American Football League (AFL)

History

Originally, Lamar Hunt wanted to start a football team in Dallas, Texas but was rejected by the NFL. After not being allowed to start an NFL team, Hunt decided to start his own league, the American Football League (AFL), in 1959. He was financially able to start up a new professional football league because his father had owned a large oil company and thus the wealth trickled down to him from his father. It all began when Hunt invited several business partners of his to Chicago for a meeting on August 14, 1959. Out of this meeting came the AFL's first seven teams. By the first season in 1960, there were eight teams. The league ended up having ten franchises by 1968. The league played in a championship game against the NFL each year. The AFL had a television agreement with ABC and equally divided the revenue that came from this deal among the league's teams.

Merger with NFL

Over the years, the NFL and AFL had found themselves competing over everything from fans to coaches. In 1966, both leagues came to a conclusion that they could not afford to compete over players due to the demands of high salaries by players. Due to this problem, both leagues agreed on a merger agreement signed on June 8, 1966. The league was named the NFL and the American Football Conference (AFC) was created as well as the National Football Conference (NFC). Although the agreement was signed in 1966, the merger was not totally put into place until 1970. This is when the operations of each league and schedules had completely and successfully merged. Pete Rozelle was the first commissioner of the NFL.


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