was a professional football league that operated from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the National Football League (NFL). The AFL operated in direct competition with the more established National Football League throughout its existence. Initially viewed as inferior, the AFL began attracting top talent from colleges and the NFL by the mid-1960s, well before the Common Draft which began in 1967. In fact, even in its first year, 1960, the AFL signed half of the NFL’s first-round draft choices, including All-American Billy Cannon, perennial All-Star Johnny Robinson, and Hall of Famer Ron Mix. In 1966, a merger between the two leagues was announced, but was not finalized until 1970. During its final two years of existence, the AFL won two upset victories over the NFL in Super Bowl III and IV, the former considered one of the biggest upsets in American sports history. When the merger took place all ten AFL franchises became part of the merged league’s American Football Conference, while only the NFL retained its old name and logo.
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