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1950s SPORTS

1960s football was going through an incredible growth spurt. Growing interest in the sport was fueled by television and scheduling. Having the games on Sunday afternoons gave most of the country the opportunity to watch their favorite team perform in their own living room. The NFL was football's official league but because of the growing popularity of the sport a new league the AFL decided it was time for some competition. sixties Sports

After having been turned down when he tried to form an NFL expansion team Lamar Hunt, of Texas oil fame, decided instead of expansion teams that he would put together a new league. With other heavyweight owners the American Football League was born. It consisted of eight teams the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers and New York Titans in the East and the Denver Broncos, Dallas Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, and Oakland Raiders in the West.

Competition between the two rival leagues became so intense that bidding wars for existing players as well as college graduates drove player salaries to new highs. Fearing this out of control spiral NFL and AFL owners sat down and eventually hammered out a merger of the two leagues. The merged league mostly adopted the AFL rules but the directorship of the new league and the name were taken from the NFL.
The first game between the two leagues was in 1967 it was called AFL-NFL Championship Game but would later be known as Superbowl I. Three more Championship games would be played until the merger was completed in 1970. The AFL lost the first two but miraculously won the second two. The 1969 game between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Jets was possibly the biggest upset ever in football. The heavily favored Colts lost to the Jets 16 - 7 establishing the AFL as a real league by giving them their first victory over an NFL Team.   (Webmaster Note: I was at this game and Broadway Joe Namath, delivered on every bit of his pre-game hype, I was a huge Earl Morrall fan but Namath stole the show)

Continue below for a chronological look at Football in the 1960s:

sixties football
1960s football

    NFL Championship Game:
      Philadelphia Eagles - 17,  Green Bay Packers - 13
    AFL Championship Game:
      Houston Oilers - 24,  Los Angeles Chargers - 16

    In the NFL
  • Pete Rozelle was elected NFL commissioner
  • The Dallas Cowboys were added in an expansion move as the thirteenth team in the League
  • The Chicago Cardinals relocated to St. Louis
       there are now two professional sports teams in St Louis named the Cardinals
  • In the AFL
  • Chartered in 1959 under the leadership of Lamar Hunt the league began play in 1960
  • The new league consisted of the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Texans, Denver Broncos,
       Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Titans, and Oakland Raiders
  • The AFL was having great success drafting and recruiting new players from college and from NFL free agency
       including Billy Cannon, the 1959 Heisman Trophy winner from LSU

NFL Championship           1960 football                 60s football

AFL Championship           1960s football              sixties football

60s football                 1961 NY Giants Football Team   NFL Championship

1961 Football Houston Oilers                 1961 San Diago Chargers   AFL Championship

60s footbal
1961 football

    NFL Championship Game:
      Green Bay Packers - 17, New York Giants - 0
    AFL Championship Game:
      Houston Oilers - 10, San Diego Chargers - 3
    In the NFL
  • The Minnesota Vikings were added to the league in an effort to keep them out of the AFL
  • The league now had fourteen teams and the schedules expanded to fourteen games
  • The Green Bay Packers would revenge their loss in 1960 with five Championships during the remainder of the decade
  • MVP - Paul Hornung, Running Back, Green Bay

  • In the AFL
  • The Los Angeles Chargers moved to San Diego during the off season
      in San Diego they won their first eleven games and were headed for the perfect season
      they unfortunately dropped the next two games and then lost in the Championship game
  • George Blanda of the Oilers proved that even "NFL Rejects" could play championship football
      during the 1961 season he threw for 3,333 yards and 36 touchdowns, an all-time AFL record

60s footbal
Football highlights from 1962

    NFL Championship Game:
      Green Bay Packers - 16, New York Giants - 7
    AFL Championship Game:
      Dallas Texans - 20, Houston Oilers - 17
    In the NFL
  • Green Bay won their first ten games heading for that perfect season
    they finished the season (13-1) the only loss being to Detroit
  • MVP - Jim Taylor, Running Back, Green Bay Packers
  • Rule Change - the grabbing of another players face mask is prohibited for ANY reason
  • CBS signs a $4.65 million deal to televise NFL games

  • In the AFL
  • The Championship game was decided in double overtime play making it the longest game in football (up to that time)
  • The two time champs the Oilers were heavily favored but fumbled in the second overtime to lose the game
  • Despite winning the Championship the Texans couldn't compete for fans with the Dallas Cowboys
      for purely financial reasons Lamar Hunt picked up his team and moved it to Kansas MO
  • The Texans renamed themselves the Chiefs to honor the mayor of Kansas City whose nickname was "Chief"

NFL Championship                           1962 NY Giants

AFL Championship           1962 Dallas Texans                 1962 Houston Oilers

NFL Championship                           1963 NY Giants

AFL Championship           1963 Dallas Texans                 1963 Houston Oilers

60s footbal
Football highlights from 1963

    NFL Championship Game:
      Chicago Bears - 14, New York Giants - 10
    AFL Championship Game:
      San Diego Chargers - 51, Boston Patriots - 10
    In the NFL
  • NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle indefinitely suspended two players for
      gambling on football games including games in which they had played
      they would be out for the whole season, five other players were simply fined $2000 each
  • MVP - Y.A. Tittle, Quarterback, N.Y. Giants
  • President Kennedy was assassinated just two days before the regular season started
      Rozelle decided that it was the American way to carry on so the season started as scheduled

