March 5, 1960

Further details filtering out of the league meetings fleshed out the allocation plan. Oakland was to select one player from each team per round. Teams would provide the first lists of protected and available players to Oakland by March 12 and the team would have ten days to make each round’s selections.

The league also announced they would observe a 75-mile blackout radius for the television broadcast of teams playing at home. The AFL had not yet completed a television pact, but were in negotiations, and planned a single league-wide contract. Revenue from the contract would be shared equally among the teams. This was in contrast to the NFL, whose teams negotiated individual contracts in each market.

Oakland Tribune

March 4, 1960

The AFL announced plans for what amounted to an expansion draft to stock the team. Each of the other seven teams were to protect eleven players. Oakland would be allowed five rounds of selections, seven players per round, for a total of 35 players. After each round, the teams would be allowed to make changes to their protected list if desired. The plan was approved on a 5-2 vote with the Titans and Chargers preferring a 22-man protected list. The league expected the first round to take place on or after March 20 with a week between each round.

Oakland Tribune

March 3, 1960

Early on the first morning of the league meeting in Oakland, commissioner Joe Foss and Oakland general manager Chet Soda made an announcement that 14 players had been assigned to the team:

George Blanch, a 6’0″, 195-pound halfback from Texas. A solid performer for the Longhorns in 1957 and 1958, he made UPI 2nd team All-Southwest Conference his junior year, but in his senior season, 1959, his performance faded on offense and he spent most of his time on the defensive side of the ball.

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March 1, 1960

The team hired 38-year-old Marty Feldman to join Eddie Erdelatz’s coaching staff. To take the job, Feldman left a job as an assistant at San Jose State, a position he had held since 1957. Prior to his stint there, he had been a head coach with Los Angeles Valley Junior College before move up to the assistant ranks at Stanford and New Mexico. His playing days had been spent as a guard at Stanford.

Meanwhile, preparations were underway for the upcoming league meetings. At the top of the agenda was the allocation of players to the Oakland club. Assistant AFL commissioner Milt Woodard said that all players drafted by the short-lived Minneapolis/St Paul club would have their rights assigned to Oakland, even those who had already signed with other clubs.

Oakland Tribune

February 23, 1960

Less than a month into the team’s existence it had its first change in ownership. Art Beckett was out and Roger Lapham, Jr., son of the former San Francisco mayor, was in. No reason for the switch was immediately given. In other news, the AFL announced it would hold a league meeting, March 3-4 in Oakland, to prepare the league schedule and discuss the allocation of players to the Oakland team.

Oakland Tribune

January 30, 1960

In another stunning reversal, the AFL awarded the eighth and final franchise to the city of Oakland. Much of the credit for the change went to Chargers owner Barron Hilton. Hilton, who had been out of town for previous votes, made a strong plea upon his return for choosing Oakland. And on the league’s fifth ballot, the California city was chosen unanimously. Commissioner Joe Foss gave three reasons for the decision: the creation of a west coast rival for Los Angeles, the Oakland community’s strong show of interest, and better geographic balance than would have been provided by a team in Atlanta. Foss also credited a strong presentation by Chet Soda, Wayne Valley, and in particular, Robert Osborne.

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January 29, 1960

Perfectly illustrating the uncertainty surrounding information coming from the AFL’s meeting in Dallas, the Atlanta bid, in a complete reversal of opinion, now appeared to be the shoo-in choice. A preliminary ballot among the seven team owners revealed a 6-1 vote in favor of the Georgia city over Oakland. George McKeon’s San Francisco proposal was now out of the running entirely. Spurred into action by the vote, the Oakland forces pulled out all the stops. Impassioned pleas for the city’s bid arrived in Dallas by telegram from mayor Clifford Rishell, congressman George Miller, and William Sparling of the Chamber of Commerce. On another front, councilman Frank Youell, in an appeal to San Francisco city officials, shamelessly went straight for the heart, asking them to allow an Oakland team to use one of their stadiums, reminding them how Oakland had opened its doors to San Franciscans after the 1906 earthquake.

Oakland Tribune

January 28, 1960

The news out of Dallas was that Atlanta was probably out of the running and that the competition was now between Chet Soda’s Oakland group and and George McKeon’s San Francisco assemblage. While the AFL continued their deliberations, Robert Osborne returned to Oakland to report to the city council. During the council’s meeting, they voted to put a measure on the June ballot to finance a stadium with revenue bonds.

Oakland Tribune

January 27, 1960

Developments in the Oakland ownership derby became more muddled. One of the potential bidders, Bill Jackson, had flown to Dallas to make a presentation, but after witnessing Chet Soda’s pitch, Jackson withdrew from the process, saying Soda had done a great job. However, back in the Bay Area, a fourth group emerged. This one was led by George McKeon, son of a local construction firm owner, and Kezar Stadium concessionaire Bernard Hagen. McKeon and Hagen had sent a telegram to the league asking for consideration of their bid for a team representing San Francisco.

In Dallas, the AFL continued to weigh their options. Observers thought Oakland now had the inside track and that the San Francisco bid seemed unlikely to get much support. These sources pointed out that the AFL had already invaded two NFL cities, New York and Los Angeles, and even a third, if Dallas counted. But the league was still clearly undecided. Bud Adams of Houston and Ralph Wilson of Buffalo were said to favor Atlanta, while Dallas’s Lamar Hunt and Barron Hilton in Los Angeles were Oakland backers. Aiding the Oakland position was confirmation by the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Commission that Kezar Stadium and Candlestick Park would be available as long as a team’s needs didn’t conflict with those of the Giants and 49ers.

Oakland Tribune

January 26, 1960

In Dallas, Chet Soda, supported by fellow investors Robert Osborne and San Leandro contractor Wayne Valley, made his presentation to the AFL. An Atlanta group was also there making a competing bid. No consensus had yet emerged, though some thought Houston owner Bud Adams  was leaning toward Atlanta because it would make for an easier split of the league into eastern and western divisions and because there was a strong untapped market for professional football in the South.

Oakland Tribune