San Diego Chargers
1963 - 1975
181 Games Played
9 Pro Bowls
Walter Francis Sweeney was a first round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers in the 1963 American Football League draft. He was the second player picked overall.
Walt attended Syracuse University. Playing mostly Offensive Guard, Walt was a key member of the Orangemen's offensive line. He blocked for 1961 Heisman Trophy Winner Ernie Davis for two years. He also helped Syracuse win the 1961 Liberty Bowl Game.
He was recognized as one of the top players in the country when he played in the North-South Game, Coaches All-Star Game, Senior Bowl, and Coaches All-America Game. Walt is a member of the Syracuse All-Century Team.
Walt did see action in his rookie year, mostly as a reserve. He got his hands on one kickoff and returned it 18 yards.
The Chargers would end up winning the 1963 AFL Championship. Sweeney was fully entrenched as the starting Right Guard in 1964, finishing that season being named to his first AFL All Star Team.
Sweeney would earn this distinction every year until the AFL merged with the NFL after the 1969 season. Walt would then earn a Pro Bowl berth the next two seasons up to the conclusion of the 1971 season.
His blocking opened up holes for such Chargers Legends like Keith Lincoln, Jacque MacKinnon, Paul Lowe, Dickie Post, Mike Garrett, and Don Woods.
He also protected great Quarterbacks like John Hadl, and Hall of Famers Johnny Unitas and Dan Fouts. He mostly played Guard, but versatile and smart enough to play anywhere along the offensive line when injuries would knock out the other starters.
After the 1973 season, Walt was traded to the Washington Redskins. He started the next two seasons for the Redskins before retiring after the 1975 season. Walt Sweeney is a member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.
Walt Sweeney is definitely one of the greatest offensive linemen to ever have played pro football. He is a member of the AFL's All-Time Team. He has been an immense success from college to the pros.
He was part of an exciting Chargers offense that was one of the best units to ever have played the game. He was a sound technician who was very athletic.
He was equally adept at pass blocking or pulling in front of some of the best rushers to have ever suited up in pads.
His exclusion from Canton can only be attributed to his AFL ties. He went to the same number of Pro Bowls as his teammate, Hall of Fame Left Tackle Ron Mix, but still waits to be called.
Hall of Fame Center Jim Ringo is the only Syracuse alumnus to have played in more Pro Bowls than Sweeney. He is tied with Hall of Fame Running Back Jim Brown as having the second most.
I find it amazing to see that this man has not had his long overdue induction into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame yet. This is obviously another case of being snubbed because of the NFL's hatred and envy of the AFL.
As time marches on, many of the newer voters will be those with little knowledge of the AFL. Walt's case may get more faint as these events transpire.
I suggest all real football fans wake up the Canton voters in their represented areas. Walt Sweeney most certainly deserves induction.
Notable NFL Players Drafted In 1963 (* Denotes Canton Inductee)
2. Jerry Stovall, DB, St. Louis Cardinals
5. Bob Vogel, OT, Baltimore Colts
6. Lee Roy Jordan, LB, Dallas
7. Pat Richter, WR/ P, Washington
13. Don Brumm, DE, St. Louis
14. Dave Robinson, LB, Green Bay
17. Bob Reynolds, OT, St. Louis
18. Ray Mansfeild, OT, Philadelphia
19. John Mackey, TE, Baltimore *
21. Walter Rock, OT, San Francisco
23. Jim Kanicki, DT, Cleveland
28. Tom Brown, DB, Green Bay
35. Ron Snidow, DE, Washington
44. Paul Flatley, WR, Minnesota
47. Jerry Logan, DB, Baltimore
55. Chuck Walton, G, Detroit
88. Lee Roy Caffey, LB, Philadelphia
89. Willie Richardson, WR, Baltimore
102. Tom Woodeshick, RB, Philadelphia
114. Willis Crenshaw, RB, St. Louis
129. Jackie Smith, TE, St. Louis *
136. Bill Nelsen, QB, Pittsburgh
144. Ralph Heck, LB, Philadelphia
145. Winston Hill, OT, Baltimore
146. Ray Schoenke, G, Dallas
152. Karl Kassulke, DB, Detroit
154. Marv Fleming, TE, Green Bay
157. Chuck Walker, G, Saint Louis
186. Nate Ramsey, DB, Philadelphia
220. Andy Russell, LB, Pittsburgh
241. Larry Stallings, LB, Saint Louis
259. Jim Turner, K, Washington
265. Buck Buchanan, DT, NY Giants *
278. Homer Jones, WR, NY Giants
1963 AFL Draft (Players Who Played In The AFL)
1. Buck Buchanan, DT, Dallas Texans *
5. Kermit Alexander, DB, Denver
9. Jim Dunaway, DT, Buffalo
21. Tom Janik, DB, Denver
48. George Saimes, DB, Texans
49. Dave Costa, DT, Oakland
56. Bobby Bell, LB, Texans *
60. Hewritt Dixon, RB, Denver
85. Billy Joe, RB, Denver
88. Jerrel Wilson, RB, Texans
188. Daryle Lamonica, QB, Buffalo
192. Dave Hill, OT, Texans
211. Dave Herman, OL, NY Jets
219. Mike Taliaferro, QB, NY Jets