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    The Way It Was "THE NFL"

    NFL League history:
    I have always felt that if one knows as much as one can about the thing or things He or She loves it seems we apericate it more with that understanding , I truly hope seeing and reading this will be helpfully be interesting at the same time might give those who did not these things some insight , "Hope you enjoy" Thse are things that I have in my memories and in boxes of papers from years ago when the game was just a game and the love of the FANS for teams a long with the players and owners has made it what it is today ... OldRamsFan

    "The Foolish Club AFL"

    In 1958 Lamar Hunt (son and heir of Texas oilman H. L. Hunt) attempted to bring an NFL franchise to his hometown of Dallas but was rejected by the league. A second attempt in 1959 was also unsuccessful. Hunt was advised by league officials to contact the owners of the Chicago Cardinals, who offered to sell Hunt a 20 percent stake in the team. Hunt rejected the offer, and it was then that he began to envision not just a new team in the NFL, but an entirely new league ...

    Hunt began his quest for a new league by contacting others who had shown interest in the Cardinals, and assessing their interest in starting a new league. These included K.S. (Bud) Adams of Houston, Bob Howsam of Denver and Max Winter and Bill Boyer of Minneapolis. This brought to four the number of potential teams in the new league ...

    Next, Hunt sought franchises in Los Angeles and New York City. But at the same time he sought the blessings of the NFL for his nascent league, as he did not seek a rivalry with the older and more established league. "I told myself I didn’t want to go into this if it meant some kind of battle," Hunt would later recall. "Of course, this was one of the more naive thoughts in the history of pro sports" ...

    Soon after, Hunt received commitments from Barron Hilton (Los Angeles) and Harry Wismer (New York). On August 14, 1959 the first league meeting was held in Chicago and charter teams were given to Dallas, New York, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. On August 22 the league was officially named the American Football League ...

    Two more cities were awarded franchises later in the year - Buffalo (Ralph Wilson) on October 28 and Boston (William H. (Billy) Sullivan) on November 22. The AFL's first draft took place the same day Boston was awarded their franchise ... The draft lasted for 33 rounds ...


    The first crisis:

    In November 1959, Minneapolis owner Max Winter announced his intent to leave the AFL in order to accept a franchise offer from the NFL. In 1961, his team began play in the NFL, where it took the name Minnesota Vikings ...

    The NFL now offered Hunt what he had originally wanted - an expansion franchise in Dallas. Hunt turned the NFL down, as he felt it would not be right to abandon his fellow AFL owners. Had Hunt left the AFL, it would likely have never played its first game ...


    The AFL begins (1959-61):

    With the first major crisis passed, the AFL got back to the business of preparing for its first season. On November 30, 1959 Joe Foss, a World War II Marine hero 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. The league held a second draft on December 2, which lasted for 20 rounds. Hunt was elected President of the AFL on January 26th, 1960. On January 28, the NFL awarded an expansion franchise to Dallas, which would offer direct competition to Hunt's team. The Minneapolis franchise formally withdrew from the AFL on January 27 and was replaced on January 30 by one in Oakland, California, owned by a group of local investors headed by Chet Soda ...



    The first coup:

    Billy Cannon, the All-American and 1959 Heisman Trophy winner from Louisiana State University, had an uncommon combination of brute strength with the speed of a sprinter. In 1960, his signing by the Houston Oilers followed a fierce bidding war that began when Oilers owner Bud Adams met Cannon in the end zone following LSU's Sugar Bowl victory, and ended in court, with the AFL winning against the NFL. That put the fledgling league on the football map. Cannon was one of the American Football League's most celebrated combatants. At halfback, he scored an 88-yard touchdown on a pass from George Blanda in the first AFL Championship game. Cannon became the only player ever selected to an All-star team as a halfback in one year (1961) and as a tight end in another (1969) ...

    On June 9, the league signed a five-year television contract with ABC, which brought in revenues of roughly $2,125,000 per year for the entire league. On June 17, the AFL filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. The suit was dismissed in 1962 after a two-month trial ...

