dead leagues metanode
-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
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.