There is a feeling among AFL fans that the American Football League players are consistently overlooked for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In truth there are many players, the bulk of whose careers were spent in the AFL, that deserve serious consideration, if not outright induction. In an effort to spark some discussion regarding their hall of fame worthiness, I will occasionally compare AFL players to their NFL (and Hall of Fame) counterparts. The short biographies on the NFL players have been taken directly from the Pro Football Hall of Fame website.
George Thomas Saimes…6th round selection by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1963 NFL Draft, joined the Bills in 1963… Five-time AFL All-Star, three-time First Team All-AFL… AFL champion in 1964 & 1965… Had 22 career interceptions… One of the most sure-handed tacklers in the AFL… Member of the Buffalo Bills Wall of Fame… AFL All-Time First Team member.
Larry Frank Wilson. . .Two-way star at Utah, No. 7 draft pick, 1960. . . Cat-like defender, exceptional team leader. . . Became NFL’s top free safety, made “safety blitz” famous. . . All-NFL six times. . . Played in eight Pro Bowl games. . .Had steals in seven straight games, led NFL interceptors, 1966. . .Once intercepted pass with both hands in casts. . . Had 52 career interceptions.
William Vernell “Willie” Wood. . .Signed as free agent, 1960. . .Soon developed into premier free safety. . .Played in six NFL championships, Super Bowls I, II, eight Pro Bowls. . .All-NFL six times. . .50-yard interception return key play in Super Bowl I. . . Career record: 48 interceptions, 699 yards, 2 TDs; 187 punt returns, 1,391 yards, 2 TDs. . .Led NFL in punt returns (1961), interceptions (1962).
Not as well-known as some other players, George Saimes was a safety in the mold of Johnny Robinson. A fantastic open-field tackler, and hard hitter, Saimes was key member of the great Bills defenses during their championship seasons of 1964 & 1965. Thoughts?
On a side note, Saimes was originally drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. Can you imagine him as a part of the legendary Kansas City defenses? George Saimes and Johnny Robinson as your two safeties? Holy smokes!