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The NFL in the 1960's

In 1960 the Packers reached the NFL championship game but lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. Nevertheless, the game signaled the rise of the Green Bay franchise under head coach Vince Lombardi. An intimidating and motivating individual, Lombardi led Green Bay to the NFL title the following year and added two more NFL championships in 1962 and 1965.

Seeing that a profit could be made from professional football, Texas businessman Lamar Hunt formed the American Football League (AFL) in 1960 as a rival to the NFL. Teams in the new league included the Houston Oilers, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Oakland Raiders, and the New York Jets. The two leagues fought bitterly for players, media attention, and profits. Standouts in the new league such as Jack Kemp, Lance Alworth, and Joe Namath helped the AFL establish itself on par with the NFL.

In 1966 the two leagues agreed on a merger plan. The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game, featuring the AFL-champion Chiefs and the NFL-champion Packers, was played in January 1967. The Packers won the contest, later renamed Super Bowl I, 35-10. In 1968 the Packers defeated the AFLís Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, but the game validated the AFLís talent. In 1969 the AFLís Jets defeated the Colts in a huge upset in Super Bowl III. In 1970, the leagues merged into two 13-team conferences under the NFL name. The Browns, Colts, and Pittsburgh Steelers joined the 10 AFL teams to form the AFC, and the remaining NFL teams formed the NFC.

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