The AFL: A Brief History Lesson
I thought it might be a good idea to give a brief overview of the history of the American Football League (AFL) because it pertains to the history of my fictional NFL team, the San Antonio Armadillos. I am not going to go into any detail on how I will shoe-horn my team into this history, but I will say that in my story they are one of the original members of the AFL.
In the late 50’s several wealthy business men, most notably former Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, tried to buy an existing NFL team and/or convince the NFL to award them expansion franchises. When the NFL declined, the men got together and decided to form their own football league.
The AFL began play in 1960 with the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Texans, Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, LA Chargers, NY Titans and Oakland Raiders. The Texans would later move to Kansas City and become the Chiefs, the Chargers would move to San Diego, and the Titans would be sold and name changed to the Jets.
In 1964 the AFL would sign a lucrative deal with NBC. The money allowed them to outbid the NFL for many of the top college prospects and to expand with the Miami Dolphins. The stealing of players from the rival league would escalate when Al Davis became the commissioner a couple years later.
Fearing the two leagues were doing more damage to each other than good, Cowboys GM Tex Schramm began secretly meeting with Lamar Hunt to negotiate a merger of the two leagues. The merger was officially announced June 8, 1966.
Before the two leagues became fully merged in 1970, the Cincinnati Bengals would become the AFL’s tenth team. The Steelers, Browns, and Colts would join the ten AFL teams to form the American Football Conference while the remaining NFL teams formed the National Football Conference.
The AFL’s impact on the NFL as we know it today was huge. They introduced teams to markets on the west coast that the NFL was ignoring. They were the first to put player’s names on the back of their jerseys and had the 2-pt conversion long before the NFL.
If you’d like to know more about the AFL, check out these two links: