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         The nineteen-sixties were a time of turmoil, vision, and change.  The Cold War; the Kennedys; the race for the moon.  Personally, it was the decade of my marriage, and the births of my children: in short, the best time of my life.  In sports, too, the winds of change were blowing: goodbye, Bronko Nagurski, George Halas, three yards and a cloud of dust.  Hello, Lance Alworth, Tom Sestak, Joe Namath and Johnny Robinson.  So long to the Browns' orange pumpkins, hello to the 'Bolts       


The 'sixties: it was Camelot, it was the Beatles, it was Mare Tranquilitatis, it was "Aquarius":
it was the
AFL.

Ange Coniglio

 

Just kidding, REAL AFL fans are also authorized to enter this site!  (Sign courtesy of Scott Davis.)

Button images courtesy of http://www.grayflannelsuit.net

 
 

Enter below any AFL player name, team, fact, keyword/phrase, then click "Search"
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         Lance Alworth, Bobby Bell, Elvin Bethea, Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, Nick Buoniconti, Larry Csonka, Len Dawson, Bob Griese, Ken Houston, Charlie Joiner, Willie Lanier, Floyd Little, Larry Little, Don Maynard, Ron Mix, Joe Namath, Jim Otto, Billy Shaw, Art Shell, Jan Stenerud, Emmitt Thomas: along with the late Junious (Buck) Buchanan, George Blanda and Gene Upshaw, you all starred in the American Football League. 

        In spite of long odds and the aspersions cast at the AFL, you have achieved Professional Football's greatest honor, induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

         I respectfully ask that each of you reflect on the great team-mates who shared the field with you, as well as the worthy opponents you faced in those AFL years.  Many of them ALSO deserve to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but have unfairly been categorized as having played in an inferior league. 

         These include, but are not limited to
Johnny Robinson, who has better statistics and more championships than some other defensive backs of his era who have been enshrined - Robinson should have been inducted in 1977, as soon as he was eligible; Abner Haynes (All-time AFL all-purpose yards), Gino Cappelletti (All-time AFL scoring), John Hadl, half of that tremendous aerial attack with Alworth, Lionel Taylor (first receiver in Professional Football history to catch 100 passes in a season), Charlie Hennigan (first to break Taylor's record, held many Professional Football receiving records for 35 years after his retirement), and Daryle Lamonica (2nd-best to Otto Graham in won-lost percentage).  I could name many more who have been excluded because they played in the wrong league.

        I ask that you, the AFL Alumni in the Hall of Fame, as a group, lobby that institution to emulate the Baseball Hall of Fame's action when it recognized an injustice and inducted a number of Negro Leagues players at the same time

        If "senior" players can be inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame only two at a time, it is unlikely that many of those deserving AFL stars will be inducted before they die.

        I ask that the AFL Alumni Hall of Famers request that the Pro Football Hall of Fame, before it's too late, assemble a special selection committee of former sportswriters who covered the AFL, and charge them with the task of fairly evaluating the merits of all those unrecognized AFL stars, with the goal of inducting A NUMBER of them, en masse.  It would have been nice to have done this for the AFL's 50th Anniversary Season, but better late than never.

         Thanks, Ange Coniglio ~ REMEMBER the AFL

 
       
Game-day programs from the first week of American Football League play.
September 9, 1960 September 10, 1960 September 11, 1960
       

Click on the above bumper sticker to make your own.

Contact: RemembertheAFL@aol.com to comment

This site made the New York Times  
(Article by Vincent Mallozzi, photo by Mike Groll, www.mikegroll.com)

. . . and sny.tv
(Article by Barry Wittenstein)

American Football League
1960-1969

The genesis of modern Professional Football:

So why isn't Professional Football
called the
AFL?

       The nineteen-sixties were a time of turmoil, vision, and change.  The Cold War; the Kennedys; the race for the moon.  Personally, it was the decade of my marriage, and the births of my children: in short, the best time of my life.  In sports, too, the winds of change were blowing: goodbye, Bronko Nagurski, George Halas, three yards and a cloud of dust.  Hello, Lance Alworth, Tom Sestak, Joe Namath and Johnny Robinson.  So long to the Browns' orange pumpkins, hello to the Bolts
       The 'sixties: it was Camelot, it was the Beatles, it was Mare Tranquilitatis, it was "Aquarius": it was the
AFL.

