All America Football Conference – AAFC
For four years, 1946 through 1949, the NFL faced stiff competition from an upstart league, the All America Football Conference. The AAFC was the real deal. Rosters featured such stars as Otto Graham, Joe Perry, Frankie Albert and Y.A. Tittle. It’s champion team, the Cleveland Browns, could compete with any NFL team and its coach, Paul Brown, created a passing attack that NFL teams just couldn’t defend. The AAFC introduced professional football to areas of the country that had never seen such a brand of football before. Of course, as with anything new, there were growing pains, and combined with dwindling attendance and rising player salaries, the AAFC – along with the NFL – was in danger of going under. But, the AAFC refused to give in. So, the larger league, the NFL, agreed to take in two of the AAFC’s best teams in 1950 – the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49’ers; and a third team in 1951 – the Baltimore Colts. The AAFC gave football so much, including teams to areas such as Miami, L.A. and San Francisco. The AAFC gave us unlimited substitutions, and it also gave us football’s first unbeaten team, the Browns. But why was there a need for a second league, and who was behind it all? Gary Webster who wrote a terrific book, “The League That Didn’t Exist: The All America Football Conference, 1946-1949,” discusses all this and more on this special extended edition of Sports’ Forgotten Heroes.
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