In the early days of the American Football League – I mean the real early days of 1960 and 1961 – the team routinely sent out of what was known as a “prospectus” in place of an actual printed press guide which have served media and fans alike since the 60s up until today (many teams are now offering such guides strictly online and not in print.) It included many of the elements found in today’s guide but with a league that had just started it contained much less.
In any case, each team’s publicity operation used all the tricks of the trade in making excuses for past failures along with reasons for optimism for the coming year. The franchise had been 14-14 over the first two campaigns and was still struggling in a battle for fans with the NFL’s Cowboys. To no surprise, excerpts from the Texans’ 1962 prospectus indicate that one of the reasons for the ho-hum record to date was the often-use “injury” bug.
“Few teams had sorrier luck injury wise than have the Texans,” lamented the 1962 prospectus, adding losses to Abner Haynes for three games and Jack Spikes, “who got off to a sensational start, missed eight (games).” The examples didn’t end there and it all had to do with “depth,” so the reasoning hasn’t changed much in the minds of team publicity agents over the past 50 years or more.
So, were injuries down in the championship year that was to come? As it turned out yes, but in the pre-season the Texans were also pinning a lot of their hopes on newcomers Curtis McClinton and “unanimous all-American James Saxton or second year man Frank Jackson,” who the Texans promoters called “the best-looking rookie back in the league at the end of the ’61 season.” Should Chris Burford be injured (and he eventually was) then “Miami’s all-American Bill Miller is handy as is the versatile Saxton,” the prospectus offered. Miller played flanker opposite Burford and did contribute to the 1962 champions, pulling down 23 catches for 277 yards and finishing behind Burford, Haynes, Arbanas and McClinton in receptions. But 1962 was to be his only season for the team as it was for Saxton.
Seeing that the prospectus was produced before the arrival of Len Dawson, Cotton Davidson’s backups were the highly thought of Eddie Wilson of Arizona and Bobby Ply of Baylor. Wilson’s career didn’t turn out as club officials had expected and he played a short three seasons from 1962-64, but did serve as the team’s punter during the 1962 championship run.
Defensively, the addition of Mel Branch, Curt Merz and Bill Hull, who at 6’6” and 245 helped buoy the team’s hopes. Hull went on to make one of the key plays in the team’s eventual championship that year against the Houston Oilers, but he, too, was a short-timer and gone after one season.