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The American Football League
American Football League
(AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League
National Football League
(NFL). The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the American Football League (1926), American Football League
American Football League
(1936), American Football League (1940), and the later All-America Football Conference
All-America Football Conference
((1944-1950), played 1946-1949). This fourth version of the AFL was the most successful, created by a number of owners who had been refused NFL expansion franchises or had minor shares of NFL franchises. The AFL's original lineup consisted of an Eastern division of the New York Titans, Boston
Boston
Patriots, Buffalo Bills, and the Houston
Houston
Oilers, and a Western division of the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver
Denver
Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Dallas
Dallas
Texans. The league first gained attention by signing 75% of the NFL's first-round draft choices in 1960, including Houston's successful signing of college star and Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon. While the first years of the AFL saw uneven competition and low attendance, the league was buttressed by a generous television contract with the American Broadcasting Company
American Broadcasting Company
(ABC) (followed by a contract with competing National Broadcasting Company
National Broadcasting Company
(NBC) for games starting with the 1965 season) that broadcast the more offense-oriented football league nationwide. Continuing to attract top talent from colleges and the NFL by the mid-1960s, as well as successful franchise shifts of the Chargers from L.A. south to San Diego and the Texans north to Kansas City (becoming the Kansas City Chiefs), the AFL established a dedicated following. The transformation of the struggling Titans into the New York Jets
New York Jets
under new ownership further solidified the league's reputation among the major media. As fierce competition made player salaries skyrocket in both leagues, especially after a series of "raids", the leagues agreed to a merger in 1966. Among the conditions were a common draft and a championship game played between the two league champions first played in early 1967, which would eventually become known as the Super Bowl. The AFL and NFL operated as separate leagues until 1970, with separate regular season and playoff schedules except for the championship game. During this time the AFL expanded, adding the Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
and Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals. After losses by Kansas City and Oakland in the first two AFL-NFL National Championship Games to the Green Bay Packers (1967/1968), the New York Jets
New York Jets
and Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
won Super Bowls III and IV (1969/1970) respectively, cementing the league's claim to being an equal to the NFL. In 1970, the AFL was absorbed into the NFL and the league reorganized with the ten AFL franchises along with the previous NFL teams Baltimore
Baltimore
Colts, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
becoming part of the newly-formed American Football Conference.

Contents

1 League history

1.1 The AFL draft 1.2 Crisis and success (1960–61) 1.3 Movement and instability (1962–63) 1.4 Watershed years (1964–65) 1.5 Escalation and merger (1966–67) 1.6 Legitimacy and the end of an era (1968–70)

2 Legacy

2.1 Overview 2.2 Rule changes 2.3 Television 2.4 Expanding and reintroducing the sport to more cities 2.5 Effects on players 2.6 Influence on professional football coaching

3 AFL 50th Anniversary Celebration 4 AFL franchises 5 AFL playoffs 6 AFL Championship Games 7 AFL All-Star games 8 All-Time AFL Team 9 AFL records 10 Players, coaches, and contributors