  • In The AFL
  • After moving from Dallas and being renamed, the Kansas City Chiefs finished next to last in the Western Division
  • Due to substantial financial losses the NY Titans were purchased and renamed the NY Jets
      they also relocated their playing field to Shea Stadium in Queens
  • The AFL did postpone their season by one week due to President Kennedy's assignation

1960s football
60s football

    NFL Championship Game:
      Cleveland Browns - 27, Baltimore Colts - 0
    AFL Championship Game:
       Buffalo Bills - 20, San Diego Chargers - 7
    In the NFL
  • Baltimore lost it's first game of the season but won the next eleven to cinch the Western Division
  • MVP - Johnny Unitas, Quarterback, Baltimore Colts
  • The Colts coach Don Shula won Coach of the Year
  • The Browns played in eight Championship Games, this one was their first (and last) win

  • In the AFL
  • NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was approached to hold a World Championship Game
      between the NFL champ and the AFL winner, Rozelle declined the offer (no Superbowl yet!)
  • NBC, who had just purchased the rights to televise NFL games also bought the rights to AFL games
      this contract gave the league the money they needed to attract better players

NFL Championship         1964 Clevland Browns                 1964 Baltimore Colts

AFL Championship         1964 Buffalo Bills             1964 San Diego Chargers

NFL Championship                           1965 Cleveland Browns

AFL Championship           1965 Buffalo Bills                 1965 San Diego Chargers

60s footbal
Football trivia from 1965

    NFL Championship Game:
      Green Bay - 23, Cleveland - 12
    AFL Championship Game:
       Buffalo Bills - 23, San Diego Chargers - 0
    In the NFL
  • The Packers were tied with the Colts and forced into a playoff game to win the Western Conference
      the game was won in overtime with two last quarter field goals by Green Bay
  • Competition in the draft for college players between the NFL & AFL became very fierce and was driving up players starting salaries
      trying to stem this trend was one of the major reasons the two leagues finally decided to merge
  • MVP - Jim Brown, Running back, Cleveland
    In the AFL
  • There was still no overtime or sudden death for regular season games so San Diego's three ties
      almost knocked them out of winning the Division as it is based on the number of wins
  • Joe Robbie & Danny Thomas got the league to agree to an expansion team in Miami for a fee of 7.5 million dollars

60s footbal
1966 Footbal

    SUPERBOWL I: (actually played in January '67)
      (NFL) Green Bay Packers - 35,    (AFL) Kansas City Chiefs - 10
    In the NFL
  • An agreement to merge the two leagues was reached, the merger would be phased in
       with completion not until 1970, the first step was the first inter league Championship Game (Superbowl)
  • The National Football League (NFL) name was retained as the official name of the newly combined league
  • The Atlanta Falcons were added as an expansion franchise giving the league 15 teams (an odd number)
  • Green Bay won the NFL Championship Game over the Dallas Cowboys (34 - 17)
  • MVP - Bart Starr, Quarterback, Packers

  • In the AFL
  • The Miami Dolphins start their first season they wind up with a 3-11-0 record (tied with Houston for last)
  • The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills (31 - 7) in the AFL Championship Game

SUPERBOWL I            1966 Superbowl I champs                 1966 Chiefs

SUPERBOWL II            1966 Superbowl I champs                  Oakland Raiders

1960s football
60s football

      (NFL) Green Bay Packers - 33,   (AFL) Oakland Raiders - 14 at Miami, FL

    In the NFL
  • The league expanded to 16 teams with the addition of the New Orleans Saints
  • The NFL was split into four divisions: the Capitol and Century Divisions in the Eastern Conference
      and the Central and Coastal Divisions in the Western Conference,
       this gave more opportunities for playoff games which the league felt helped TV revenue
  • In the NFL Championship Game the Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys (21 - 17)
  • MVP was Johnny Unitas, Quarterback for the Baltimore Colts

  • In the AFL
  • The AFL Championship Game was won by the Oakland Raiders (40) over the Houston Oilers (7)
  • This is the last season that there is an official AFL, but they continue with the same divisions until 1970

1960s football
1968 football

    SUPERBOWL III:  (known as the biggest upset in AFL-NFL history)
      (AFL) New York Jets (16), Baltimore Colts (7) at Miami, FL
    (Editors note: I was at this game and I was a huge Earl Morrall fan but Joe Namath lived up to his hype,
    it was a terrific game played by two legendary quarterbacks)

  • NFL Championship Game:
      the Baltimore Colts defeated the Cleveland Browns (34 - 0)
  • The Colts missed a perfect season by one game, (Cleveland) in the regular season
    the coach Don Shula will have his perfect season in 1972 with the Dolphins
  • AFL Championship Game:
      New York Jets over the Oakland Raiders (27 - 23)
  • The AFL expanded to ten teams with the addition of the Cincinnati Bengals
      they were still divided into two divisions, Eastern and Western

SUPERBOWL III            1968 New York Jets                 1968 Baltimore Colts

SUPERBOWL IV            1969 Kansas City Chiefs                 1969 Minnesota Vikings

1960s football
1969 sports

      (AFL) Kansas City Chiefs (23), Minnesota Vikings (7) at New Orleans, LA

  • NFL Championship Game: Minnesota Vikings easily over the Cleveland Browns (27 - 7)
  • MVP was Roman Gabriel, Quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams
  • AFL Championship Game: Kansas City Chiefs (17) over the Oakland Raiders (7)
  • This was the last season for the AFL next year it would become the AFC (American Football Conference)
      and the NFL changes into the NFC (National Football Conference)
      they represent the two conferences of the NFL
    (goodbye AFL!)

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