Jets News

On This Date in New York Jets’ History: A Merger and a Title Game

By Alan Schechter

Jan 19, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; A general view of a Super Bowl banner outside the Hyatt hotel as preparations are made for Super Bowl XLVII between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl is the biggest spectacle in the world for now, and the forseeable future. However, as most of us know, the Super Bowl didn’t exist forever. Specifically, the date is June 8, 1966, and it wasn’t the Super Bowl right away. Let me remind our younger readers what I mean.

A brief history recap for the younger readers out there. After the NFL began doing business, many startups tried to emulate the NFL to create competition. However, no league was successful until the AFL came along. No, not the Arena Football League, but the American Football League.

The AFL’s biggest secret was sharing TV money. The AFL actually came up with this concept before the NFL did, and the NFL copied. The result of dividing TV contracts evenly between the teams was a lot of money, and thus the ability to bring in star players. Players all of a sudden were heading to this rival league, and the NFL had a problem. How long until they lost significant crowds?

Rumblings about a merger between the two leagues had begun earlier that year. Many think that the Jets were responsible for the merger, but they really weren’t. Joe Namath and the Jets were more responsible for the success of the merger, but the merger was already set up.

So, in June 8, 1966, the merger was agreed upon between the two leagues, and they also agreed that, starting with the upcoming 1966 season, there would be a title game between the two league champions.

That later became the Super Bowl. On this date in New York Jets’ history, June 8, 1966.