Ange Coniglio ~ December 2004

       Of all the leagues that have attempted to challenge the dominance of an established league, the American Football League was the only one to be truly successful. The American Football League was the only league in North American pro sports ever to have merged with another major league and have all its teams continue to exist. No AFL teams folded and only two teams changed cities during the league's 10-year existence. Further, the league that merged with it adopted many of the innovative on- and off-field elements introduced by the AFL, including names on player jerseys, official scoreboard clocks and gate and revenue sharing. The AFL's challenge to the NFL also made possible the only four World Championship Games ever played between the champions of two major football leagues.

       Lamar Hunt's vision brought a new Professional Football league not only to California and New York, but to parts of the nation that did not previously have the sport: New England, Colorado and Texas. It would later be brought to Missouri and Florida. The AFL also adopted the first-ever cooperative television plan for Professional Football, in which the league office negotiated an ABC-TV contract, the proceeds of which were divided equally among member clubs.

       An AFL legacy seldom acknowledged is the fact that four cities obtained NFL franchises as a direct result of the competition the old league was forced into by the AFL: Dallas' Cowboys were created to drive the AFL's Texans out of business; the Minnesota Vikings were the NFL franchise given to Max Winter for abandoning the AFL (the AFL franchise later went to Oakland); the Atlanta Falcons franchise went to Rankin Smith to dissuade him from purchasing the AFL's Miami franchise; and New Orleans was given a franchise to repay the Louisiana congressmen who supported the bill permitting the AFL-NFL merger. It is most likely that if the AFL had never existed, neither would the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings, the Atlanta Falcons, nor the New Orleans Saints.

       The AFL's more liberal policies towards black players and its rigorous recruitment of players from black and small colleges revealed a new source of talent for Professional Football.  AFL scouts, including blacks like Tom Williams and the first full-time black scout, Lloyd Wells, recruited and opened the gates for the hundreds of talented blacks who subsequently contributed immeasurably to the sport, following in the footsteps of Abner Haynes, Buck Buchanan, Lionel Taylor and the like.

       The AFL's free agents came from several sources. Some were players who could not find success playing in the NFL. The sports media in established NFL cities called them "NFL rejects". But the success of men like the Oilers/Raiders' George Blanda, the Chargers/Bills' Jack Kemp, the Texans' Len Dawson, the Titans' Don Maynard, the Raiders/Patriots/Jets' Babe Parilli, the Pats' Bob Dee and many others, made that sobriquet questionable. Another source of free agents was the Canadian Football League. In the late 1950s, many players released by the NFL, or un-drafted and unsigned out of college by the NFL, went North to try their luck with the CFL, and later returned to the states to play in the AFL. In the league's first years, these included the Broncos' Frank Tripucka, the Pats' Gino Cappelletti, the Bills' Cookie Gilchrist and the Chargers' Tobin Rote, Sam Deluca and Dave Kocourek. Finally, there were the true "free agents", the walk-ons, the "wanna-be's", who tried out in droves for the chance to play Professional Football.

       The American Football League took advantage of the burgeoning popularity of football by locating teams in major cities that lacked NFL franchises, and by using the growing power of televised football games (bolstered with the help of major network contracts, first with ABC and later with NBC). It featured many outstanding games, such as the classic 1962 double-overtime American Football League championship game between the Dallas Texans and the defending champion Houston Oilers. It was the longest Professional Football championship game ever played, and is still considered one of the best.

       The AFL appealed to fans by offering a flashier alternative to the conservative NFL. Team uniforms were bright and colorful. Long passes ("bombs") were commonplace in AFL offenses, led by such talented quarterbacks as John Hadl, Daryle Lamonica and Len Dawson.  While the old league kept its time on a watch in the referee's pocket, occasionally announcing the time remaining, the AFL put it on the scoreboard clock, for fans to keep track of at a glance.  While CBS had a fixed camera on the fifty yard line for its NFL coverage, ABC and the AFL had moving sideline cameras and were the first to "mike" players during games.

       Another attractive feature of the American Football League was its competitive balance. In the original eight-team league, in a fourteen game schedule, each team played every other team twice. Every team had the same "strength of schedule", so the division champions were clearly the best teams in each division. Further, the league championships were evenly divided: five were won by Western Division teams, five by the Eastern Division; and of the original eight teams, all but two (Denver and Boston) won at least one AFL title, and only one did not make the playoffs at some time during the league's ten-year existence.

