Thursday, August 14, 2014

The American Football League Is Created


On Aug. 14, 1959, at the call of Dallas businessman Lamar Hunt, a new professional football league to be called the American Football League (AFL) was organized to begin play in 1960. 
 Charter memberships were issued to Dallas, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York. Buffalo and Boston were admitted later that year. Early in 1960, Minneapolis defected to the National Football League (NFL) and Oakland was picked as a replacement city. 
The whole idea seemed so far-fetched, even after AFL teams started playing, that the eight team owners became known as the "Foolish Club."
At 9 a.m. on August 14, 1959, a group of visionary men that included Hall of Famer Lamar Hunt and Tennessee Titans Bud Adams met in the South Imperial Suite of The Conrad Hilton in Chicago, Illinois to form the American Football League.
Almost every element that makes pro football the world's most popular sport that it is today can be traced to the American Football League and the huge changes its presence eventually brought to the sport. 

By the time the fierce AFL-NFL war of the 1960s was over, the expanded National Football League of the 1970s stretched from coast-to-coast and from border to border. Fans poured into NFL stadiums in record numbers. Rapidly increasing television coverage introduced pro football to hundreds of millions of new fans on every continent.

The Super Bowl was destined to become the most watched sports spectacle in the history of the world. The AFL was viewed by the masses as a "David" matched against an unbeatable "Goliath" for almost half of its 10-year history. 

But when the "rags-to-riches" story was concluded, the AFL had achieved what no other NFL challenger had ever accomplished - equality in a new and exciting pro football world.  

The Green Bay Packers of the original NFL won the first two Super Bowls convincingly, causing many people to question if the AFL teams could compete. The very next year, the New York Jets of the AFL upset the Baltimore Colts of the NFL for the AFL's first Super Bowl Title. The Chiefs also of the AFL won the 4th Super Bowl, evening the record at 2-2.

Since the construction of the combined league, the original AFL teams have won 20 Super Bowls while original NFL teams have taken 25. Three Super Bowls have been won by teams created after the merger (the Seattle Seahawks and the Baltimore Ravens, twice.)

The Winner of each Super Bowl receives the Vince Lombardi Trophy, named after Vince Lombardi, the great coach for the Green Bay Packers who led his team to victory in each of the first two Super Bowls. Following his death, the trophy was named prior to Super Bowl V in his honor.