May 1, 2012

MVP Profile: Paul Lowe, 1965


Halfback, San Diego Chargers



Age:  29 (Sept. 27)
6th season in pro football (5th active) & with Chargers
College: Oregon State
Height: 6’1”    Weight: 205

Prelude:
After failing to catch on as a free agent rookie with the San Francisco 49ers, Lowe joined the Chargers of the new AFL in 1960. Starting off as a reserve, he moved into the starting lineup with outstanding results, placing second in the league with 855 yards rushing and first with a 6.3-yard per carry average. He received consensus first-team All-AFL recognition. Another good year in ’61 was followed by his sitting out all of 1962 with a broken wrist suffered in training camp. But he came back strong in ’63, forming an outstanding backfield tandem with FB Keith Lincoln and gaining 1010 yards on the ground while averaging 5.7 yards. The Chargers won the league title and Lowe was chosen for the AFL All-Star Game. Lowe had a lesser, injury-plagued year in 1964, rushing for 496 yards as the team again topped the Western Division.

1965 Season Summary
Appeared in all 14 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 222 [2]
Most attempts, game - 21 (for 91 yds.) at Boston 10/17
Yards – 1121 [1]
Most yards, game – 157 yards (on 20 carries) vs. Houston 10/3
Average gain – 5.0 [1]
TDs – 6 [1, tied with Cookie Gilchrist, Curtis McClinton & Wray Carlton]
100-yard rushing games - 4

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 17       
Most receptions, game – 4 (for 31 yds.) at Boston 10/17, (for 57 yds.) at Denver 11/7
Yards – 126
Most yards, game - 57 (on 4 catches) at Denver 11/7
Average gain – 7.4
TDs – 1

Passing
Pass attempts – 4
Pass completions – 3
Passing yards – 81
TD passes – 0
Interceptions – 0

Scoring
TDs – 8 [7, tied with Willie Frazier]
Points – 48 [14, tied with Willie Frazier]

Postseason: 1 G (AFL Championship vs. Buffalo)
Rushing attempts – 12
Rushing yards – 57
Average gain rushing – 4.8
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 3
Pass receiving yards - 3
Average yards per reception – 1.0
Pass Receiving TDs - 0

Awards & Honors:
AFL Player of the Year: UPI, Sporting News
1st team All-AFL: League, AP, NEA, UPI, NY Daily News
AFL All-Star Game

Chargers went 9-2-3 to finish first in the Western Division while leading the AFL in total yards (5101), passing yards (3103), rushing (1998), scoring (340 points), and TDs (41). Lost AFL Championship to Buffalo Bills (23-0).

Aftermath:
Lowe was effective in 1966, running for 643 yards, but his career declined quickly thereafter. Suffering with a leg injury in ’67, he lost his starting job to Dickie Post and fell out with Head Coach Sid Gillman, with whom he had an uneasy relationship. Released early in the 1968 season, he caught on with the Kansas City Chiefs but saw little action. Upon his retirement, Lowe had rushed for 4995 yards on 1026 carries (4.9 avg.) and scored 38 TDs and added another 1045 yards on 111 pass receptions for 7 more scores.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). 

[Updated 2/9/14]