       The AFL clearly matched or outshone the old league in many cases. Examples abound: Lance Alworth of the Chargers was arguably the best receiver of the 1960s; Johnny Robinson of the Chiefs, although he has been ignored by the "pro football" hall of fame, was the equal of any NFL defensive back of the era; and the 1964 Buffalo Bills defense allowed their opponents only 300 rushing attempts and held them to a Professional Football record 913 yards rushing, while recording fifty quarterback sacks in a fourteen-game schedule.

       The AFL achieved its success in spite of sparse coverage by the print and electronic media. CBS-TV, which then carried NFL games, refused to give AFL game scores on its football broadcasts. William N. Wallace of the New York Times and Tex Maule of Sports Illustrated ridiculed the new league, and even after the AFL was established, SI gave full-page color action shots of the NFL, while it used black and white photos in its AFL coverage.  This bias is in many cases still evident today: in the reporting of AFL players' experience as "NFL experience" (e.g. Ron McDole is called a "17-year NFL veteran", when in actuality, he played eight of those years in the AFL); in the restoration of the Browns' name, colors, and records to Cleveland after the team moved, while Houston, the city that hosted the first two AFL champions, is forbidden to use the name "Oilers"; and in the inexplicable absence of AFL stars like Haynes and Robinson from the "pro football" hall of fame.

       These pages are meant to right the wrongs that American Football League fans have had to put up with ever since the AFL blew up its first "Spalding J5-V".  Enjoy the photos and stories, check the links listed below, and above all,


Click on the above bumper sticker to make your own.

The ORIGINAL EIGHT
click logos to enlarge
Eastern Division
Boston Patriots Buffalo Bills Houston Oilers Titans of New York
       
Western Division
Denver Broncos Dallas Texans Los Angeles Chargers Oakland Raiders
       
Helmet images courtesy of Klaus Gebhard


AFL Team Logos re-created by Gary Chanko
 

 

Below are excerpts from several sources, describing the influence that
the American Football League has had on modern Professional Football.

From Wikipedia, on-line encyclopedia:
Some innovative rules changes were also put into place, such as the two-point conversion (later adopted by the NFL in the 1990s); the use of the scoreboard clock as the official game clock (adopted by the NFL when the leagues merged--prior to this time, the official game clock was maintained by an official on the sidelines, and often did not match the scoreboard clock very closely); the use of player names on jerseys, (also adopted by the NFL); and the sharing of gate and television revenues between home and visiting teams (also adopted by the NFL). In short,
the NFL adopted virtually every pioneering aspect of the American Football League, except its name.

From Thomas J. Burns, freelance historian:
I am of a mind that the two great sports developments of the post World War II era, the AFL and NASCAR, both deserve a masterful scholarly analysis.

From the "Pro Football" Hall of Fame Website:
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.

From CNNSI.com:
The AFL had a
history that is a large part of the modern National Football League that we know today.

From the Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2009:
"You can make the case that the genesis of modern Professional Football was the AFL." ~ Bob Costas

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Click here to hear a 2010 interview about the American Football League on "Think or be Eaten", with Keith Hansen and AFL fans Larry Hillman and Ange Coniglio.

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        The 1969 regular season started with the Jets at Buffalo.  Hundreds of Bills fans (including me) greeted the Jets at the Buffalo airport, shouting "Thank you Jets!"
          When the visiting, defending World Champion Jets, the Bills' AFL Eastern Division rivals, ran onto the field at War Memorial Stadium,  a sellout crowd of 46,151 Bills fans gave them a standing ovation, and the Bills Cheerleaders honored them by displaying a green and white sign reading CHAMPS!
           What other league ever had fans as loyal?

 
   AFLBest.jpg (21846 bytes) Eastern Division     AFLBest.jpg (21846 bytes) Western Division
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Boston Patriots Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills Kansas City Chiefs
Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets San Diego Chargers
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals
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SUPER BOWL RESULTS
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 FINAL AFL-NFL SUPER BOWL Standings:
 Stodgy, 50-year old
NFL: 2 Wins
 Brash, 10-year-old
AFL: 2 Wins

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Three NFL teams made it to a true world championship contest.
All of them were touted, in their turn, as "THE GREATEST TEAM IN PRO FOOTBALL HISTORY". 
Two of them lost to American Football League teams.

