|1961 San Diego Chargers season|
|Head coach||Sid Gillman|
|General manager||Sid Gillman|
|Home field||Balboa Stadium|
|Division place||1st Western Division|
|Playoff finish||Lost AFL Championship (Houston Oilers, 10–3)|
The 1961 San Diego Chargers season was the team's second in the American Football League. It was the Chargers' first season in San Diego, where the team remained until 2017. The Chargers won their first eleven games and clinched the Western Division by mid-November, but only managed one victory in December. Like the previous season, the Chargers' season ended with a loss to the Houston Oilers in the AFL championship game, this time 10–3 at Balboa Stadium in San Diego.
The 1961 Chargers set a modern-era pro football record with 66 takeaways, most in AFL or NFL history. The Chargers also recorded the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in both league histories with nine, with the team recording a total of 49 interceptions for 929 yards, both NFL records.
|1||September 10||at Dallas Texans||W 26–10||1–0||Cotton Bowl||24,500||Recap|
|2||September 17||Oakland Raiders||W 44–0||2–0||Balboa Stadium||20,216||Recap|
|3||September 24||Houston Oilers||W 34–24||3–0||Balboa Stadium||29,210||Recap|
|4||September 30||at Buffalo Bills||W 19���11||4–0||War Memorial Stadium||20,742||Recap|
|5||October 7||at Boston Patriots||W 38–27||5–0||Boston University Field||17,748||Recap|
|6||October 15||at New York Titans||W 25–10||6–0||Polo Grounds||12,014||Recap|
|7||October 22||at Oakland Raiders||W 41–10||7–0||Candlestick Park||12,014||Recap|
|8||October 29||Denver Broncos||W 37–0||8–0||Balboa Stadium||32,584||Recap|
|9||November 5||New York Titans||W 48–13||9–0||Balboa Stadium||33,391||Recap|
|10||November 12||at Denver Broncos||W 19–16||10–0||Bears Stadium||7,859||Recap|
|11||November 19||Dallas Texans||W 24–14||11–0||Balboa Stadium||33,788||Recap|
|13||December 3||at Houston Oilers||L 13–33||11–1||Jeppesen Stadium||37,845||Recap|
|14||December 10||Buffalo Bills||W 28–10||12–1||Balboa Stadium||24,486||Recap|
|15||December 17||Boston Patriots||L 0–41||12–2||Balboa Stadium||21,339||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
|Championship||December 24||Houston Oilers||L 3–10||Balboa Stadium||29,556||Recap|
|AFL Western Division|
|San Diego Chargers||12||2||0||.857||6–0||396||219||L1|
Note: Tie games were not officially counted in the standings until 1972.
- "Keith's caper aids champs". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. November 13, 1961. p. 11.
- "Blanda stars as Oilers win AFL title, 10-3". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. December 25, 1961. p. 1S.
- "Blanda's arm and toe clear path as Houston takes 2d AFL crown". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. Associated Press. December 25, 1961. p. 14.
- Pro-Football-Reference.com: In a single season, from 1940 to 2011, in the regular season, sorted by descending Takeaways.
- "Bears picking on history". Pro Football Hall of Fame. October 29, 2012. Retrieved December 1, 2012.