    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 Texans, Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Titans and Oakland Raiders. The Oilers became the first-ever league champions, defeating the Chargers 24-16 in the AFL Championship Game on January 1, 1961
    ...

    Attendance for the 1960 season was respectable for a new league, but not nearly that of the NFL. Whereas the more popular NFL teams in 1960 regularly saw attendance figures of 50,000+, AFL attendance generally hovered between 10-20,000 [2]. With the low attendance came financial losses. The Raiders, for instance, lost $500,000 in their first year. 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 San Diego ...


    Movement and instability (1962-63):

    While some teams (such as the Oilers) found instant success in the AFL, others were not as fortunate. The 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 their first season. Attendance for home games was poor, partly due to the fact that the team was playing in the San Francisco Bay Area, which already had an established NFL team (the San Francisco *****). The product on the field was also to blame. After winning six games their debut season, the Raiders won just three times combined in the 1962 and 1963 seasons. Oakland took part in a 1962 supplemental draft meant to boost the weaker teams in the league, but it did little good. They participated in another such draft in 1963 ...

    The Titans fared a little better on the field but had their own financial troubles. Attendance was so low for home games that fans were moved to seats closer to the field to give the illusion of a fuller stadium on television. Things got so bad that owner Harry Wisner was unable 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 ground headed by Sonny Werblin on March 28, 1963. Werblin changed the team's name to the New York Jets ...

    In the December 23, 1962 AFL Championship game, the Dallas Texans dethroned the two-time defending champion Oilers 20-17 in what at that time was professional football's longest game, a double-overtime thriller ...

    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 in the same market as the Dallas Cowboys (even though the Cowboys weren't nearly as good as the Texans in 1962). After meetings with Atlanta and Miami, Hunt decided on Kansas City as the new home for his team. On May 22 Hunt announced the move, and the team was christened the Kansas City Chiefs on May 26 ...

    Watershed years (1964-65):

    1964 started off very well for the AFL. On January 29 the league signed a lucrative $36 million television contract with NBC, to start in the 1965 season. This gave the league money it desperately needed to compete with the NFL for talent ...

    A new single-game attendance record was set on November 8, 1964 when 61,929 fans packed Shea Stadium to watch the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills ...

    The bidding war between the AFL and NFL for players escalated in 1965. The Chiefs drafted Gale Sayers in the first round of the AFL's 1965 draft, while the Chicago Bears did the same in the NFL draft. Sayers signed with the Bears in a victory for the older league ...

    A similar situation occurred when the St. Louis Cardinals (NFL) and New York Jets (AFL) both drafted University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath. But this time the AFL emerged the victor. On January 2, Namath signed a $427,000 contract with the Jets ...It was the highest amount of money ever paid to a collegiate football player. The signing was important not just for the Jets (one of the worst teams in the league) but for the AFL as well ...

    The AFL expanded to nine teams in 1965 when Minneapolis attorney Joseph Robbie and television star Danny Thomas were awarded a franchise on August 16 for a fee of $7.5 million. Their team, the Miami Dolphins, started play in the AFL's East division in 1966 ...

    On the playing field, the quality of play continued to improve and bona fide stars began to emerge, such as Lance Alworth, George Blanda, Willie Brown, Nick Buoniconti, Ron Mix, and Jim Otto. AFL teams such as the San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Buffalo Bills offered fans exciting games as alternatives to the conservative NFL variety ...


    Escalation and merger (1966-67):

    For more details on this topic, see AFL-NFL Merger.
    1966 saw the rivalry between the AFL and NFL reach an all-time peak. On April 7 Joe Foss, the only commissioner the AFL had ever known, resigned. His chosen successor was Oakland Raiders general manager Al Davis, who had been instrumental in turning around the fortunes of the franchise. No longer content with trying to outbid the NFL for talent, the AFL under Davis actively started to recruit players already on NFL squads. NFL players such as Mike Ditka, Roman Gabriel and John Brodie were offered and/or signed to lucrative AFL contracts ...

