• Caspersen Sivertsen posted an update 4 months, 1 week ago


    The year was 1966, and war was raging in professional football. It was a sale war for talent plus it had been going on because the American Football League came on the scene in 1960 to challenge the National Football League, forty years its senior. At first, the battles were for college players, along with the AFL scored an earlier victory when a court ruled in favor of the Houston Oilers over the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams after both clubs had signed Billy Cannon, the Heisman Trophy winning halfback at Louisiana State.

    Although the leagues decided to a “no tampering” rule on existing player contracts, the stakes became high for college talent. Bonuses went sky-high. replica super bowl trophies signed Alabama quarterback Joe Namath in 1965 to a $400,000 contract, the greatest amount ever for a collegian. In 1966, the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons gave Texas linebacker Tommy Nobis a $600,000 package along with the Green Bay Packers forked over $711,000 to Texas Tech running back Donny Anderson.

    Meanwhile, veteran players were settling for small raises on relatively small salaries. For example, John Brodie, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, received $35,000 in 1965 and was asking for a raise to $65,000 after leading the NFL in completions, completion percentage, yardage and touchdown passes. Then came a back-breaker. Buffalo placekicker Pete Gogolak, who had played out his option in 1965, signed with the NFL’s New York Giants. The “no tampering” code was broken. The conflict was at outside, and yes it was time for action.

    On April 7, 1966, peacemaker Joe Foss resigned as AFL commissioner along with the next day Al Davis, general manager with the Oakland Raiders, took over. Davis was obviously a hawk in regards to the NFL, anf the husband a plan. Davis organized an AFL war chest and urged keepers to start talking to established NFL stars. The NFL had bragged of the company’s superiority because in the caliber of its quarterbacks. Davis wished to sign those quarterbacks to the AFL.

    The Raiders quickly signed Los Angeles quarterback Roman Gabriel to some commitment starting in ’67. Houston offered the 49ers’ Brodie $75,000, spread over 10 years, to sign a five-year deal using the Oilers. Reportedly, eight with the NFL’s starting quarterbacks were dickering with all the AFL. The NFL had no choice. On June 8, 1966, 60 days after Davis took over as AFL commissioner, a merger agreement was announced. There would certainly be a common draft starting in 1967, interleague preseason games starting in ’67 and regular-season play combining the leagues in 1970. Territorial indemnification of $18 million ended up being be paid on the 49ers and Giants on the 20-year period. Most important, from the standpoint of football fans, was the immediate establishment of the championship game relating to the leagues. This was the AFL-NFL World Championship Game — that was popularized as the Super Bowl looking at the inception.

    Gabriel never went on the Raiders and Brodie never left the 49ers, but Brodie collected a thousand dollars for the agreement he’d produced in his talks with Houston. Davis resigned as AFL commissioner a month after the merger. He clearly had won his battle.