American Football League draft

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The American Football League (AFL, 19601969) stocked its teams in two ways:

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

  1. Signing free agents (players whose contracts in other professional football leagues had expired, or who had no professional experience).
  2. Signing players from the previous year's college graduates.

The latter option involved a "draft" in which each team selected players who then were not available for other teams to select. The draft for the 1960 season was actually conducted in late 1959, shortly after the formation of the league. Thereafter, American Football League drafts were conducted separately from the rival NFL through 1966. Starting in 1967, after the NFL agreed to merge with the AFL, the two leagues conducted a "common draft" , which was in turn replaced with the modern NFL draft in 1970, upon the completion of the AFL/NFL merger.

In 1961 and 1962, the American Football League drafts were "regional". Teams were assigned broad geographical regions around their home city, and had "rights" to the players within those regions. The AFL's owners reckoned that players would be more willing to play in their league if they had the opportunity to sign with their "home town" teams, and also hoped to attract fans with players with whom they had some familiarity. The AFL also tapped sources which the NFL had disdained: smaller colleges (non Division I-A) and all-black colleges.

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. During the period of segregation in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Act, the overwhelming majority of higher education institutions were predominantly white and disqualified African Americans from enrollment. For a century after the end of slavery in the United States in 1865, most colleges and universities in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending, while institutions in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of blacks.

During the years in which the American Football League was in direct competition with the NFL for players (and fans), numerous star players chose to play in the AFL. The first and one of the most prominent of these was LSU All-American Billy Cannon, who went on to become an AFL All-Star both as a running back with the Houston Oilers and as a tight end with the Oakland Raiders. Other greats signed by the AFL in the years before the common draft included Abner Haynes and Johnny Robinson (Dallas Texans); Jim Otto (Oakland Raiders); Lance Alworth, John Hadl, and Ron Mix (San Diego Chargers), Lionel Taylor (Denver Broncos); Billy Shaw (Buffalo Bills); Larry Grantham (New York Titans); Matt Snell and Joe Namath (New York Jets); Nick Buoniconti (Boston Patriots) and a host of others.

Billy Cannon American football running back and tight end

William Abb Cannon was an American football running back and tight end who played professionally in the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL). He attended Louisiana State University (LSU), where he played college football as a halfback, return specialist, and defensive back for the LSU Tigers. At LSU, Cannon was twice unanimously named an All-American, helped the 1958 LSU team win a national championship, and received the Heisman Trophy as the nation's most outstanding college player in 1959. His punt return against Ole Miss on Halloween night in 1959 is considered by fans and sportswriters to be one of the most famous plays in LSU sports history.

Oakland Raiders National Football League franchise in Oakland, California

The Oakland Raiders are a professional American football franchise based in Oakland, California. The Raiders compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. Founded on January 30, 1960, they played their first regular season game on September 11, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) which merged with the NFL in 1970.

Abner Haynes is an American former professional football player who was a running back in the American Football League (AFL).

Drafts

The 1960 American Football League draft was held on November 22–23, 1959, in Minneapolis, shortly after the organization of the league, and lasted 33 rounds. An additional draft of 20 rounds was held by the AFL on December 2.

Because another league was in competition for the class of 1961 college stars, the American Football League draft for 1961 graduates was held in 1960, with a six-round telephone draft on November 21 and 22, that saw the Denver Broncos select New Mexico State's Bob Gaiters as the overall first draft pick. The draft was completed on December 5 and 6th, with rounds seven through thirty. The San Diego Chargers were still the "Los Angeles Chargers" in this draft, as their relocation was not announced until late January 1961.

See also

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