Nfl.Com Official Site Of The National Football League Nfl.Com NFL Films to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the AFL

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NFL Films to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the AFL

Most of us are too young to remember the good old days of Joe Namath and John Madden, two of the most influential people ever associated with the American Football League. Starting September 16, Showtime will air a five-part documentary titled Full Color Football: The History of the American Football League. Broadcast every Wednesday at 8:00 pm ET, the programming provides insight into the unique brand of soccer and originality of AFL member clubs. AFL footage courtesy of NFL Films, which chronicled and documented the league between 1960 and 1969.

What most people don’t realize is that the AFL helped change the way all sports are played. You see before Michael Jordan stuck out his tongue as he glided through the air, before Tiger Woods raised his fist as he made the winning putt, before all the touchdown dances you see at every football game today. There was no celebration after a great moment, it was considered disrespectful to your opponent because sports were considered a gentleman’s game.

All of that changed with the birth of the AFL. The AFL began when the league’s founder, Lamar Hunt, was turned down by the NFL when he tried to buy an NFL team. Distraught over not being able to buy equipment while he was flying on a plane, he came up with the idea. Through much hard work, he built an eight-team league and set out to prove that he could build a league to rival the mighty NFL. The eight teams were the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Dallas Texans, Boston Patriots, New York Titans, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Houston Oilers.

While the league started out with almost no one attending the games, it soon gained momentum as people began to see the flamboyant style of play. The guys were high fives on the field, New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath was dressed in fur coats on the sidelines, it was fun and the seats started to fill up fast.

While the league was fun to watch because of all the enthusiasm the players displayed, it wasn’t just a spectacular league. The AFL had many talented players who ended up being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, legends like Fred Biletnikoff, Willie Brown, Bob Griese, Larry Little, OJ Simpson, Gene Upshaw and Art Shell. Even my nine- and four-year-olds know the name John Madden, not because they’ve seen him coach the Oakland Raiders, but because of the video game they love to play. The AFL not only revolutionized professional soccer, but it made buying your favorite team’s merchandise more common then and even now.

The AFL finally merged with the NFL in 1970 and helped shape the league we know today. While some teams are still in the same place from their inaugural AFL season, some have changed names or locations. The Dallas Texans are now the Kansas City Chiefs, the Boston Patriots adopted a region and play today as the New England Patriots, the New York Titans changed their name to the New York Jets, their home, Shea Stadium, very close to the busy airports . from New York and the Houston Oilers moved northeast to become the Tennessee Titans.

During the course of the 2009-10 NFL season, the original eight AFL teams will wear their old throwback uniforms when playing each other in honor of the AFL’s 50th anniversary. While some of the uniforms are probably the worst seen since Batman and Robin with Adam West in the 1960s. It shows how far football has come.

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