    The same month Davis was named commissioner, Lamar Hunt and Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm held a series of secret meetings in 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 by the end of May. 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, and NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle would remain as commissioner of the merged 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 ...

    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 I), was played in Los Angeles. The NFL champion Green Bay Packers overwhelmed the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10 ...

    The Cincinnati Bengals became the second AFL expansion franchise on May 24, 1967. The Bengals were the tenth and final team to begin play as an AFL franchise. In a clear indication of the success of the AFL, Paul Brown paid $10,000,000 for the Bengals franchise–four hundred times more than the original AFL franchise value of $25,000 only eight years earlier ...


    Legitimacy and the end of an era (1968-70)

    During the first two Super Bowl matchups, the Green Bay Packers won games against the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders by comfortable margins, leading some NFL executives to doubt the wisdom in merging with the upstart league. That perception changed forever on January 12, 1969, when the AFL Champion New York Jets shocked the heavily favored NFL Champion Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III ...

    The Colts, who entered the contest as an 18-point favorite, had completed the 1968 NFL season with a 13-1 record, then won two playoff games, the latter a 34-0 dismantling of the Cleveland Browns. Baltimore's defense was considered one of the finest of its era, having allowed just 144 points in 1968. In contrast, the Jets had allowed 280 points, the highest total for any division winner in the two leagues ...
    ..
    But Jets quarterback Joe Namath seemed unimpressed. Three days before the game, Namath spoke to a group at the Touchdown Club in Miami and declared, "We're going to win Sunday, I'll guarantee you"...
    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 by many to be one of the greatest upsets in American sports history ...

    While no doubt shocked by the result, NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle nonetheless saw the Jets' victory as a watershed moment that would give a legitimacy to the merger. That feeling was reinforced one year later in Super Bowl IV, when the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the NFL champion Minnesota Vikings, 23-7 in the last championship game to be played between the two leagues ...

    The last contest in AFL history was the AFL All-Star Game on January 17, 1970. The Western All-Stars, led by Chargers quarterback John Hadl, defeated the Eastern All-Stars, 26-3 ...

    Prior to the start of the 1970 NFL season, the merged league was split into two conferences of three divisions each. All ten AFL teams made up the bulk of the new American Football Conference. The old NFL's Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns were also placed in the AFC. All the other existing NFL squads moved to the National Football Conference ...

    Some AFL fans had wanted the AFL and the NFL to set up a joint organizational structure like Major League Baseball where one entity operates two different sports leagues. Instead, the AFL gave up its name and logo to join the older league. The AFC logo used today has some elements of the old AFL logo. However the "A" in the AFL logo was blue; for unknown reasons, the "A" in the AFC logo is red ...

    Legacy:

    Of all the leagues that have attempted to challenge the dominance of the National Football League, the AFL was the only one to have all its teams integrated into the fabric of the NFL. This was in sharp contrast to such entities as the All-America Football Conference, baseball's Federal League, the American Basketball Association and the World Hockey Association, all of which either folded, or only had a handful of teams join the respective post-merger entities ...

    The NFL went on to basically adopt virtually every pioneering aspect introduced by the AFL, including names on player jerseys and revenue sharing of gate and television receipts. The older league also adopted the practice of using the stadium scoreboard clocks to keep track of the official game time, instead of justing having a stop watch used by the referee. The AFL also introduced the two-point conversion to professional football thirty-four years before the NFL instituted it in 1994. The AFL's challenge to the NFL also laid the groundwork for the Super Bowl, which has become the standard for championship contests ...

    Hunt's vision brought a new professional football league not only to California and New York, but to Colorado and later fast-growing Florida, which hosted professional sports for the first time in their histories. The AFL also returned the sport to New England for the first time in 23 years. The AFL also adopted the first-ever cooperative television plan for professional football, in which the league office negotiated an ABC-TV contract, the proceeds of which were divided equally among member clubs ...

