notable Broncos to wear #63:
Dave Costa 1967-1971
Mark Cooper 1983-1987
David Diaz-Infante 1996-1998, 2001