The All-American Football League

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Since its inception in 1920 when Akron won the National Title, the NFL fended off several rival leagues. Before 1960, the most important rival was the All-America Football Conference (AAFC), which began play in 1946. The AAFC differed from the NFL in several ways, and the AAFC's perennial champions—the Cleveland Browns— were considered to be one of the best teams in professional football during that time. However, due to the AAFC's poor financial situation, it disbanded after the 1949 season. Three of its teams, the original version of the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the San Francisco 49ers, were absorbed into the NFL in 1950. The league was briefly known as the National-American Football League during the offseason, but reverted…show more content…
The NFL also had the media advantage. For example, in the 1960s, Sports Illustrated's lead football writer was Tex Maule, whose previous job had been as public relations director for Pete Rozelle, the general manager of the NFL's Rams. Maule "was certainly an NFL loyalist,"[1] and several sports reporters took his deprecatory columns about the AFL as fact. In another example, another former Rozelle employee, Tex Schramm, was CBS's director of sports during the period when that network refused to give AFL scores. Many play-by-play and color announcers on CBS were former NFL…show more content…
Schramm, now general manager of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, secretly contacted AFL owners and asked if they were interested in a merger. The talks were conducted without the knowledge of Davis, the AFL commissioner. . By June 8, 1966, the collaborators announced a merger agreement. Under the agreement: The two leagues would combine to form an expanded league with 24 teams, which would be increased to 26 teams by 1969, and to 28 teams by 1970 or soon thereafter. Those teams would ultimately be the New Orleans Saints in 1967, the Cincinnati Bengals in 1968, and the Seattle Seahawks & Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976. The Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins were already set to start play for the 1966 season before the merger was announced. All existing teams would be retained, and none of them would be moved outside of their metropolitan

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