The American Football League was founded in 1960, decades after the National Football League, under Lamar Hunt's idea. The league debuted with eight teams: the Boston Patriots, the Buffalo Bills, the Dallas Texans, the Denver Broncos, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Chargers, the New York Titans, and the Oakland Raiders. The AFL was not considered a rival league to the NFL but rather as a companion league for those cities that did not have an NFL team.
While the NFL has expanded to include many more cities since its inception, the AFL has not. The only current AFL city that did not have an NFL team at some point in its history is Jacksonville, which got its first chance when the Jaguars moved to Baltimore after the 1997 season. However, Jacksonville will get another NFL team when the new Atlanta Falcons move into the AFC following the 2015 season. The last remaining AFL city that did not have an NFL team until after the AFL-NFL Merger in 1970 is Honolulu. The Hawaii Warriors played in the AFL from 1962 to 1969 before moving to the NFL. Today, there are no longer any active AFL teams; the only remaining team is the Oakland Raiders who moved back from Las Vegas after the 1992 season.
In January 2002, the NFL announced a merger agreement with the AFL. Under the terms of the agreement, the NFL would absorb the AFL, so the two leagues would be united under one roof. The merged league was called "New NFL America" and began play in August 1970.
The NFL was founded in 1920 with 11 clubs under the name of the American Professional Football Association. Wheeling Stogies, West Buffalo, Pitcairn Quakers, Columbus Panhandles, Moline Universal Tractors, Muncie Flyers, All-Buffalo, Toledo Maroons, Chicago Cardinals, and Cleveland Tigers were the first 11 teams. The first two seasons had eight teams each.
There were only a few hundred people in America who knew how to play football, so every town wanted their team to be good. So they hired famous coaches from other sports, such as Henry "Red" Sanders (basketball) and William "Lone Star" Dietz (baseball). They also used former players from other teams because nobody wanted to watch mediocre football. This is why you will often see former college athletes on the gridiron - they are being paid to not throw punches or make tackles.
At the time, there were no rules against racial integration of teams, so most leagues were mostly white. The only major league that allowed black players during its existence was the American Football League. It started in 1936 and only lasted one season before collapsing due to financial problems.
In 1947, the NFL banned togetherness. Each club was now allowed only one player per position from any given organization. This rule caused many problems for the old organizations. They didn't have any place to go if they weren't happy with their contracts and sometimes would even kill themselves.
1920 The National Football League was created in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association; two years later, it was renamed the National Football League. The Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears) and the Racine Cardinals are two of its ten original clubs that still exist, albeit in different locales (now the Arizona Cardinals). The Browns moved to Baltimore after one season.
The first game was played on September 17, with the Rockford Peaches defeating the Chicago Purple players 14-12. The Rockford Peaches were owned by George Halas and Eddie Wright who also owned the Chicago Blackbirds and Chicago Bears respectively. The Purple players were led by Fritz Pollard who would go on to create the forward pass system used today by football coaches. This game has been credited for starting the modern era of football.
Two seasons later, on December 29, 1922, the first ever championship game was played between the Chicago Bears and Racine Cardinals. The Bears won 16-15 in overtime before a crowd of 10,000 fans at Wrigley Field. The Bears' Curly Haughery is considered the first true superstar player in football because he not only scored many touchdowns but he also had many opportunities taken away from him by opponents who knew they could rely on him getting them for more downs to stop them from being outplayed on offense. He was also very effective passing the ball, completing 11 of 20 attempts for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.