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This Is the AFL Web Page of Angelo F. ConigLio

(Click to e-mail me)

Lamar Hunt

Joe Foss

Sid Gillman

Lou Saban

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AFL Founder

Original AFL Commissioner

Original Chargers Head Coach

2 Straight AFL Titles
at Buffalo

Hank Stram

Buster Ramsey

Mike Holovak

Sammy Baugh

George    

 Blanda

Stram1960FleerFront300w.jpg (39988 bytes)

Only Texans-Chiefs
Head Coach

Bills' First
 Head Coach

AFL PATRIOTS'
Winningest Coach

Titans' First
Head Coach

American Football League ~ Forever!
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READ ABOUT
the AFL's
10-year Patch

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SEE THROWBACK
JERSEYS and SHIRTS

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GinoFrontSmallBorder.jpg (41388 bytes) PatriotPlaqSmaller.jpg (87278 bytes) PlaqBills.JPG (46253 bytes) cookieSmall.jpg (151487 bytes) ErnieFrontSmallBorder.jpg (38712 bytes)

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Click on Jerry for his column

Remember these?

Read more about the AFL at these sites:

 

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a fans' History
of the
American
Football
League

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLhistory1959.htm

American
Football League
.
 
MVPs

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLMVPs.htm

American
Football League
.
 Rookies of the Year

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLRookiesOfTheYear.htm

AFL
BLOG

TALES FROM
THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

WWW.TOBIASSPORTSPROJECTS.COM
 

Click HERE for Jeff Vogel's great American Football League site

  ...
FULL
COLOR
FOOTBALL
The History of the
American Football League

  All five full episodes of the history of the AFL

from

 

New Members
of the
AFL Hall of Fame

Six new members of the AFL Hall of Fame were added in 2010.
The inductees and their nominators are:

STEW BARBER (Albert Klumpp)
MARLIN BRISCOE
(Allen Twitchell)
RICH JACKSON
(Larry Kaminski)
JIM LYNCH
(Tony Stein)
DICKIE POST
(Dave Steidel)
HARRY WISMER
(Jim Singh)

Twenty
Players
~
Ten Years

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFL20for10.htm

PUT JACK FRENCH KEMP
IN THE
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME
!

COOKIE, TOO!!

robert phillips:

NOTE TO AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE FANS:
.
Robert Phillips' pioneering site about the AFL has been restored.
Click on the
afl-football.50.webs.com banner, above, to see his site.

To see a story about his original site, click the CNNSI logo below.

AFL Fans'
Home Page

AmericanFootballLeagueFansHomePage.htm

USA TODAY Series on
the AFL's 50th season:

How the AFL changed the NFL
Peter King on the AFL
Professional Football finally
acknowledges the AFL!!
Click here for a series of links to
AFL clips, history, and more.

Review of SHOWTIME series on
The History of the AFL

FULL COLOR FOOTBALL

"Encyclopedia":

http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Football_League
CBSSportsline.jpg (3840 bytes) http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/football/nfl/legends/aflindex.html

The Hall of Fame Honors the AFL!

On-line
AFL F
ILMS

BZ.gif (6387 bytes)

http://www.billszone.com/

AFL
Laws of
Procedure

http://bit.ly/AFLRules

AFL
Refs

American Football League
ON-FIELD OFFICIALS

AFL
Coaches
& Staff

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLCoaches.htm

AFLtitleNo1program100w.jpg (9091 bytes)

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AFL
Collectors

.
.

 

http://members.aol.ebay.com/aboutme/bflodave

Bob Carroll NFL Apologist PFRA Football History

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AFL Cards:

VINTAGE
Football Card Gallery

Remember the AFL's 1965 Topps AFL  by Team

More
AFL
Cards:

Dan Austin's Virtual Card Collection:
1963 Fleer AFL Set
.
Dan Austin's
Virtual Card Collection:
1965 Topps AFL Set
Chris Holmes'
AFL
Game
Programs

grayflannelsuit.net/ephemera/afl-programs/afl-programs-index.html

COLORFUL AFL PLAYER NICKNAMES

Memorabilia.jpg (83504 bytes) AFL Memorabilia: The American Football League TRADING POST
AFL                        
FOOTBALL     .
COLOR BY NUMBER      
ColorByNumber.htm and "other AFL stuff"

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AFL Helmets

THIS SPACE AVAILABLE

AFLGold3DBlueSmall.gif (24457 bytes)

AFL Logos:

http://www.logoserver.com/AFL.html
LogoLogo2.jpg (8877 bytes)

AFLAllStarScanSmall.gif (32418 bytes)