10.1 Commissioners/Presidents of the American Football League

11 See also 12 Footnotes 13 References 14 External links

League history[edit] During the 1950s, the National Football League
National Football League
had grown to rival Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
as one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the United States. One franchise that did not share in this newfound success of the league was the Chicago
Chicago
Cardinals - owned by the Bidwill family - who had become overshadowed by the more popular Chicago
Chicago
Bears. The Windmills hoped to relocate their franchise, preferably to St. Louis
St. Louis
but could not come to terms with the league on a relocation fee. Needing cash, the Bidwills began entertaining offers from would-be investors, and one of the men who approached the Bidwills was Lamar Hunt, son and heir of millionaire oilman H. L. Hunt.[1] Hunt offered to buy the Cardinals and move them to Dallas, where he had grown up. However, these negotiations came to nothing, since the Bidwills insisted on retaining a controlling interest in the franchise and were unwilling to move their team to a city where a previous NFL franchise had failed in 1952. While Hunt negotiated with the Bidwills, similar offers were made by Bud Adams, Bob Howsam, and Max Winter.[2] When Hunt, Adams, and Howsam were unable to secure a controlling interest in the Cardinals, they approached NFL commissioner Bert Bell and proposed the addition of expansion teams. Bell, wary of expanding the 12-team league and risking its newfound success, rejected the offer.[3] On his return flight to Dallas, Hunt conceived the idea of an entirely new league and decided to contact the others who had shown interest in purchasing the Cardinals. He contacted Adams, Howsam, and Winter (as well as Winter's business partner, Bill Boyer) to gauge their interest in starting a new league. Hunt's first meeting with Adams was held in March 1959.[4] Hunt, who felt a regional rivalry would be critical for the success of the new league, convinced Adams to join and found his team in Houston. Hunt next secured an agreement from Howsam to bring a team to Denver.[5] After Winter and Boyer agreed to start a team in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, the new league had its first four teams. Hunt then approached Willard Rhodes, who hoped to bring pro football to Seattle. However, the University of Washington
University of Washington
was unwilling to let the fledgling league use Husky Stadium, probably due to the excessive wear and tear that would have been caused to the facility's grass surface (the stadium now has an artificial surface, and Seattle
Seattle
would gain entry into the NFL in 1976 with the Seattle
Seattle
Seahawks). With no place for his team to play, Rhodes' effort came to nothing.[6] Hunt also sought franchises in Los Angeles, Buffalo and New York City. During the summer of 1959, he sought the blessings of the NFL for his nascent league, as he did not seek a potentially costly rivalry. Within weeks of the July 1959 announcement of the league's formation, Hunt received commitments from Barron Hilton
Barron Hilton
and Harry Wismer
Harry Wismer
to bring teams to Los Angeles and New York, respectively.[7] His initial efforts for Buffalo, however, were rebuffed, when Hunt's first choice of owner, Pat McGroder, declined to take part; McGroder had hoped that the threat of the AFL would be enough to prompt the NFL to expand to Buffalo.[8] On August 14, 1959, the first league meeting was held in Chicago, and charter memberships were given to Dallas, New York, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. On August 22 the league officially was named the American Football League
American Football League
at a meeting in Dallas. The NFL's initial reaction was not as openly hostile as it had been with the earlier All-America Football Conference
All-America Football Conference
(Bell had even given his public approval), yet individual NFL owners soon began a campaign to undermine the new league. AFL owners were approached with promises of new NFL franchises or ownership stakes in existing ones. Only the party from Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Minneapolis-Saint Paul
accepted, and the Minnesota group joined the NFL the next year in 1961; the Minneapolis-Saint Paul group were joined by Ole Haugsrud and Bernie Ridder in the new NFL team's ownership group, which was named the Minnesota Vikings. The older league also announced on August 29 that it had conveniently reversed its position against expansion, and planned to bring NFL expansion teams to Houston
Houston
and Dallas, to start play in 1961.[9] (The NFL did not expand to Houston
Houston
at that time, the promised Dallas
Dallas
team – the Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys – actually started play in 1960, and the Vikings began play in 1961.) Finally, the NFL quickly came to terms with the Bidwills and allowed them to relocate the struggling Cardinals to St. Louis, eliminating that city as a potential AFL market. Ralph Wilson, who owned a minority interest in the NFL's Detroit Lions at the time, initially announced he was placing a team in Miami, but like the Seattle
Seattle
situation, was also rebuffed by local ownership; given five other choices, Wilson negotiated with McGroder and brought the team that would become the Bills to Buffalo. Buffalo was officially awarded its franchise on October 28. During a league meeting on November 22, a 10-man ownership group from Boston
Boston
(led by Billy Sullivan) was awarded the AFL's eighth team.[10] On November 30, 1959, Joe Foss, a World War II Marine fighter ace and former governor of South Dakota, was named the AFL's first commissioner. Foss commissioned a friend of Harry Wismer's to develop the AFL's eagle-on-football logo. Hunt was elected President of the AFL on January 26, 1960. The AFL draft[edit] Further information: American Football League
American Football League
draft The AFL's first draft took place the same day Boston
Boston
was awarded its franchise, and lasted 33 rounds. The league held a second draft on December 2, which lasted for 20 rounds. Because the Raiders joined after the AFL draft, they inherited Minnesota's selections.[11][12] A special allocation draft was held in January 1960, to allow the Raiders to stock their team, as some of the other AFL teams had already signed some of Minneapolis' original draft choices. Crisis and success (1960–61)[edit] In November 1959, Minneapolis-Saint Paul
Minneapolis-Saint Paul
owner Max Winter
Max Winter
announced his intent to leave the AFL to accept a franchise offer from the NFL. In 1961, his team began play in the NFL as the Minnesota Vikings. Los Angeles Chargers owner Barron Hilton
Barron Hilton
demanded that a replacement for Minnesota be placed in California, to reduce his team's operating costs and to create a rivalry. After a brief search, Oakland was chosen and an ownership group led by F. Wayne Valley and local real estate developer Chet Soda
Chet Soda
was formed. After initially being called the Oakland "Señores", the Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
officially joined the AFL on January 30, 1960. The AFL's first major success came when the Houston
Houston
Oilers signed Billy Cannon, the All-American and 1959 Heisman Trophy winner from LSU. Cannon signed a $100,000 contract to play for the Oilers, despite having already signed a $50,000 contract with the NFL's Los Angeles Rams. The Oilers filed suit and claimed that Rams general manager Pete Rozelle had unduly manipulated Cannon. The court upheld the Houston contract, and with Cannon the Oilers appeared in the AFL's first three championship games (winning two).[13][14] On June 9, 1960, the league signed a five-year television contract with ABC, which brought in revenues of approximately US$2,125,000 per year for the entire league. On June 17, the AFL filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, which was dismissed in 1962 after a two-month trial.[13] The AFL began regular-season play (a night game on Friday, September 9, 1960) with eight teams in the league — the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas
Dallas
Texans, Denver
Denver
Broncos, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Titans, and Oakland Raiders. Raiders' co-owner Wayne Valley dubbed the AFL ownership "The Foolish Club", a term Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
subsequently used on team photographs he sent as Christmas gifts.[15] The Oilers became the first-ever league champions by defeating the Chargers, 24–16, in the AFL Championship on January 1, 1961. Attendance for the 1960 season was respectable for a new league, but not nearly that of the NFL. In 1960, the NFL averaged attendance of more than 40,000 fans per game and more popular NFL teams in 1960 regularly saw attendance figures in excess of 50,000 per game,[16] while CFL attendances averaged approximately 20,000 per game.[17] By comparison, AFL attendance averaged about 16,500 per game and generally hovered between 10,000-20,000 per game. Professional football was still primarily a gate-driven business in 1960, so low attendance meant financial losses. The Raiders, with a league-worst average attendance of just 9,612, lost $500,000 in their first year and only survived after receiving a $400,000 loan from Bills owner Ralph Wilson.[18] In an early sign of stability, however, the AFL did not lose any teams after its first year of operation. In fact, the only major change was the relocation of the Chargers from Los Angeles to nearby San Diego
San Diego
(they would return to Los Angeles in 2017). On August 8, 1961, the AFL challenged the Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
to an exhibition game that would feature the Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton Tiger-Cats
and the Buffalo Bills, which was attended by 24,376 spectators.[19] Playing at Civic Stadium in Hamilton, Ontario, the Tiger-Cats defeated the Bills 38–21 playing a mix of AFL and CFL rules. Movement and instability (1962–63)[edit] While the Oilers found instant success in the AFL, other teams did not fare as well. The Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
and New York Titans struggled on and off the field during their first few seasons in the league. Oakland's eight-man ownership group was reduced to just three in 1961, after heavy financial losses in their first season.[20] Attendance for home games was poor, partly due to the team playing in the San Francisco Bay Area—which already had an established NFL team (the San Francisco 49ers)—but the product on the field was also to blame. After winning six games in their debut season, the Raiders won a total of three times in the 1961 and 1962 seasons. Oakland took part in a 1961 supplemental draft meant to boost the weaker teams in the league, but it did little good. They participated in another such draft in 1962.[13] The Titans fared a little better on the field but had their own financial troubles. Attendance was so low for home games that team owner Harry Wismer
Harry Wismer
had fans move to seats closer to the field to give the illusion of a fuller stadium on television.[21] Eventually Wismer could no longer afford to meet his payroll, and on November 8, 1962 the AFL took over operations of the team. The Titans were sold to a five-person ownership group headed by Sonny Werblin on March 28, 1963, and in April the new owners changed the team's name to the New York Jets.[22][23] The Raiders and Titans both finished last in their respective divisions in the 1962 season.[24] The Texans and Oilers, winners of their divisions, faced each other for the 1962 AFL Championship on December 23. The Texans dethroned the two-time champion Oilers, 20–17, in a double-overtime contest that was, at the time, professional football's longest-ever game.[13] In 1963, the Texans became the second AFL team to relocate. Lamar Hunt felt that despite winning the league championship in 1962, the Texans could not succeed financially competing in the same market as the Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys, which entered the NFL as an expansion franchise in 1960. After meetings with New Orleans, Atlanta, and Miami, Hunt announced on May 22 that the Texans' new home would be Kansas City, Missouri. Kansas City mayor Harold Roe Bartle
Harold Roe Bartle
(nicknamed "Chief") was instrumental in his city's success in attracting the team. Partly to honor Bartle, the franchise officially became the Kansas City Chiefs on May 26.[25] The San Diego
San Diego
Chargers, under head coach Sid Gillman, won a decisive 51–10 victory over the Boston
Boston
Patriots for the 1963 AFL Championship. Confident that his team was capable of beating the NFL-champion Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
(he had the Chargers' rings inscribed with the phrase "World Champions"), Gillman approached NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle
Pete Rozelle
and proposed a final championship game between the two teams. Rozelle declined the offer; however, the game would be instituted three seasons later.[26] Watershed years (1964–65)[edit] A series of events throughout the next few years demonstrated the AFL's ability to achieve a greater level of equality with the NFL. On January 29, 1964, the AFL signed a lucrative $36 million television contract with NBC
NBC
(beginning in the 1965 season), which gave the league money it needed to compete with the NFL for players. Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney was quoted as saying to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle
