1960s Sports – Football

by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

1960s Sports – 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.

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.
1960s Sports - Football1960s FootballNFL 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

1960s Green Bay Packerslogo-earlyoilers1NFL 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

1960s Green Bay Packers60s FootballNFL 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”

1960s NFLNFL 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

60s Cleveland Browns60s Buffalo BillsNFL 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

60s Green Bay Packers1960s Buffalo BillsNFL 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

1966 Super Bowl Champs Green Bay Packers1969 Kansas City ChiefsSUPERBOWL 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

1967 Green Bay Packers1960s NFL FootballSUPERBOWL II:
(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

1968 N.Y. Jets1968 Baltimore ColtsSUPERBOWL 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

1969 Kansas City Chiefssixties sports - footballSUPERBOWL IV:
(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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