In 1966, Alvin Rozelle and other Professional Football executives lobbied the 89th United States Congress to pass legislation permitting the merger of the NFL with the American Football League.
They appeared before the Congress' Subcommittee on Antitrust, chaired by New York congressman Emanuel Celler. In their appearances, two points were repeatedly made:
That is, if the merger was permitted, Professional Football would keep its existing teams in the cities AND stadiums that had teams in 1966.
For passing Public Law 89-800 (PL 89-800) and agreeing to allow the merger that eliminated the name, logo and identity of the American Football League (the genesis of modern Professional Football); and for then ignoring the breach of trust the NFL repeatedly committed by allowing teams to move and demand ever-larger stadiums; the 89th United States Congress is consigned to the "American Football League Hall of Infamy".
Below is an article about the merger, written in 1971 by Baltimore News-American
Sports Editor John Steadman. To see the scanned version of the article, go to "John Steadman article".
Also see Jerry Magee's more recent column for the San Diego Union.
Hall of Fame
Assured Congress Teams Wouldn't Move
Professional football could find itself in troubled waters if it goes through with plans
to move the New York Giants across the Hudson River to the swamps of New Jersey, because
of what Commissioner Pete Rozelle told a Congressional committee in 1966.
Rozelle's Testimony Being Violated
The first point
Rozelle made, quoting from the official text of the pro football merger, as put before the
Anti-Trust Subcommittee of the 89th Congress, second session, dealt specifically with
where the teams would play.
"The plan for the expanded league is embodied in an agreement between member clubs of the two leagues which was entered into during the first week of June of this year. That agreement has been filed with counsel for this committee. I will outline for you its principal features:
"1. Every franchise of both leagues will remain in its present location.
"2. Two new franchises will be added by the 1968 season,
making a total of 26 teams. (Editors Note: Cincinnati and New Orleans joined.)
Before Celler Committee
Later, in his
lengthy Congressional statements, Rozelle further spelled out what the NFL would do if
allowed to merge with the AFL. He said this:
"Professional football operations will be preserved in the 23 cities and 25 stadiums where such operations are presently being conducted. This alone is a matter of considerable public interest--to local economies, stadium authorities and consumers. Without the plan, franchise moves and/or franchise failures will occur as a matter of course within the next few years."
But exactly the
opposite of what Rozelle outlined has happened with the disclosure that the Giants are
moving their franchise to a site in Northern New Jersey.
His statements were made before the chairman of the subcommittee, Emanuel D. Celler, D-N.
Y. And now it is Celler who is being asked by Mayor John Lindsay to conduct a Federal
Webmaster's note: Since the "stabilizing" merger, the following teams have moved, from a few miles, to hundreds of miles and across several states: Giants, Jets, Bills, Colts, Raiders (twice), Cardinals, Rams, Browns, Oilers (twice) and Patriots. Those teams moved to new stadiums built to attract them, paid for by billions of dollars in public funds, except for the Patriots' new stadium. In addition, citizens of the following areas have had to ante up more billions to build new stadiums to keep or regain franchises: Kansas City, St. Louis, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Minnesota, Houston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Washington.
(See Jerry Magee's article on franchise moves)