Pete Rozelle
that "They don't have to call us 'Mister' anymore". A single-game attendance record was set on November 8, 1964, when 61,929 fans packed Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium
to watch the New York Jets
New York Jets
and Buffalo Bills. The bidding war for players between the AFL and NFL escalated in 1965. The Chiefs drafted University of Kansas
University of Kansas
star Gale Sayers
Gale Sayers
in the first round of the 1965 AFL draft (held November 28, 1964), while the Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
did the same in the NFL draft. Sayers eventually signed with the Bears.[25] A similar situation occurred when the New York Jets and the NFL's St. Louis
St. Louis
Cardinals both drafted University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath. In what was viewed as a key victory for the AFL, Namath signed a $427,000 contract with the Jets on January 2, 1965 (the deal included a new car). It was the highest amount of money ever paid to a collegiate football player, and is cited as the strongest contributing factor to the eventual merger between the two leagues.[27] After the 1963 season, the Newark Bears of the Atlantic Coast Football League expressed interest in joining the AFL;[28] concerns over having to split the New York metro area with the still-uncertain Jets were a factor in the Bears bid being rejected. In 1965, Milwaukee
Milwaukee
officials tried to lure an expansion team to play at Milwaukee
Milwaukee
County Stadium where the Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
had played parts of their home schedule after an unsuccessful attempt to lure the Packers there full-time, but Packers head coach Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi
invoked the team's exclusive lease as well as sign an extension to keep some home games in Milwaukee until 1976.[29] In early 1965, the AFL awarded its first expansion team to Rankin Smith of Atlanta. The NFL quickly counteroffered Smith a franchise, which Smith accepted; the Atlanta
Atlanta
Falcons began play as an NFL franchise. In March 1965, Joe Robbie had met with Commissioner Foss to inquire about an expansion franchise for Miami. On May 6, after Atlanta's exit, Robbie secured an agreement with Miami
Miami
mayor Robert King High to bring a team to Miami. League expansion was approved at a meeting held on June 7, and on August 16 the AFL's ninth franchise was officially awarded to Robbie and television star Danny Thomas. The Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
joined the league for a fee of $7.5 million and started play in the AFL's Eastern Division in 1966.[30] The AFL also planned to add two more teams by 1967.[29] Escalation and merger (1966–67)[edit] Further information: AFL–NFL merger In 1966, the rivalry between the AFL and NFL reached an all-time peak. On April 7, Joe Foss
Joe Foss
resigned as AFL commissioner. His successor was Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
head coach and general manager Al Davis, who had been instrumental in turning around the fortunes of that franchise. No longer content with trying to outbid the NFL for college talent, the AFL under Davis started to recruit players already on NFL squads. Davis's strategy focused on quarterbacks in particular, and in two months he persuaded seven NFL quarterbacks to sign with the AFL.[31] Although Davis's intention was to help the AFL win the bidding war, some AFL and NFL owners saw the escalation as detrimental to both leagues. Alarmed with the rate of spending in the league, Hilton Hotels forced Barron Hilton
Barron Hilton
to relinquish his stake in the Chargers as a condition of maintaining his leadership role with the hotel chain.[32] The same month Davis was named commissioner, several NFL owners, along with Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm, secretly approached Lamar Hunt
Lamar Hunt
and other AFL owners and asked the AFL to merge. They held a series of secret meetings in Dallas
Dallas
to discuss their concerns over rapidly increasing player salaries, as well as the practice of player poaching. Hunt and Schramm completed the basic groundwork for a merger of the two leagues by the end of May, and on June 8, 1966, the merger was officially announced. Under the terms of the agreement, the two leagues would hold a common player draft. The agreement also called for a title game to be played between the champions of the respective leagues. The two leagues would be fully merged by 1970, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle
Pete Rozelle
would remain as commissioner of the merged league, which would be named the NFL. Additional expansion teams would eventually be awarded by 1970 or soon thereafter to bring it to a 28-team league. The AFL also agreed to pay indemnities of $18 million to the NFL over 20 years. In protest, Davis resigned as AFL commissioner on July 25 rather than remain until the completion of the merger, and Milt Woodard
Milt Woodard
was named President of the AFL.[27][33][34] On January 15, 1967, the first-ever World Championship Game between the champions of the two separate professional football leagues, the AFL-NFL Championship Game (retroactively referred to as Super Bowl
Super Bowl
I), was played in Los Angeles. After a close first half, the NFL champion Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
overwhelmed the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs, 35–10. The loss reinforced for many the notion that the AFL was an inferior league. Packers head coach Vince Lombardi
Vince Lombardi
stated after the game, "I do not think they are as good as the top teams in the National Football League."[27] The second AFL-NFL Championship ( Super Bowl
Super Bowl
II) yielded a similar result. The Oakland Raiders—who had easily beaten the Houston
Houston
Oilers to win their first AFL championship—were overmatched by the Packers, 33–14. The more experienced Packers capitalized on a number of Raiders miscues and never trailed. Green Bay defensive tackle Henry Jordan offered a compliment to Oakland and the AFL, when he said, "... the AFL is becoming much more sophisticated on offense. I think the league has always had good personnel, but the blocks were subtler and better conceived in this game."[35] The AFL added its tenth and final team on May 24, 1967, when it awarded the league's second expansion franchise to an ownership group from Cincinnati, Ohio, headed by NFL legend Paul Brown.[20] Although Brown had intended to join the NFL, he agreed to join the AFL when he learned that his team would be included in the NFL once the merger was completed.[36] The Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati Bengals
began play in the 1968 season, finishing last in the Western Division. Legitimacy and the end of an era (1968–70)[edit] While many AFL players and observers believed their league was the equal of the NFL, their first two Super Bowl
Super Bowl
performances did nothing to prove it. However, on November 17, 1968, when NBC
NBC
cut away from a game between the Jets and Raiders to air the children's movie Heidi, the ensuing uproar helped disprove the notion that fans still considered the AFL an inferior product. The perception of AFL inferiority forever changed on January 12, 1969, when the AFL Champion New York Jets
New York Jets
shocked the heavily favored NFL Champion Baltimore
Baltimore
Colts in Super Bowl
Super Bowl
III. The Colts, who entered the contest favored by as many as 18 points, had completed the 1968 NFL season with a 13–1 record, and won the NFL title with a convincing 34–0 win over the Cleveland Browns. Led by their stalwart defense—which allowed a record-low 144 points—the 1968 Colts were considered one of the best-ever NFL teams.[37][38] By contrast, the Jets had allowed 280 points, the highest total for any division winner in the two leagues. They had also only narrowly beaten the favored Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
27–23 in the AFL championship game. Jets quarterback Joe Namath
Joe Namath
recalled that in the days leading up to the game, he grew increasingly angry when told New York had no chance to beat Baltimore. Three days before the game, a frustrated Namath responded to a heckler at the Touchdown Club in Miami
Miami
by declaring, "We're going to win Sunday, I'll guarantee you."[27][34][39] Namath and the Jets made good on his guarantee as they held the Colts scoreless until late in the fourth quarter. The Jets won, 16–7, in what is considered one of the greatest upsets in American sports history.[40][41][42][43] With the win, the AFL finally achieved parity with the NFL and legitimized the merger of the two leagues.[37] That notion was reinforced one year later in Super Bowl
Super Bowl
IV, when the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
upset the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings, 23–7, in the last championship game to be played between the two leagues. The Vikings, favored by 12½ points, were held to just 67 rushing yards.[44] The last game in AFL history was the AFL All-Star Game, held in Houston's Astrodome
Astrodome
on January 17, 1970. The Western All-Stars, led by Chargers quarterback John Hadl, defeated the Eastern All-Stars, 26–3. Buffalo rookie back O.J. Simpson carried the ball for the last play in AFL history. Hadl was named the game's Most Valuable Player.[45] Prior to the start of the 1970 NFL season, the merged league was organized into two conferences of three divisions each. All ten AFL teams made up the bulk of the new American Football Conference. To avoid having an inequitable number of teams in each conference, the leagues voted to move three NFL teams to the AFC. Motivated by the prospect of an intrastate rivalry with the Bengals as well as by personal animosity toward Paul Brown, Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
owner Art Modell quickly offered to include his team in the AFC. He helped persuade the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
(the Browns' archrivals) and Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
(who shared the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. market with the Washington Redskins) to follow suit, and each team received US $3 million to make the switch.[46][47] All the other NFL squads became part of the National Football Conference. Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
receiver Charlie Joiner, who started his career with the Houston
Houston
Oilers (1969), was the last AFL player active in professional football, retiring after the 1986 season, when he played for the San Diego
San Diego
Chargers. Legacy[edit] Overview[edit] The American Football League
American Football League
stands as the only professional football league to successfully compete against the NFL. When the two leagues merged in 1970, all ten AFL franchises and their statistics became part of the new NFL. Every other professional league that had competed against the NFL before the AFL–NFL merger
AFL–NFL merger
had folded completely: the three previous leagues named "American Football League" and the All-America Football Conference. From an earlier AFL (1936–1937), only the Cleveland Rams (now the Los Angeles Rams) joined the NFL and are currently operating, as are the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
and the San Francisco 49ers from the AAFC. A third AAFC team, the Baltimore
Baltimore
Colts (not related to the 1953–1983 Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
or to the current Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis Colts
franchise), played only one year in the NFL, disbanding at the end of the 1950 season.[34] The league resulting from the merger was a 26-team juggernaut (since expanded to 32) with television rights covering all of the Big Three television networks and teams in close proximity to almost all of the top 40 metropolitan areas, a fact that has precluded any other competing league from gaining traction since the merger; failed attempts to mimic the AFL's success included the World Football League
World Football League
(1974–75), United States Football League (1983–85), XFL
XFL
(2001) and United Football League (2009–2012). The AFL was also the most successful of numerous upstart leagues of the 1960s and 1970s that attempted to challenge a major professional league's dominance. All nine teams that were in the AFL at the time the merger was agreed upon were accepted into the league intact (as was the tenth team added between the time of the merger's agreement and finalization), and none of the AFL's teams have ever folded. For comparison, the World Hockey Association
World Hockey Association
(1972–79) managed to have four of its six remaining teams merged into the National Hockey League, which actually caused the older league to contract a franchise, but WHA teams were forced to disperse the majority of their rosters and restart as expansion teams. The merged WHA teams were also not financially sound (in large part from the hefty expansion fees the NHL imposed on them), and three of the four were forced to relocate within 20 years. The American Basketball Association
American Basketball Association
(1967–76) managed to have only four of its teams merged into the National Basketball Association, and the rest of the league was forced to fold. Both the WHA and ABA lost several teams to financial insolvency over the course of their existences. The Continental League, a proposed third league for Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
