In the mid-1960s, the
Tom Addison founded the
League Players Association.
and other team representatives put together a request
package of benefits that included insurance
and a player pension plan.
Addison was the
association's first president, and had
intimidating task of meeting with the team owners to
negotiate the request
package. One possibly apocryphal
story is that upon entering the
Tom approached the
long oval table, where the stern-faced owners were awaiting.
With southern charm, he looked up at
the owners, smiled, and said "Well, I'm not trying to be the
next Jimmy Hoffa!"
Ron Mix recalls
formation of a union was Addison's
idea. Then, Tom
contacted a member from each team to
determine if they were interested in joining him in founding the
Jack Kemp was contacted
as a member of the Buffalo Bills.
was contacted as a member of the San
Jim Tyrer was contacted as a member of the
Chiefs. The first officers
were Tommy as President,
as Vice-President, and a secretary.
that the most accurate description of the process was
that Addison was the founder
and was joined by seven other co-founders.
That first meeting hardly went
smoothly. The League told
the players that
they had 30 minutes for the meeting.
Tommy gave the initial
presentation and, in the process, asked the League to consider
some very modest proposals (one was to increase payment for
exhibition games and another was to
consider constructing a pension). During
Tommy's presentation, most of
the owners were completely disrespectful, talking among
themselves and visibly not paying
recalls: "We left the meeting with the accurate
feeling that we had wasted our time.",
however, an Association did finally become a reality.
With a players association in place, players newly
drafted by American Football League teams in the "war between
the leagues" could be assured that they would have
representation and protection in the AFL that was the equal of
that in the older league. Addison's
work was an important element in the survival of the league, and
helped the AFL to be able to compete
for top talent, and to establish itself as the future of
Kemp served as the
Associations' president from 1965 through 1969.
An AFL fan, "Mike", has come across a ring which was clearly
that of an official of the
The name on it is "Ferreira", and no man by that name ever
played in the AFL. Mike has sent me the photos below.
If any AFL players have any information on this ring, or
"Ferreira", or on the formation and accomplishments of the
I would like to hear about
the leagues merged, I pleaded with the
to fight to name the merged
players association the Professional Football Players
Association, feeling that would guarantee retired
players equality with the other league. That was not to
be, and the
was absorbed into the NFLPA.