Saturday, June 8, 2013
June 8, 1966: The NFL/AFL Merger Is Announced
On June 8, 1966, the merger between the NFL and AFL was announced. For years the NFL held off rival leagues until the AFL emerged in 1960. The eight team league offered a high flying aerial attack and a gritty type of a defense that brought interest from fans to the tune of a million fans by 1962. As time progressed the league simply grew stronger, they landed a lucrative tv deal and brought in big names that gave them legitimate credibility in the world of sports. In an effort to stop the NFL from losing players and tv money to the rival league, negotiations began to merge the two leagues. When the details were hammered out it was announced that the new league would be called the NFL, there would be 24 teams that would be split into two conferences the NFC and AFC. The first Super Bowl would be played at the end of the '66 season, the Vince Lombardi led Green Bay Packers took the first title. It took three seasons for one of the former AFL teams to win the big game. Joe Namath and the Jets surprised the world by beating Johnny Untias' Baltimore Colts, the upset brought about a new era in football. Since the day the two leagues became one the NFL has become a true powerhouse in American sports.