    Four NFL franchises were awarded as a direct result of the AFL's competition with the older league: the Cowboys, who were established solely to drive the AFL Texans out of Dallas; the Vikings, who were awarded to Max Winter in exchange for dropping his bid to join the AFL; the Falcons, whose franchise went to Rankin Smith to dissuade him from purchasing the AFL's Miami Dolphins; and the Saints, because of successful anti-trust legislation supported by several Louisiana politicians, which let the two leagues merge. If the AFL had not existed, it is likely that neither would the Cowboys, Vikings, Falcons, or Saints ...

    Given the furious battle for playing talent, the AFL's arrival helped many black players from small colleges helped broaden the talent base for players who subsequently contributed to the sport ...
    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, men like the Oilers' George Blanda, the Chargers/Bills' Jack Kemp, the Texans' Len Dawson, the Titans' Don Maynard, the Raiders/Patriots/Jets' Babe Parilli, the 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 and 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 football.

    The American Football League took advantage of the burgeoning popularity of football by locating teams in major cities that lacked NFL franchises, and by using the growing power of televised football games (bolstered with the help of major network contracts, first with ABC and later with NBC). It featured many outstanding games, such as the classic 1962 double-overtime American Football League championship game between the Dallas Texans and the defending champion Houston Oilers. At the time it was the longest professional football championship game ever played ...

    The AFL appealed to fans by offering a flashier alternative to the more conservative NFL. Team uniforms were bright and colorful. Long passes ("bombs") were commonplace in AFL offenses, led by such talented quarterbacks as John Hadl, Daryle Lamonica and Len Dawson ...

    Another attractive feature of the American Football League was its competitive balance. In the original eight-team league, in a fourteen game schedule, each team played every other team twice. Every team had the same "strength of schedule", so the division champions were clearly the best teams in each division. Further, the league championships were evenly divided: five were won by Western Division teams, five by the Eastern Division; and of the original eight teams, all but two (Denver and Boston/New England) won at least one AFL title, and only one did not make the playoffs at some time during the league's ten-year existence ...

    Players who chose the AFL to develop their talent included Lance Alworth and Ron Mix of the Chargers, who had also been drafted by the NFL's San Francisco ***** and Baltimore Colts respectively. Both eventually were elected to the 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 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 fourteen-game schedule ...

    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 results from the other league ...

    The bidding war, which was financially draining both leagues, and the rapidly rising popularity of the AFL were factors that eventually led to the merger, leaving a merged league named the NFL ...

    AFL teams:

    The original eight AFL teams were as follows:

    Eastern Division:

    Boston Patriots (now New England Patriots)
    Buffalo Bills
    Houston Oilers (now Tennessee Titans)
    New York Titans (now New York Jets)

    Western Division:

    Dallas Texans (now Kansas City Chiefs)
    Denver Broncos
    Los Angeles Chargers (now San Diego Chargers)
    Oakland Raiders
    The eight-team roster enabled the league to set a schedule where every team played every other team twice during the fourteen-game season, as the AAFC did ...

    The league added a ninth team, the Miami Dolphins, in 1966, and a tenth team, the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968 ...


    AFL playoffs:

    From 1960 to 1968, the AFL determined its champion via a single playoff game between the winners of its two divisions. In 1969, a four team tournament was instituted, with the second place teams in each division also participating ...


    AFL Championship Games:

    1960 - Houston Oilers 24, Los Angeles Chargers 16
    1961 - Houston Oilers 10, San Diego Chargers 3
    1962 - Dallas Texans 20, Houston Oilers 17 (double OT)
    1963 - San Diego Chargers 51, Boston Patriots 10
    1964 - Buffalo Bills 20, San Diego Chargers 7
    1965 - Buffalo Bills 23, San Diego Chargers 0
    1966 - Kansas City Chiefs 31, Buffalo Bills 7
    1967 - Oakland Raiders 40, Houston Oilers 7
    1968 - New York Jets 27, Oakland Raiders 23
    1969 - Kansas City Chiefs 17, Oakland Raiders 7

    AFL All Star games:

    League All-Star games:

    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 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 New Orleans hotels and businesses, black and white players alike lobbied for a boycott. Under the leadership of Buffalo Bills players including Carlton Chester "Cookie" Gilchrist, the players put up a unified front, and the game was successfully moved to Houston's Jeppesen Stadium ...