that was to begin play in 1961, never played a single game, largely because MLB responded to the proposal by expanding to four of that league's proposed cities. Historically, the only other professional sports league in the United States to exhibit a comparable level of franchise stability from its inception was the American League
American League
of Major League Baseball. Rule changes[edit] The NFL adopted some of the innovations introduced by the AFL immediately and a few others in the years following the merger. One was including the names on player jerseys. The older league also adopted the practice of using the stadium scoreboard clocks to keep track of the official game time, instead of just having a stopwatch used by the referee. The AFL played a 14-game schedule for its entire existence, starting in 1960. The NFL, which had played a 12-game schedule since 1947, changed to a 14-game schedule in 1961, a year after the American Football League
American Football League
instituted it. The AFL also introduced the two-point conversion to professional football thirty-four years before the NFL instituted it in 1994 (college football had adopted the two-point conversion in the late 1950s). All of these innovations pioneered by the AFL, including its more exciting style of play and colorful uniforms, have essentially made today's professional football more like the AFL than like the old-line NFL. The AFL's challenge to the NFL also laid the groundwork for the Super Bowl, which has become the standard for championship contests in the United States of America. Television[edit] The NFL also adapted how the AFL used the growing power of televised football games, which were bolstered with the help of major network contracts (first with ABC and later with NBC[48]). With that first contract with ABC, the AFL adopted the first-ever cooperative television plan for professional football, in which the proceeds were divided equally among member clubs. It featured many outstanding games, such as the classic 1962 double-overtime American Football League championship game between the Dallas
Dallas
Texans and the defending champion Houston
Houston
Oilers. At the time it was the longest professional football championship game ever played. The AFL also appealed to fans by offering a flashier style of play (just like the ABA in basketball), compared to the more conservative game of the NFL. Long passes ("bombs") were commonplace in AFL offenses, led by such talented quarterbacks as John Hadl, Daryle Lamonica and Len Dawson. Despite having a national television contract, the AFL often found itself trying to gain a foothold, only to come up against roadblocks. For example, CBS-TV, which broadcast NFL games, ignored and did not report scores from the innovative AFL, on orders from the NFL. It was only after the merger agreement was announced that CBS began to give AFL scores. Expanding and reintroducing the sport to more cities[edit] The AFL took advantage of the burgeoning popularity of football by locating teams in major cities that lacked NFL franchises. Hunt's vision not only brought a new professional football league to California
California
and New York, but introduced the sport to Colorado, restored it to Texas
Texas
and later to fast-growing Florida, as well as bringing it to New England
New England
for the first time in 12 years. Buffalo, having lost its original NFL franchise in 1929 and turned down by the NFL at least twice (1940 and 1950) for a replacement, returned to the NFL with the merger. The return of football to Kansas City was the first time that city had seen professional football since the NFL's Kansas City Blues/Cowboys of the 1920s; the arrival of the Chiefs, and the contemporary arrival of the St. Louis
St. Louis
Football Cardinals, brought professional football back to Missouri for the first time since the temporary St. Louis
St. Louis
Gunners of 1934. If not for the AFL, at least 17 of today's NFL teams would probably never have existed: the ten teams from the AFL, and seven clubs that were instigated by the AFL's presence to some degree. Three NFL franchises were awarded as a direct result of the AFL's competition with the older league: the Minnesota Vikings, who were awarded to Max Winter in exchange for dropping his bid to join the AFL; the Atlanta Falcons, whose franchise went to Rankin Smith to dissuade him from purchasing the AFL's Miami
Miami
Dolphins; and the New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints, because of successful anti-trust legislation which let the two leagues merge, and was supported by several Louisiana politicians. In the case of the Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys, the NFL had long sought to return to the Dallas
Dallas
area after the Dallas
Dallas
Texans folded in 1952, but was originally met with strong opposition by Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
owner George Preston Marshall, who had enjoyed a monopoly as the only NFL team to represent the American South. Marshall later changed his position after future-Cowboys owner Clint Murchison bought the rights to Washington's fight song "Hail to the Redskins" and threatened to prevent Marshall from playing it at games. By then, the NFL wanted to quickly award the new Dallas
Dallas
franchise to Murchison so the team could immediately begin play and complete with the AFL's Texans. As a result, the Cowboys played its inaugural season in 1960 without the benefit of the NFL draft. As part of the merger agreement, additional expansion teams would be awarded by 1970 or soon thereafter to bring the league to 28 franchises; this requirement was fulfilled when the Seattle
Seattle
Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
began play in 1976. In addition, had it not been for the existence of the Oilers from 1960 to 1996, the Houston
Houston
Texans also would likely not exist today; the 2002 expansion team restored professional football in Houston
Houston
after the original charter AFL member Oilers relocated to become the Tennessee Titans. Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas
Dallas
Morning News has argued that the presence of AFL and the subsequent merger radically altered the fortunes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, saving the team "from stinking".[49] Before the merger, the Steelers had long been one of the NFL's worst teams. Constantly lacking the money to build a quality team, the Steelers had only posted eight winning seasons, and just one playoff appearance, since their first year of existence in 1933 until the end of the 1969 season. They also finished with a 1-13 record in 1969, tied with the Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
for the worst record in the NFL. The $3 million indemnity that the Steelers received for joining the AFC with the rest of the former AFL teams after the merger helped them rebuild into a contender, drafting eventual-Pro Football Hall of Famers like Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw
and Joe Greene, and ultimately winning four Super Bowls in the 1970s.[49] Since the 1970 merger, the Steelers have the NFL's highest winning percentage, the most total victories, the most trips to either conference championship game, are tied for the second most trips to the Super Bowl
Super Bowl
(with the Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys and Denver
Denver
Broncos, trailing only the New England
New England
Patriots), and have won an NFL-record six Super Bowl
Super Bowl
championships. Effects on players[edit] Perhaps the greatest social legacy of the AFL was the domino effect of its policy of being more liberal than the entrenched NFL in offering opportunity for black players. While the NFL was still emerging from thirty years of segregation influenced by Washington Redskins' owner George Preston Marshall, the AFL actively recruited from small and predominantly black colleges. The AFL's color-blindness led not only to the explosion of black talent on the field, but to the eventual entry of blacks into scouting, coordinating, and ultimately head coaching positions, long after the league ceased to exist.[50][51] The AFL's free agents came from several sources. Some were players who could not find success playing in the NFL, while another source was the Canadian Football League. In the late 1950s, many players released by the NFL, or un-drafted and unsigned out of college by the NFL, went North to try their luck with the CFL, and later returned to the states to play in the AFL. In the league's first years, players such as Oilers' George Blanda, Chargers/Bills' Jack Kemp, Texans' Len Dawson, the NY Titans' Don Maynard, Raiders/Patriots/Jets' Babe Parilli, Pats' Bob Dee proved to be AFL standouts. Other players such as the Broncos' Frank Tripucka, the Pats' Gino Cappelletti, the Bills' Cookie Gilchrist and the Chargers' Tobin Rote, Sam DeLuca
Sam DeLuca
and Dave Kocourek
Dave Kocourek
also made their mark to give the fledgling league badly needed credibility. Rounding out this mix of potential talent were the true "free agents", the walk-ons and the "wanna-be's", who tried out in droves for the chance to play professional American football. After the AFL–NFL merger
AFL–NFL merger
agreement in 1966, and after the AFL's Jets defeated the "best team in the history of the NFL", the Colts, a popular misconception fostered by the NFL and spread by media reports was that the AFL defeated the NFL because of the Common Draft instituted in 1967. This apparently was meant to assert that the AFL could not achieve parity as long as it had to compete with the NFL in the draft. But the 1968 Jets had less than a handful of "common draftees". Their stars were honed in the AFL, many of them since the Titans days. As noted below, the AFL got its share of stars long before the "common draft". Players who chose the AFL to develop their talent included Lance Alworth and Ron Mix
Ron Mix
of the Chargers, who had also been drafted by the NFL's San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
and Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
respectively. Both eventually were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
after earning recognition during their careers as being among the best at their positions. Among specific teams, the 1964 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
stood out by holding their opponents to a pro football record 913 yards rushing on 300 attempts, while also recording fifty quarterback sacks in a 14-game schedule. Another example is cited by the University of Kansas
University of Kansas
website, which describes the 1961 Bluebonnet Bowl, won by KU, and goes on to say "Two Kansas players, quarterback John Hadl and fullback Curtis McClinton, signed professional contracts on the field immediately after the conclusion of the game. Hadl inked a deal with the [AFL] San Diego Chargers, and McClinton went to the [AFL] Dallas
Dallas
Texans." Between them, in their careers Hadl and McClinton combined for an American Football League Rookie of the Year award, seven AFL All-Star selections, two Pro Bowl
Pro Bowl
selections, a team MVP award, two AFL All-Star Game MVP awards, two AFL championships, and a World Championship. And these were players selected by the AFL long before the "Common Draft". In 2009, a five-part series, Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League, on the Showtime Network, refuted many of the long-held misconceptions about the AFL. In it, Abner Haynes tells of how his father forbade him to accept being drafted by the NFL, after drunken scouts from that league had visited the Haynes home; the NFL Cowboys' Tex Schramm is quoted as saying that if his team had ever agreed to play the AFL's Dallas
Dallas
Texans, they would very likely have lost; George Blanda
George Blanda
makes a case for more AFL players being inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
by pointing out that Hall of Famer Willie Brown was cut by the Houston
Houston
Oilers because he couldn't cover Oilers flanker Charlie Hennigan in practice. Later, when Brown was with the Broncos, Hennigan needed nine catches in one game against the Broncos to break Lionel Taylor's Professional Football record of 100 catches in one season. Hennigan caught the nine passes and broke the record, even though he was covered by Brown, Blanda's point being that if Hennigan could do so well against a Hall of Fame DB, he deserves induction, as well. Influence on professional football coaching[edit] The AFL also spawned coaches whose style and techniques have profoundly affected the play of professional football to this day. In addition to AFL greats like Hank Stram, Lou Saban, Sid Gillman
Sid Gillman
and Al Davis were eventual hall of fame coaches such as Bill Walsh, a protégé of Davis with the AFL Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
for one season; and Chuck Noll, who worked for Gillman and the AFL LA/ San Diego
San Diego
Chargers from 1960 through 1965. Others include Buddy Ryan (AFL's New York Jets), Chuck Knox (Jets), Walt Michaels
Walt Michaels
(Jets), and John Madden
John Madden
(AFL's Oakland Raiders). Additionally, many prominent coaches began their pro football careers as players in the AFL, including Sam Wyche ( Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals), Marty Schottenheimer
Marty Schottenheimer
(Buffalo Bills), Wayne Fontes (Jets), and two-time Super Bowl
Super Bowl
winner Tom Flores (Oakland Raiders). Flores also has a Super Bowl
Super Bowl
ring as a player (1969 Kansas City Chiefs). AFL 50th Anniversary Celebration[edit]

