Sunday, September 9, 2012
FRSDailyPost: NFL Films: Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League: Moving Into The Super Bowl Era
By the late 1960s the American Football League was not only serious but ready to compete with the National Football League. They had already established winning and profitable franchises in New York, Buffalo, Kansas City, Houston, Oakland and Denver and had players that could play in both the AFL and NFL. Players that would later end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, like LB Willy Lanier of the Chiefs, QB, Len Dawson of the Chiefs, WR Lance Alworth of the Chargers, QB Joe Namath of the Jets. And many others, the AFL was not only successful by the late 1960s but were successful in big markets, like New York and Houston and were expanding in another big market in Miami, Florida. The Super Bowl between the AFL and NFL came about, because the NFL knew that the AFL was serious and were producing players that could play in either league but in some cases, the AFL teams. Were better then the NFL teams, like the Kansas City Chiefs that could beat anyone in the NFL in 1966, except for the Green Bay Packers that did have a great team in 1966. The AFL expanded into Miami in 1967 and they were awful in their first year like most Expansion Clubs are but. By year one were already building a nucleus that would make them Super Bowl Champions by 1972 and AFl Champions by 1971.
Don Shula gets a lot of credit for those great Dolphins teams of the early 1970s that won three AFC Championships and won two Super Bowls. Including going 17-0 in 1972 but Joe Thomas who was the Dolphins General Manager before the Don arrived in Miami in 1970, was the man who put those teams together. Drafting QB Bob Griese in 1967, FB Larry Czonka in 1968, OG Larry Little, DT Manny Fernandez, bringing in MLB Nick Bonoconti and many others. Don Shula inherited a talented team. In 1970 and it was his job to put it together to make this nucleus work and make them champions, which is what they did taking the Dolphins to the NFC Playoffs by 1970, AFC Champions in 1971. Winning back to back Super Bowls in 1972 and 73 but the AFL was already Major League Football before the Dolphins, with the Jets winning the first Super Bowl for the AFL. In 1968 and the Chiefs winning another Super Bowl in 1969.
By the late 1960s the AFL had already established credibility as Major League Football that was producing players that could play in the NFL. They had teams that could beat NFL teams and the NFL knew this and they were tired of losing players to the AFL, which is a couple reasons why the NFL merged with the AFL. The Super Bowl gets created in 1966 and they become one league by 1970.