Original
AFL Logos, Decals, and
Helmet Motifs

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLdecals.htm

Downloadable
AFL Images

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLImages.html

NEW
Tee-Shirts, caps, etc. with AFL logos

American Football League Throwbacks

Stunning detailed
miniatures of
AFL players

http://twobarcustom.com/

The Original AFL
(1960 - 1969)
Fantasy
Football
League

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLFantasyFootballLeague.htm

The AFL's
MOUNT
RUSHMORE

http://www.remembertheafl.com/images/MountRushmoreAFL.jpg

Books about the
American Football League

American Football League
Championships
and Post-Season Appearances

AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE Championship List
.
MM Bolding's AFL Championship Stories

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AFL
Team
Championship
Rings

AFL Championship Rings

Now YOU can buy
a NEW
American Football League ring!!!

AFL Rings for Alumni and Fans

1960 AFL All-League Players
AFL All-League Players 1960 - 1969
AFL All Time Team

EVERY MAN WHO EVER PLAYED IN
THE AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE

THE AFL'S FALLEN HEROES

AMERICAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
INDIVIDUAL RECORDS > >

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLIndividualRecords.htm

Back in the Day . . .

AFL clippings

THANKSGIVING DAY
AFL
GAMES

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFLThanksgiving.htm

Celebrate the 50th
 Anniversary of the
AFL

http://www.remembertheafl.com/CelebrateTheAFL.htm

The Sports Attic
~ AS REAL AS IT GETS ~

Simulate Historical Pro Football Seasons

Guest Essays on the American Football League

When did EXHIBITION games MEAN something?

Radio and Television Announcers
of American Football League Games

What Pete Rozelle DIDN'T Do.

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            This page is to expose the misguided souls who did (and do) their best to disrespect the league that was the genesis of modern professional football, the American Football League.

FALSE RAPS.against the.American Football League

.
Links to other NON - NFL sites
BuffAllAmerlogoSmall.gif (4531 bytes) Buffalo
All-Americans:
http://www.angelfire.com/sports/Buffalofootballhist/
AAFCLogo.jpg (7130 bytes) All-America
Football
Conference:
http://www.woodbridgefootball.com/AAFC.htm

http://www.fanbase.com/AAFC
 

USFL.gif (5464 bytes)

www.remembertheusfl.8m.com
CFLAFL133w.jpg (5933 bytes) Canadian Football League
Influences
http://www.remembertheafl.com/CanadianFootballLeague.htm

SportsLoreLogo.gif (6581 bytes)

http://www.sportslore.com/index.php
A Place for Buffalo Sports Fans to
Reminisce about Days Gone By
The Buffalo Sports Museum

OTHER NON - NFL LEAGUES

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Professional Football History
 

SizzlingSixtiesSports

Sports memories of youth for
baby boomers and sports historians.

Sports blog about the 1960's

Memories of The
AFL Years

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V V Click on a Team's Program for the Team Page V V
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The following article appeared in Pro Football Weekly in the Summer of 1970

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Coniglio Loves the AFL, Per Se

"Memoirs of a Mickey Mouse Fan..."

Angelo Coniglio is perhaps the AFL's greatest fan. He has been carrying on a one-man campaign to perpetuate the identity of his favorite league in its merger with the NFL.   Mr. Coniglio has collected some of his opinions and reminiscences in an article which he calls "The Last Ten Years" or "Memoirs of a Mickey Mouse Fan" or "Welcome to the AFL."
                        By ANGELO CONIGLIO

   After 1970, the greatest success in modern sports history will cease to exist. After 10 years of ridicule and snobbery by the National Football League, the AFL will strike its colors forever and meekly join the league that called it "Mickey Mouse".
   Oh, there will be an "American Conference", all right, as there was in 1950, after the AAFC was "merged into" the NFL (that "American Conference" lasted all of three years).  However, the name of the combined leagues will be the National Football League, and the distinctive emblem of the AFL, which is artistically head and shoulders above the NFL's dated shield, will be discarded.
   Football fans who relished the inter-league games and looked forward to an AFL - NFL All-Star game will be disappointed. There will be no such game. It'll be the "Pro Bowl" instead. In fact, there will be no more Super Bowl and hence no world championship game, since after the merger, that game will degenerate into simply an NFL championship game.
   Before the AFL dies, I feel compelled to record some of the frustrations, sorrows, and triumphs of an American Football League fan.
   IT MAY HAVE been the belief of the "Foolish Club" (the AFL founders) that after one or two years, they would all be granted NFL franchises.  Had that occurred, this fan would not have felt much dismay at the demise of the infant league.
   That was not to be the case, however. The AFL is 10 years old, which is, after all 20 per cent of the time which the NFL has existed. I have had 10 years to develop loyalty to the league. The AFL founders never imagined the popularity their brainchild would  attain,  and  the  NFL never  realized   that  the  decade   in