AFL 50th Anniversary Logo

Main article: 2009 NFL season As the influence of the AFL continues through the present, the 50th anniversary of its launch was celebrated during 2009. The season-long celebration began in August with the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio
Ohio
between two AFC teams (as opposed to the AFC-vs-NFC format the game first adopted in 1971). The opponents were two of the original AFL franchises, the Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
and Tennessee Titans (the former Houston
Houston
Oilers). Bills' owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. (a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee) and Titans' owner Bud Adams
Bud Adams
were the only surviving members of the Foolish Club
Foolish Club
at the time (both are now deceased), the eight original owners of AFL franchises. The Hall of Fame Game was the first of several "Legacy Weekends", during which each of the "original eight" AFL teams sported uniforms from their AFL era. Each of the 8 teams took part in at least two such "legacy" games. On-field officials also wore red-and-white-striped AFL uniforms during these games. In the fall of 2009, the Showtime pay-cable network premiered Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League, a 5-part documentary series produced by NFL Films
NFL Films
that features vintage game film and interviews as well as more recent interviews with those associated with the AFL. The NFL sanctioned a variety of "Legacy" gear to celebrate the AFL anniversary, such as "throwback" jerseys, T-shirts, signs, pennants and banners, including items with the logos and colors of the Dallas Texans, Houston
Houston
Oilers, and New York Titans, the three of the Original Eight AFL teams which have changed names or venues. A December 5, 2009 story by Ken Belson in the New York Times
New York Times
quotes league officials as stating that AFL "Legacy" gear made up twenty to thirty percent of the league's annual $3 billion merchandise income. Fan favorites were the Denver
Denver
Broncos' vertically striped socks, which could not be re-stocked quickly enough. AFL franchises[edit]

Division Team First Season Home Stadium AFL Record (W-L-T)[52] AFL Titles Destiny after the merger

Eastern Boston
Boston
Patriots 1960 Nickerson Field
Nickerson Field
(1960–1962), Fenway Park
Fenway Park
(1963–1968), Alumni Stadium (1969) 64–69–9 0 Still active in the Greater Boston
Boston
area. Moved to Foxborough, Massachusetts as the New England Patriots
New England Patriots
in 1971.

Buffalo Bills 1960 War Memorial Stadium (1960–1969) 67–71–6 2 Still active in the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area. Moved to Orchard Park, New York in 1973.

Houston
Houston
Oilers 1960 Jeppesen Stadium
Jeppesen Stadium
(1960–1964), Rice Stadium (1965–1967), Houston Astrodome
Astrodome
(1968–1969) 72–69–4 2 Relocated to Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
as the Tennessee Oilers in 1997, moved to Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee
in 1998, and renamed as the Tennessee Titans in 1999.

Miami
Miami
Dolphins 1966 Miami
Miami
Orange Bowl (1966–1969) 15–39–2 0 Still active in the Miami
Miami
metropolitan area. In 2003, their home stadium, which previously had a Miami
Miami
address, became part of Miami Gardens, Florida.

New York Titans/Jets 1960 Polo Grounds
Polo Grounds
(1960–1963), Shea Stadium
Shea Stadium
(1964–1969) 71–67–6 1 Still active in the New York metropolitan area. Moved to East Rutherford, New Jersey in 1984.

Western Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals 1968 Nippert Stadium
Nippert Stadium
(1968–1969) 7–20–1 0 Still active in Cincinnati.

Dallas
Dallas
Texans/Kansas City Chiefs 1960 Cotton Bowl (1960–1962), Municipal Stadium (1963–1969) 92–50–5 3 Still active in Kansas City.

Denver
Denver
Broncos 1960 Bears Stadium/ Mile High Stadium
Mile High Stadium
(1960–1969) 39–97–4 0 Still active in Denver.

