Game Balls

AFLAmerican Football League
1960–1969

Texas businessman Lamar Hunt formed the American Football League (AFL) in 1960 as a rival to the National Football League. The two leagues fought bitterly for players, media attention, and profits until 1966, when the two leagues agreed on a merger plan. The first AFL-NFL World Championship Game was played in January 1967. In 1970, the leagues merged into two 13-team conferences, American and National, under the NFL name.

Some innovative rules changes adopted by the AFL were the two-point conversion, the use of the scoreboard clock as the official game clock, the use of player names on jerseys, and the sharing of gate and television revenues between home and visiting teams.

The AFL used a Spalding for each of its ten years. The ball shown on the left is from 1960 and has white stripes on all four panels. The second ball is a J5-V without stripes. The next photos are from AFL player Al Carmichael's book 106 Yards, and the ball is purported to be from an early AFL game, possibly the first. If you have more information about the AFL ball or photos to share (or a ball for sale), please contact me. Thanks go to Ange Coniglio for information about the AFL game ball.

AFL ball AFL ball AFL ball - first game