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In each year of its ten-year existence (1960–1969), numerous sports-news services named their choice for the American Football League's best first-year player. The choices by the major services are shown below.
In 1960, though drafted by the NFL, Haynes chose to play for the American Football League's Dallas Texans, and led the AFL in rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns in the league's first year. Haynes helped launch the AFL as the fledgling league's first Most Valuable Player, and its first Rookie of the Year (in 1961, all players in the league were technically rookies). He captured the AFL's first rushing crown with 875 yards, and also led the Texans in receiving, punt returns, and kickoff returns.
Despite being double and triple-teamed, Earl Faison was chosen as the AFL Rookie of the Year in 1961. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Faison blew by opposing offensive lineman on his way to smashing American Football League quarterbacks as one of the original "Fearsome Foursome", and was chosen to the AFL All-Star team in 1961.
McClinton had 604 Yards on 111 carries for a 5.4 yards per carry average and two touchdowns. He added 333 yards on 29 receptions and was a member of the 1962 AFL All-Star team.
An eleventh-round draft choice by the Broncos, Joe had 646 yards on 154 carries for a 4.2 yards per carry average, four rushing touchdowns, and a reception for a touchdown.
Selected in the third round in the NFL draft, Matt Snell was picked in the first round as the first player drafted by the AFL's New York franchise after new owner Sonny Werblin changed the team's name from the Titans of New York. Snell rolled up 948 yards on 215 carries, for a 4.4 yards per carry average, with an additional 393 yards on 56 receptions, with four touchdowns rushing and one receiving. He was also named to the 1964 AFL All-Star team.
Choosing the American Football League's Jets (and $427,000) over the NFL, Namath was 164 of 340 for 2,220 yards and 18 touchdowns in his rookie season for the Jets, and was selected to the 1965 AFL All-Star team.
Arkansas' Bobby Burnett had a combined total of 1,185 yards rushing and receiving at the halfback position, with over 12 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns on 34 receptions, and 766 yards on 187 rushes, with 4 rushing touchdowns. He was also selected to the 1966 AFL All-Star team.
George Webster created the "roverback" position, as a linebacker with a defensive back's moves and speed. He started as a rookie and had 15 tackles in his first game. The Oilers' defense held opponents under 200 points in 1967, helping them win the East Division title. He averaged more than ten tackles a game and was first-team All-AFL in 1967.
Dickie Post rushed for 691 yards and 7 touchdowns on 161 carries in 1967, and caught 32 passes with the Chargers for 278 yards and a touchdown. He made the AFL All-Star team in 1967 and would make it again in 1969.
Paul Robinson played only one year at the University of Arizona, but in his first year as a professional, he gained 1,023 yards rushing and scored eight touchdowns. He was named to the 1968 All-AFL team and led the Western AFL All-Star team to victory over the Eastern All-Stars.
The University of Cincinnati's 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback Greg Cook stayed in Cincinnati to play professional football. In his rookie year, he passed for 1,854 yards and 15 touchdowns. Injury prevented him from reaching his potential with the Bengals.
Carl Garrett caught 29 passes for 267 yards and two touchdowns in 1969, and ran the ball for over five yards per carry with 137 attempts for 691 yards and five touchdowns. He was also selected to the AFL All-Star team in 1969.