Los Angeles/ San Diego
San Diego
Chargers 1960 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
(1960), Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
(1961–1966), San Diego
San Diego
Stadium (1967–1969) 88–51–6 1 Returned to Los Angeles in 2017.

Oakland Raiders 1960 Kezar Stadium
Kezar Stadium
(1960), Candlestick Park
Candlestick Park
(1961), Frank Youell Field (1962–1965), Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
(1966–1969) 80–61–5 1 Relocated to Los Angeles in 1982, then returned to Oakland in 1995. Planning to relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
in 2019 or 2020.

Today, two of the NFL's eight divisions are composed entirely of former AFL teams, the AFC West (Broncos, Chargers, Chiefs, and Raiders) and the AFC East
AFC East
(Bills, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots). Additionally, the Bengals now play in the AFC North and the Tennessee Titans (formerly the Oilers) play in the AFC South. As of the 2017 NFL season, the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
are the last remaining active NFL stadiums that had been used by the AFL, with the remaining stadiums either being used for other uses (the former San Diego
San Diego
Stadium, Fenway Park, Nickerson Field, Alumni Stadium, Nippert Stadium, the Cotton Bowl, Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
and Kezar Stadium), still standing but currently vacant ( Houston
Houston
Astrodome), or demolished. By the 2020 NFL season, both stadiums will be retired as the Raiders will move into a newly-built stadium in Las Vegas
Las Vegas
while the Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
will move into the all-new Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park. AFL playoffs[edit] Further information: American Football League
American Football League
playoffs From 1960 to 1968, the AFL determined its champion via a single-elimination playoff game between the winners of its two divisions. The home teams alternated each year by division, so in 1968 the Jets hosted the Raiders, even though Oakland had a better record (this was changed in 1969). In 1963, the Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
and Boston Patriots finished tied with identical records of 7–6–1 in the AFL East Division. There was no tie-breaker protocol in place, so a one-game playoff was held in War Memorial Stadium in December. The visiting Patriots defeated the host Bills 26–8. The Patriots traveled to San Diego
San Diego
as the Chargers completed a three-game season sweep over the weary Patriots with a 51–10 victory. A similar situation occurred in the 1968 season, when the Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
and the Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
finished the regular season tied with identical records of 12–2 in the AFL West Division. The Raiders beat the Chiefs 41–6 in a division playoff to qualify for the AFL Championship Game. In 1969, the final year of the independent AFL, Professional Football's first "wild card" playoffs were conducted. A four-team playoff was held, with the second-place teams in each division playing the winner of the other division. The Chiefs upset the Raiders in Oakland 17–7 in the league's Championship, the final AFL game played. The Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
were the first Super Bowl champion to win two road playoff games and the first wildcard team to win the Super Bowl, although the term "wildcard" was coined by the media, and not used officially until several years later. AFL Championship Games[edit]

Eastern Division Western Division

Season Date Winning Team Score Losing Team MVP Venue Attendance

1960 January 1, 1961 Houston
Houston
Oilers 24–16 Los Angeles Chargers Billy Cannon Jeppesen Stadium 32,183

1961 December 24, 1961 Houston
Houston
Oilers (2) 10–3 San Diego
San Diego
Chargers Billy Cannon Balboa Stadium 29,556

1962 December 23, 1962 Dallas
Dallas
Texans 20–17 (2OT) Houston
Houston
Oilers Jack Spikes Jeppesen Stadium
Jeppesen Stadium
(2) 37,981

1963 January 5, 1964 San Diego
San Diego
Chargers 51–10 Boston
Boston
Patriots Keith Lincoln Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
(2) 30,127

1964 December 26, 1964 Buffalo Bills 20–7 San Diego
San Diego
Chargers Jack Kemp War Memorial Stadium 40,242

1965 December 26, 1965 Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
(2) 23–0 San Diego
San Diego
Chargers Jack Kemp Balboa Stadium
Balboa Stadium
(3) 30,361

1966 January 1, 1967 Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
(2) 31–7 Buffalo Bills Len Dawson War Memorial Stadium (2) 42,080

1967 December 31, 1967 Oakland Raiders 40–7 Houston
Houston
Oilers Daryle Lamonica Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 53,330

1968 December 29, 1968 New York Jets 27–23 Oakland Raiders Joe Namath Shea Stadium 62,627

1969 January 4, 1970 Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
(3) 17–7 Oakland Raiders Otis Taylor Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
(2) 53,561

Italics – Super Bowl
Super Bowl
Appearance, Bold – Super Bowl
Super Bowl
Victory AFL All-Star games[edit] Further information: American Football League
American Football League
All-Star game The AFL did not play an All-Star game after its first season in 1960, but did stage All-Star games for the 1961 through 1969 seasons. All-Star teams from the Eastern and Western divisions played each other after every season except 1965. That season, the league champion Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
played all-stars from the other teams. After the 1964 season, the AFL All-Star game had been scheduled for early 1965 in New Orleans' Tulane Stadium. After numerous black players were refused service by a number of area hotels and businesses, black and white players alike called for a boycott. Led by Bills players such as Cookie Gilchrist, the players successfully lobbied to have the game moved to Houston's Jeppesen Stadium.[53] All-Time AFL Team[edit] Further information: American Football League
American Football League
All-Time Team As chosen by 1969 AFL Hall of Fame Selection Committee Members:[54]

All-Time AFL Team

Offense Defense Special
Special
Teams

Position Player Position Player Position Player

WR Lance Alworth End Jerry Mays K George Blanda

End Don Maynard Gerry Philbin

TE Fred Arbanas T Houston
Houston
Antwine

T Ron Mix Tom Sestak

Jim Tyrer LB Bobby Bell

C Jim Otto George Webster

G Ed Budde Nick Buoniconti P Jerrel Wilson

Billy Shaw CB Willie Brown

QB Joe Namath Dave Grayson

RB Clem Daniels S Johnny Robinson

Paul Lowe George Saimes

AFL records[edit] The following is a sample of some records set during the existence of the league. The NFL considers AFL statistics and records equivalent to its own.

Yards passing, game – 464, George Blanda
George Blanda
(Oilers, October 29, 1961) Yards passing, season – 4,007, Joe Namath
Joe Namath
(Jets, 1967) Yards passing, career – 21,130, Jack Kemp
Jack Kemp
(Chargers, Bills) Yards rushing, game – 243, Cookie Gilchrist (Bills, December 8, 1963) Yards rushing, season – 1,458, Jim Nance (Patriots, 1966) Yards rushing, career – 5,101, Clem Daniels (Texans, Raiders) Receptions, season – 101, Charlie Hennigan (Oilers, 1964) Receptions, career – 567, Lionel Taylor (Broncos) Points scored, season – 155, Gino Cappelletti (Patriots, 1964) Points scored, career – 1,100, Gino Cappelletti (Patriots)

Players, coaches, and contributors[edit]

List of American Football League
American Football League
players American Football League
American Football League
Most Valuable Players American Football League
American Football League
Rookies of the Year American Football League
American Football League
Draft American Football League
American Football League
Officials

Commissioners/Presidents of the American Football League[edit]

Joe Foss, commissioner (November 30, 1959 – April 7, 1966) Al Davis, commissioner (April 8, 1966 – July 25, 1966) Milt Woodard, president (July 25, 1966 – March 12, 1970)

See also[edit]

American Football League
American Football League
Draft American Football League
American Football League
win-loss records American Football League
American Football League
seasons American Football League
American Football League
playoffs American Football League
American Football League
Most Valuable Players American Football League
American Football League
Rookies of the Year American Football League
American Football League
Officials AFL–NFL merger List of leagues of American football American Basketball Association World Hockey Association

Footnotes[edit]

