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.
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.
Houston owner Bud Adams announced that his team would be called the Oilers and that he had four candidates for head coach: Oklahoma’s Bud Wilkinson, Iowa’s Forest Evashevski, former Baylor coach George Sauer, and Sammy Baugh, now coaching Hardin-Simmons.
The AFL completed a two-day meeting of team owners during with they discussed a variety of topics. Barron Hilton confirmed that he had offered a contract for the head coaching spot to Eddie Erdelatz and had approached former Notre Dame head coach Frank Leahy to be the general manager. Bud Adams of Houston said he had talked with a pair of men, former Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh and current Navy coach George Sauer, about coaching his team.
Lamar Hunt announced the league’s intention to field eight teams playing a 14-game home-and-home round robin schedule. He added that the field of potential cities for the two remaining spots had been winnowed to Buffalo, Kansas City, Louisville, Miami, San Diego, and San Francisco. Observers believed that at least one of the two California cities had an inside track, as Hilton was lobbying hard to get another West Coast team to pair with his in Los Angeles.
New York owner Harry Wismer announced that he had put together a deal for his team to play in the Polo Grounds.
Dallas owner Lamar Hunt and Houston owner Bud Adams each reported receiving an offer from an unnamed NFL team owner to join the older league. NFL commissioner Bert Bell said he was mystified by the report, citing the need for formal league approval to make such an offer.
A UPI story announced that the AFL had its first official meeting in Chicago. Along with Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams, Barron Hilton was there to represent Los Angeles. Denver was represented by Robert Howsam, New York was represented by Harry Wismer, and the Minneapolis franchise was represented by Bill Boyer, a local businessman, and Max Winter, who at one time owned a piece of the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers.
So far, the response from the NFL and their teams was muted, though Vince Lombardi, about to embark on his first season as head coach of the Green Bay Packers, thought there was “plenty of talent around to support two leagues.”
Meanwhile the rumors about what cities might be added to the AFL continued to circulate. The current set included San Francisco, Kansas City, and New Orleans.
More announcements appeared concerning the new league. Bud Adams, another son of a fabulously rich Texas oil magnate, was named as the principal figure of the Houston franchise. And in other news, the next in a dizzying series of rumors about potential AFL cities: Seattle, this time.