1. 1966: The NFL and AFL merger is announced
As big as the NFL is today, there was a time when it was considered the old school style of football. In 1959, Lamar Hunt, the son of a wealthy oil tycoon, decided that he wanted to start a new football league to rival the slow playing NFL, so he recruited seven other businessmen and they started the American Football League (AFL). Initially they were supposed to be two separate leagues and there was an unspoken agreement that neither side would recruit from the other. The NFL was under the impression that only second tier players would play in the AFL, but in 1965 Joe Namath was drafted by the AFL’s New York Jets and received one of the biggest contracts in football at the time. Just a year later, the unspoken agreement was broken when NFL’s Giants recruited and signed the place kicker for the AFL’s Bills. By that point, it had become obvious that the two needed to merge, and on this date in 1966 it was officially announced that the NFL and AFL would become one.