^ Gruver, The American Football League, p. 9. ^ Gruver, The American Football League, p. 13. ^ Gruver, The American Football League, pp. 13–14. ^ Gruver, The American Football League, p. 14. ^ Gruver, The American Football League, pp. 15–16. ^ Miller, Going Long, pp. 3–4. ^ " Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City Chiefs
History – AFL Origins". Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-07.  ^ Warren, Matt. September 4, 1985 – McGroder Joins The Wall Of Fame. BuffaloRumblings.com. Retrieved March 26, 2014. ^ Gruver, The American Football League, pp. 22–23. ^ Maiorana, Relentless, p. 65. ^ Dickey, Just Win, Baby, pp. 7–8. ^ "NFL History, 1951–1960". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ a b c d Loup, Rich (2001-01-22). "The AFL: A Football Legacy (Part One)". CNNSI.com. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ Carter, Al (1997-06-30). "Oilers leave rich legacy of low-budget absurdity". The Dallas
Dallas
Morning News. Archived from the original on 6 January 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ Herskowitz, Mickey (1974). "The Foolish Club" (PDF). Pro Football Weekly. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ [1] ^ " Canadian Football League
Canadian Football League
1960 Attendance on CFLdb Statistics".  ^ Steve Sabol
Steve Sabol
(Executive Producer) (2004). Raiders – The Complete History (DVD). NFL Productions LLC.  ^ "Touch down in T.O." The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2017-01-19.  ^ a b "NFL History, 1961–1970". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ " New York Jets
New York Jets
history". Sports Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ "Jets history – 1962". NewYorkJets.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ "Jets history – 1963". NewYorkJets.com. Archived from the original on 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ "1962 standings". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ a b "Chiefs timeline – 1960s". KCChiefs.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-24. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ Barber, Phil. "Gillman laid foundation for all who followed". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 8 November 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ a b c d Silverman, Steve (1994-11-07). "The 'Other' League" (PDF). Pro Football Weekly. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ "Bears Seek Data on AFL". Asbury Park Press. Associated Press. January 12, 1964.  ^ a b http://www.jsonline.com/story/life/green-sheet/2017/10/24/when-lombardi-sacked-milwaukees-bid-land-pro-football-franchise/789376001/ ^ " Miami Dolphins
Miami Dolphins
Historical Highlights". MiamiDolphins.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ Dickey, pp. 38–39. ^ Dwyre, Bill (30 November 2009). "Barron Hilton's Chargers turned short stay into long-term success" – via LA Times.  ^ "Woodard in, Davis out in AFL". Milwaukee
Milwaukee
Sentinel. UPI. July 26, 1966. p. 2, part 2.  ^ a b c Cross, B. Duane (2001-01-22). "The AFL: A Football Legacy (Part Two)". CNNSI.com. Retrieved 2007-02-08.  ^ Maule, Tex (1968-01-22). "Green Bay, Handily". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ Brown, PB – The Paul Brown
Paul Brown
Story ^ a b "He guaranteed it". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ " Baltimore Colts
Baltimore Colts
history". Sports Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 10 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ Jackman, Phil (1999-01-12). "Lifetime guarantee; Jets-Colts". Baltimore
Baltimore
Sun. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ "Page 2's List for top upset in sports history". Page2. Archived from the original on 21 February 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ Wankel, Bob (2005-02-01). "Eagles can win with right strategy". The Courier-Post. Retrieved 2007-02-09. [dead link] ^ Gooden, Kenneth (2003-11-19). "Can Hornets match greatest all-time upsets?". The State Hornet. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ Shamsky, The Magnificent Seasons, p. 5. ^ " Super Bowl
Super Bowl
IV box score". SuperBowl.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-01. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ "1970 AFL All-Star Game recap". Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ Forbes, Gordon (2001-03-22). "This time, realignment will be cool breeze". USA Today. Archived from the original on 2004-08-29. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ "Moment 26: Enter Art". ClevelandBrowns.com. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ "= NBC
NBC
gains broadcast rights to American Football League". NBC Sports History Page.  ^ a b Sherrington, Kevin (2011-02-01). " Dallas
Dallas
meeting in '66 saved Steelers from stinking". The Dallas
Dallas
Morning News. Retrieved 2011-02-06.  ^ Jim Acho (1997). The "Foolish Club". Gridiron Press. OCLC 38596883.  Foreword by Miller Farr. ^ Charles K. Ross (1999). Outside the Lines: African Americans and the Integration of the National Football League. New York University Press. ISBN 0-8147-7495-4.  ^ Includes postseason games. ^ "Black football players boycott AFL All-Star game". The African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2006-12-25. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  ^ 2001 National Football League
National Football League
Record and Fact Book, p. 405, Edited by Randal Liu and Matt Marini, Workman Publishing Company, New York, ISBN 0-7611-2480-2

References[edit]

Brown, Paul; Jack Clary (1979). PB, The Paul Brown
Paul Brown
Story. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0-689-10985-7.  Dickey, Glenn (1991). Just Win, Baby: Al Davis & His Raiders. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-146580-0.  Gruver, Ed (1997). The American Football League: A Year-By-Year History, 1960–1969. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-7864-0399-3.  History: The AFL – Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
(link). Maiorana, Sal (1994). Relentless: The Hard-Hitting History of Buffalo Bills Football. Lenexa, Kansas: Quality Sports Publications. ISBN 1-885758-00-6.  Miller, Jeff (2003). Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League
American Football League
In the Words of Those Who Lived It. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-141849-0.  Shamsky, Art; Barry Zeman (2004). The Magnificent Seasons: How the Jets, Mets, and Knicks Made Sports History and Uplifted a City and the Country. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312-33358-7. 

External links[edit]

RemembertheAFL.com Website afl-football.50webs.com American Football League
American Football League
week-by-week box scores, 1960–1969 The Summer of the Little Super Bowls KU story on Hadl and McClinton signings with the AFL[permanent dead link] PFRA article about the 1926 seasons of both the NFL and AFL PFRA article about the 1930s and 40s AFL Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
American Football League
American Football League
Legacy Game Official Titans website story on the AFL's 50th Anniversary Celebration Schedule of American Football League
American Football League
Legacy Games ESPN.com article on AFL Legacy Games New York Times
New York Times
article on AFL "Legacy" gear

v t e

American Football League

Eastern Division

Boston
Boston
Patriots Buffalo Bills Houston
Houston
Oilers New York Titans/Jets Miami
Miami
Dolphins

Western Division

Denver
Denver
Broncos Dallas
Dallas
Texans/Kansas City Chiefs San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers Oakland Raiders Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals

General

Seasons Playoffs All-League Teams All-Star game AFL Draft All-Time Team AFL–NFL merger NFL Thanksgiving Day games Players Officials Ten-year AFL patch

Broadcasters

ABC AFL All-Star Game AFL Championship Game Boston
Boston
Patriots Buffalo Bills Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals Dallas
Dallas
Texans/Kansas City Chiefs Denver
Denver
Broncos Houston
Houston
Oilers NBC Los Angeles/ San Diego
San Diego
Chargers Miami
Miami
Dolphins New York Titans/Jets Oakland Raiders Super Bowl

Commissioners

Joe Foss Al Davis Milt Woodard
Milt Woodard
(President)

v t e

American Football League
American Football League
seasons

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

v t e

American Football League
American Football League
All-Time Team

Joe Namath Clem Daniels Paul Lowe Lance Alworth Cookie Gilchrist Don Maynard Fred Arbanas Jim Otto Ed Budde Billy Shaw Ron Mix Jim Tyrer George Blanda Nick Buoniconti Bobby Bell George Webster Johnny Robinson George Saimes Willie Brown Dave Grayson Houston
Houston
Antwine Tom Sestak Jerry Mays Gerry Philbin Jerrel Wilson Weeb Ewbank

v t e

Professional gridiron football leagues in North America

American football

Major

National Football League

Other

Alliance of American Football
Alliance of American Football
(2019) The Spring League XFL
XFL
(2020)

Defunct national

All-America Football Conference American Football League
American Football League
(1926) American Football League
American Football League
(1936–1937) American Football League
American Football League
(1940–1941) American Football League
American Football League
(1960–1969)* Continental Football League United Football League (2009–12) United States Football League World Football League World League of American Football/NFL Europe/NFL Europa** XFL
XFL
(2001)

