"John has great stats and you look at his stats and he's in the top ten and not to be recognized for that over a period of time is kind of sad. I feel that he played with some great teams and great coaches and had some great teammates and didn't get the recognition that he deserves."
Hadl's numbers support Alworth's statements.
Hadl played in 224 games and threw for 33,503 yards. His best years came with the San Diego Chargers; he threw for at least 3,000 yards three times for them, including back-to-back years in 1967 and 1968. He's 13th in league history in touchdown passes, 17th in passing yards, 18th in attempts, and 27th in completions.
Part of the problem was that Hadl's best years came in the infancy of the AFL, before the renegade league received much notice. Still, he was named to six Pro Bowls, including five straight (1964-69).
"Looking back at it," Alworth said. "Numerically - hey he deserves to be in there. He was a great football player. We've sent some numbers out to different people and hopefully they'll take a look at it and realize what the numbers really mean and the time at which they were put up.
"That says a lot he didn't have a lot of wide-open receivers to throw to because we were pretty closely covered during those days."
Like most AFL players he is fiercely proud of the league and its players. Alworth like other AFL veterans relished the AFL victories over the NFL in the Super Bowl.
"I always wanted to just shout at them," Alworth explained. "They (NFL) kept telling me how inferior we were and I played against the same guys in college and I knew we could play against them. I didn't feel like there was any difference as far as the caliber of athlete. It was just a matter of the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Boston Patriots or the San Diego Chargers - the names were new, but the playing wasn't and the players weren't and the systems weren't and that made a big difference as time went on.
"When Joe (Namath) finally did it I think we were all extremely happy about it because all of the sudden the parity was there that we knew was present."
Today Alworth, 65, is owner of All Aboard Mini Storage, which has locations in California.
"I've been very, very fortunate," Alworth observed. "I have a company that builds mini storage properties and we've done it for 25 years and we've joint ventured in the past with Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads and then I was allowed to buy some of the properties from them about 10 years ago. So it's been a great relationship and a great life and I feel very fortunate. You know you have to make a few mistakes in life and I've made my share, but the good Lord's given me an awful lot and I really appreciate it."
In tribute to John Hadl and Alworth's continuing efforts, we will be giving away a John Hadl autographed photo to anyone who signs up for a SDBoltReport.com 6-month or annual subscription over the next week. (While supplies last)