which the AFL gained superiority would also mark the greatest increase in the popularity of the NFL version of the game.
   Not even the most avid AFL fan would contend that the overall quality of the AFL in 1960 was on a par with that of the NFL. It was, after all, a whole league of "expansion teams." But there were teams in the NFL in 1960 which would have found it rather difficult to achieve winning seasons in either of the AFL divisions.
   We saw strange and exciting football in those early years. The favorite play seemed to be the "reverse" on kickoff returns. And since there was plenty of scoring, there were plenty of kickoffs.

      We saw "NFL rejects" who are still playing today, putting
    the lie to that phrase. I don't think the
Philadelphia Eagles,
    for example, would refuse the services of George Blanda or
    Len Dawson, or Jack Kemp.

IN 10 SEASONS of play in the AFL, 232 players have been elected to All-Star teams. Of these 232, only 25 had ever played in the NFL. In 1960, seven of 22 were "NFL rejects". By 1968, every player on the AFL All-Star squad was a pure AFL player, and only two were "common draftees" (this in rebuttal to the myth that the AFL would need four or five more common drafts to pick up good rookies).

It's amusing that each of the three NFL teams to make it to the Super Bowl was touted by the press as "possibly the greatest NFL team ever".  Yet,  two  out  of  three  of  those teams lost to the AFL.
   Parity  was  reached  in  1963!  What of the first two Super Bowls?  In 33 NFL championship games before the first Super Bowl, the average score was 36-11.  That's   right,  the  average  winning margin in NFL championships was 25 points,  but  when  the Chiefs   lost  by  exactly  that  margin,  it was  considered a rout.
The  next  year,  the  Packers,  in  an  NFL  playoff,  beat  the  L. A.

                                 (Continued on Page 10)

 

Memoirs of a Mickey Mouse Fan...

(Continued from Page 8)

 

Rams by 19 points.  No one told the Rams they'd have to wait for a couple more drafts before they could play with the big boys, but that's what they told the Raiders when they lost by that identical margin.

The Rams and the Raiders were both good teams who were beaten by  a better one. That didn't prove that the Raiders played against "Patsies", any more that it proved the Rams did. 

IF THE AFL were not to die, in one or two years, every significant pro football record would be held by an AFL player, team or coach.

In addition, the AFL now holds the majority of individual records in the short history of the Super Bowl.

In 1965, I wrote to each of the owners of the 25 then existing pro football franchises, suggesting that a common draft, an inter-league championship, and an inter-league All-Star game were in the interests of both leagues.  I received replies from all of the AFL owners, agreeing with my views. Only three NFL owners, responded however; Art Modell, Art Rooney, and Carroll Rosenloom.  If those names sound familiar, they just happen to be the men who, four years later, agreed to shift their franchises to the AFL.

That shift was the result of the 1966 merger, which was the ultimate result of the player signing war between the leagues. The AFL gave in too soon. Why should we have to pay an indemnity  to a  league which  took  Minneapolis  and  Atlanta

away from us, and forced us out of Los Angeles and Dallas? If the AFL owners had held their ground, they could have forced the NFL to turn over two franchises in 1966, Atlanta and Dallas.

Then expansion could have evened out both leagues, and each would have retained its name.

A big fuss is made over the fact that the "merger agreement" stated that there must be one league, and Congress is always mentioned in the same breath, implying monopoly charges if the "merger agreement" is not followed to the letter.  I ask this simple question: Which is more likely to instigate charges of monopoly... one league or two?

The AFL owners scored a stunning triumph in only nine years. Yet it seems their recent close association with the NFL owners has left them star-struck.  Rather than expressing their great pride in their brainchild by insisting that it keep its name, they stumbled over each other in their hurry to discard the AFL and its emblem and embrace the NFL.

IN SO DOING, they have humiliated hundreds of thousands of AFL fans who have watched their league accomplish in only 10 years what it took the NFL fifty years to do.

