dead leagues metanode

1960-1970. A 1966 merger with the National Football League led immediately to a common entry draft (no more potentially-lethal bidding wars for college stars) and what is now known as the Super Bowl; the combined league didn't play a common schedule until 1970 - the AFL formed the basis of what is now known as the AFC. In 1959, US pro football consisted of 12 teams (there are now 32), and there was plenty of talent around - and plenty of moneyed people who wanted to own a professional sports franchise.

There were teams in New York, Buffalo, Boston, Houston, Dallas (the NFL launched a competing expansion team there - the Cowboys - leading Dallas Texans owner Lamar Hunt to move the team to Kansas City), Oakland, Los Angeles (the Chargers, who moved to San Diego), and Denver. Not a big success at first - hence the franchise moves, but a TV contract with NBC eventually gave them near-parity with the NFL.

On a better financial footing, the AFL could compete with the NFL for talent - one high-profile signing was the University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, who later led the New York Jets to the first Super Bowl victory by an AFL team (Super Bowl III). The leagues merged; expansion teams were added, in Miami and Cincinnati. The AFL ended with Super Bowl IV - Lamar Hunt's revenge for being run out of Dallas.

The American Football League-founded in 1959, merged with the larger, rival National Football League/NFL, in 1970.

The AFL, like the old ABA, was an attempt to break the monopoly of a single league for one professional sport in the United States.

The original teams:

Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers-later moved to San Diego
Oakland Raiders
Dallas Texans-moved in 1960 to become the Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills
Boston Patriots-later renamed the New England Patriots
New York Jets
Houston Oilers

The league expanded in 1964 to add teams in Cincinati and Miami.

When the Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Superbowl it was clear the "upstart league" had talent.

The merger was arranged that same year and the last seperate NFL-AFL season was 1969-1970.
The last interleague SuperBowl was in January of 1970 when Kansas City defeated Minnesota.

The next season three NFL teams-Baltimore, Cleveland and Pittsburgh were moved to the American Football conference to make two, thirteen team conferences.

The irony?

The "weakest" of the teams sent to the AFC-Pittsburgh, won the SuperBowl three times in the 1970s.

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