    AFL All-Time Team:

    In 1970, selectors for the Hall of Fame chose a first and second-team at each position, for an American Football League All-Time Team ...


    AFL records:

    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 (Oilers, October 29, 1961)
    Yards passing, season - 4,007, Joe Namath (Jets, 1967)
    Yards passing, career - 21,130, 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
    American Football League Draft
    List of American Football League players

    Commissioners/Presidents of the American Football League:

    Joe Foss........... November 1959-April 1966

    Commissioner:

    Al Davis........... April 1966-July 1966 Commissioner
    Milt Woodard...... July 1966-March 1970 President

    Earlier AFL's:

    American Football League, 1926

    Roster and Final standings:

    Philadelphia Quakers (Champions)
    New York Yankees (joined the NFL in 1927)
    Cleveland Panthers
    Los Angeles Wilson Wildcats
    Chicago Bulls
    Boston Bulldogs
    Rock Island Independents (former NFL team)
    Brooklyn Horsemen
    Newark Bears

    American Football League, 1936-37

    Boston Shamrocks (1936-1937)
    Brooklyn/Rochester Tigers (1936)
    Cleveland Rams (1936) joined the NFL in 1937; today's St. Louis Rams New York Yankees (1936-1937)
    Pittsburgh Americans (1936-1937)
    Syracuse/Rochester Braves (1936)
    Cincinnati Bengals (1937)
    Los Angeles Bulldogs (1937)
    The Syracuse Braves moved to Rochester in midseason and disbanded during the season. The Brooklyn Tigers moved to Rochester after the Rochester Braves disbanded ...

    Champions

    1936 Boston Shamrocks
    1937 Los Angeles Bulldogs

    American Football League, 1940-41
    Boston Bears (1940)
    Buffalo Indians (1940)/Buffalo Tigers (1941)
    Cincinnati Bengals (1940-1941)
    Columbus Bullies (1940-1941)
    Milwaukee Chiefs (1940-1941)
    New York Yankees (1940)/New York Americans (1941)
    Champions

    1940 Columbus Bullies
    1941 Columbus Bullies

    History: References
    Jack Horrigan and Mike Rathet, The Other League/The Fabulous Story of the American Football League
    Jack Orr, We Came of Age/A Picture History of the American Football League
    George Sullivan, Touchdown!/The Picture History of the American Football League
    Ed Gruver, The American Football League: A Year-By-Year History, 1960-1969,

    Sal Maiorana, If You Can't Join 'Em, Beat 'Em: A Remembrance of the American Football League, Jeff Miller, Going Long: The Wild Ten-Year Saga of the Renegade American Football League In the Words of Those Who Lived It,
    I was truly honored by having a family member apart of the Rams and the NFL in the early days , The story's where unbelievable and fantastic for me to here as a little boy , This history of the AFL is very important to know as it was a vital part of what we have today ... And i hope this will shed some lite to those who did not know that this might give them a deeper understanding of the game an why we love it so ... Enjoy OldRamsFan
    Last edited by OldRamsfan; -04-22-2006 at 03:12 AM.


  2. #2
    Drew4EverRams's Avatar
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    Re: The Way It Was "THE NFL" the way it is today

    thanks oldramsfan,
    some things i already knew but plenty that i didnt so thanks for the education!

  3. #3
    RamsFan4ever's Avatar
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    Re: The Way It Was "THE NFL" the way it is today

    WOW Thats a lot.....I dont think I can finish it

  4. #4
    Ram Warrior's Avatar
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    Re: The Way It Was "THE NFL" the way it is today

    Man now thats a thread Oldramsfan way cool.the endless wonder strikes again.
    "Integrity is the formula of who a person Is or Is not"


  5. #5
    OldRamsfan's Avatar
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    Re: The Way It Was "THE NFL" the way it is today

    Thank you and Be nice Ram Warrior LOL LOL ...

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