Wednesday, June 6, 2001
Updated: June 5, 5:02 PM ET
NFL and AFL merge into single league
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
June 8, 1966
Professional football's heated money war is over. The 47-year-old National Football League and the 7-year-old American Football League agree to merge into a single league of at least 26 teams in 25 cities in 1970.
The unified schedule won't take place until 1970 because of the separate multi-million dollar television contracts. The AFL's five-year, $36-million contract with NBC will expire at the end of the 1969 season. Meanwhile, the 15-team NFL and nine-team AFL will retain their separate identities.
Changes under the new plan include a world championship game in January 1967 between the 1966 champions of each league. There also will be exhibition games between the leagues starting in 1967 as well as a common draft of college players.
NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle will head the unified league.