Defunct regional

American Association (1936–1941)/American Football League (1946–1950)** American Football Association (1978–83) American Football League
American Football League
(1934) American Football League
American Football League
(1938–1939) American Football League
American Football League
(1944) Anthracite League Atlantic Coast Football League** Dixie League** Eastern League of Professional Football Fall Experimental Football League Midwest Football League National Football League
National Football League
(1902) New York Pro Football League Ohio
Ohio
League Pacific Coast Professional Football League** Regional Football League Seaboard Football League Spring Football League Stars Football League Texas
Texas
Football League United Football League (1961–64) Western Pennsylvania Professional Football Circuit World Football League
World Football League
(2008–10)

*Merged into the NFL to start its American Football Conference. All teams still active. **Official NFL minor league; see also Association of Professional Football Leagues

Canadian football

Major

Canadian Football League

Predecessors

Interprovincial Rugby Football Union Western Interprovincial Football Union

Arena/Indoor football

Current

American Arena League Arena Football League Champions Indoor Football Indoor Football League National Arena League

Defunct

arenafootball2 American Indoor Football American Professional Football League Arena Pro Football Can-Am Indoor Football League Champions Professional Indoor Football League Continental Indoor Football League Independent Indoor Football Alliance Indoor Football League
Indoor Football League
(1999–2000) Indoor Professional Football League Intense Football League Lone Star Football League National Indoor Football League Professional Indoor Football League
Indoor Football League
(1998) Professional Indoor Football League
Indoor Football League
(2012) Southern Indoor Football League Supreme Indoor Football Ultimate Indoor Football League United Indoor Football X-League Indoor Football World Indoor Football League
Indoor Football League
(2007)

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NFL on ABC

Related programs

Monday Night Football ESPN Sunday Night Football American Football League
American Football League
on ABC Pro Football Highlights

Non-NFL programs

College Football on ABC USFL on ABC World League of American Football on ABC

Related articles

History of Monday Night Football NFL on television (history) Monday Night Mayhem
Monday Night Mayhem
(film) ABC Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football
(video game) Super Bowl
Super Bowl
TV ratings (lead-out programs)

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
(home games)

1953 1954 1955

Chicago
Chicago
Cardinals (home games)

1953 1954 1955

Los Angeles Rams
Los Angeles Rams
(Pacific Time Zone affiliates)

1955

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
(Pacific Time Zone affiliates)

1955

Washington Redskins
Washington Redskins
(home games)

1954

Commentators

AFL All-Star Game American Bowl Pro Bowl World Bowl

Postseason commentators

AFL Championship Game NFL Championship Game Super Bowl

Lore televised by ABC

"Body Bag Game" Death of John Lennon Brett Favre
Brett Favre
wins one for his father "Monday Night Miracle" Montana outduels Elway "Snowball Game" Joe Theismann's career-ending sack "The Night That Courage Wore Orange" World Bowl '91

Postseason lore

"Music City Miracle" "One Yard Short" "The Star-Spangled Banner" (Whitney Houston
Houston
recording) "Wide Right"

Music

Charles Fox Edd Kalehoff Johnny Pearson Hank Williams, Jr.

Songs

"All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night" "Heavy Action" "The Party's Over"

NFL Championship

1948 1950

Super Bowl

XIX (1984) XXII (1987) XXV (1990) XXIX (1994) XXXIV (1999) XXXVII (2002) XL (2005)

Pro Bowl

1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2018

AFL Championship

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964

Results and standings

Yearly results

Monday night NFL games prior to 1970 1970–1989 1990–2009 2010–present

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NFL on NBC

Related programs

The NFL on NBC
NBC
pregame show (Football Night in America) NBC
NBC
Sunday Night Football NFL on NBC
NBC
Radio Thursday Night Football (2016–2017)

College football programs

College Football on NBC
NBC
(Notre Dame) College Football on USA

Other pro football programs

Arena Football League
Arena Football League
on NBC Canadian Football League World League of American Football on USA XFL
XFL
on NBC

Related articles

NFL on television (history) Primary television stations Super Bowl
Super Bowl
TV ratings (lead-out programs)

American Football League

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Baltimore
Baltimore
Colts

1960 1961

Pittsburgh Steelers

1960 1961

Prime-time results

Monday night NFL games prior to 1970 Sunday Night Football results (2006-present)

Commentators

AFC Championship Game Commentator pairings Pro Bowl Pregame show panelists Super Bowl

Pre-AFL–NFL merger

AFL Championship Game AFL All-Star Game NFL Championship Game

Preseason games

American Bowl

Lore

1982 CFL season Announcerless Game "The Clock Play" Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
relocation controversy "The Holy Roller" "Snowplow Game" " Leon Lett Blunder II"

Postseason lore

"The Epic in Miami" "Ghost to the Post" "Immaculate Reception" "Red Right 88" "The Freezer Bowl" "The Drive" "The Fumble" "The Comeback" "Beast Quake" "The Interception" "Philly Special"

Pre- AFL–NFL merger
AFL–NFL merger
lore

"The Greatest Game Ever Played" "Heidi Game"

Sunday Night Football lore

"4th and 2" 16–0 "Butt fumble"

Music

John Colby Randy Edelman John Tesh

Sunday Night Football

John Williams "I Hate Myself for Loving You" "Somethin' Bad"

Faith Hill Pink Carrie Underwood

NFL Championship

1955 1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963

AFL Championship

1965 1966 1967 1968 1969

Super Bowl

Pre-AFL–NFL merger

I (1966) III (1968)

AFC package carrier (1970–1997)

V (1970) VII (1972) IX (1974) XI (1976) XIII (1978) XV (1980) XVII (1982) XX (1985) XXIII (1988) XXVII (1992) XXVIII (1993) XXX (1995) XXXII (1997)

Sunday Night Football era (2006–present)

XLIII (2008) XLVI (2011) XLIX (2014) LII (2017) LV (2020)

Pro Bowl

1952 1953 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1972 1974 2009 2012 2013 2014

Website: NBC
NBC
Sports - NFL News

v t e

National Football League
National Football League
(2018)

AFC

East North South West

Buffalo Bills Miami
Miami
Dolphins New England
New England
Patriots New York Jets

Baltimore
Baltimore
Ravens Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Bengals Cleveland Browns Pittsburgh Steelers

Houston
Houston
Texans Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Tennessee Titans

Denver
Denver
Broncos Kansas City Chiefs Los Angeles Chargers Oakland Raiders

NFC

East North South West

Dallas
Dallas
Cowboys New York Giants Philadelphia Eagles Washington Redskins

Chicago
Chicago
Bears Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta
Atlanta
Falcons Carolina Panthers New Orleans
New Orleans
Saints Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Arizona Cardinals Los Angeles Rams San Francisco 49ers Seattle
Seattle
Seahawks

Seasons

Seasons (by team) Preseason

Hall of Fame Game American Bowl

Regular season

Kickoff game Monday Night Football International Series

London Toronto Bills Series List of games played outside the U.S.

Thanksgiving games Christmas games

Playoffs

Streaks Droughts AFC Championship NFC Championship Super Bowl

champions quarterbacks

Pro Bowl

History

League history

Executive history Championship history

Timeline

Defunct franchises Franchise moves and mergers Los Angeles team history

Proposed stadiums 1995–2016

American Football League
American Football League
(1960–1969)

Playoffs Merger

NFL Championship (1920–1969) Playoff Bowl Records

individual team Super Bowl All time win–loss Last undefeated

Tied games Canceled games Controversies

Business

Owners Properties Management Council Competition Committee Collective Bargaining Agreement National Football League
National Football League
Players Association Lockouts Media

TV

NFL Network NFL RedZone

Radio NFL Films

Other

Officials Stadiums

Chronology

Awards

All-Pro

Hall of Fame Foreign players Player conduct

Suspensions Player misconduct

Combine Draft Training camp Rivalries NFL Foundation Culture

Cheerleading Mascots Lore Nicknames Numbers

Retire

.