So it all will end. The year 2009 will be praised in song and story not as the 50th anniversary of the AFL, but as the 90th of the NFL.  And no one will remember the AFL existed, except for a few fans with scrapbooks and long memories.

 

click here for more "Memoirs"
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      The American Football League Hall of Fame includes players and coaches who distinguished themselves on the field of play.  Their stories are told elsewhere on this site.  Those cited below played in the AFL, but it was their actions outside of pro football that brought them honor.

Bob Kalsu - one of two Pro Football players to die in the Viet Nam war.

         Bob Kalsu played in the American Football League for the Buffalo Bills.   It is often reported that he was an NFL player who died in Viet Nam, but that's not true.  After starring at Oklahoma, he played in the AFL, where as an offensive guard, he was the Bills' outstanding rookie in 1968.
        
With an expectant wife, when his unit was called to active duty, rather than seeking a deferment, Kalsu chose to serve in Viet Nam.
 Lieutenant Kalsu was killed by enemy fire in July 1970, while helping defend Ripcord Base on an isolated jungle mountaintop near Viet Nam's Ashau Valley.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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See more about Lt. Kalsu at
THE VIRTUAL WALL

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Larry Carwell

          Larry Carwell was a cornerback who played college football at Iowa State University, and played professionally in the American Football League for the Houston Oilers in 1967 and 1968, and for the Boston Patriots in 1969.  He had interception returns of over 60 yards for touchdowns for both teams.

          In 1984, he was a United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer working to stop the flow of marijuana and cocaine into the United States from Latin America. While aboard a U.S. helicopter bound for the Bahamas, he was one of five missing persons lost at sea when the helicopter crashed.

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A member of the
American Football League Hall of Fame

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Click here for names of other deceased AFL players

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American Football League Uniforms
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      The book '75 Seasons' lists a 'Professional Football Team of the Sixties'.  That the book was produced by the NFL is evident when you figure that for the bulk of the Sixties, there were 15 NFL teams, and 8 AFL teams, but there were nineteen NFL players and only six AFL players chosen for this team by the NFL. 
        In the sixties, Charley Hennigan's numbers were better than Charley Mitchell's; and Jerrell Wilson was a better punter during that decade than Don Chandler. 
         The AFL players on the 'Team of the Sixties' are Billy Shaw, Ron Mix, Jim Otto, Lance Alworth, Bobby Bell, and Johnny Robinson. They're all in the "pro football" Hall of Fame except Robinson, who had statistics equal to Larry Wilson, who is standing behind him in the portrait.  He also had three more League Championship rings than Wilson, and one more Super Bowl ring.
         To read about the AFL players, put your cursor over each to see a note, then click on the player.

 

Billy Shaw: Only player inducted to the "pro football" Hall of Fame who never played a down in the NFL, a member of the All=Time All-AFL Team. Ron Mix: Ten-year AFL player had only two holding calls against him in his entire career.  Member of the All-Time All AFL Team. Jm Otto: Played all ten years of the AFL, all with the Raiders, never missed a game, member of the All-Time All-AFL Team. Lance Alworth: Greatest receiver of the Sixties, first AFL player in the "pro football" Hall of Fame.  Member of the All-Time All-AFL Team. Bobby Bell: All-American, Outland Trophy winner, six-time AFL All-Star, member of the All-Time All AFL Team. Johnny Robinson: Played SB IV with broken ribs. All-Time All-AFL, has 3 AFL Championship rings and a World Championship, and stats equal to the guy over his left shoulder, Larry Wlson, who has NO rings: he's in the Hall of Fame, but Johnny Robinson isn't. Willie Brown: Five-time AFL All-Star, member of the All-Time All AFL Team.

 

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Do YOU think that more
American Football League
players belong in the "pro football" hall of fame? If so, please write, call, or e-mail Mr. Steven Perry, the president of the hall of fame, and let him know.
 
2121 George Halas Drive NW
Canton, Ohio 44708
(330) 456-8207
QuestionOfTheDay@Fans.Profootballhof.com

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Patriots Bills Oilers Jets Dolphins Broncos Chiefs Chargers Raiders Bengals
Click here for an all-time roster of American Football League players.

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2003  American Football League Hall of Fame  All rights reserved. Duplicate in any form you like, if you're an AFL fan.
You have the permission of the American Football League Hall of Fame.  Please credit/link to: http://www.remembertheafl.com
Last revision: 07 August 2014 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio, nospam.RemembertheAFL@aol.com
 

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