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American Football League
Expansion Team



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           At the start of the 1965 season, because of its overwhelming success on the field and on television, where its NBC-TV contract assured its viability, the American Football League decided to expand.  A group in Atlanta applied for franchises in both the American Football League and the NFL.  Another group reported it had deposited earnest money for a team in the AFL.            

Local businessmen worked out a deal and were awarded an AFL franchise on June 7, 1965, contingent upon acquiring exclusive stadium rights from city officials.  The NFL and its Commissioner Alvin Rozelle, who had been as usual been moving slowly in expansion matters, were spurred by Atlanta's interest in the AFL, and Rozelle headed on the next plane to Atlanta to block the rival league's claim on the city.  In a repeat of the Minnesota fiasco, he forced the city to make a choice between the two leagues.  By June 30, the city had picked Rankin Smith and the NFL.

        When Atlanta reneged, the American Football League awarded an AFL expansion  franchise to lawyer Joseph Robbie and actor Danny Thomas for $7.5 million, for the 1966 season.  Robbie had originally wanted to establish the franchise in Philadelphia, but AFL commissioner Joe Foss suggested Miami due to its warm climate, growing population, and lack of a Professional Football team.  Thomas would eventually sell his stake in the team to Robbie.  Ironicallly, the Dolphins became a Professional Football powerhouse, winning two Super Bowl Championships, including a perfect season, while the NFL's Atlanta team has been a perennial also-ran.


in the
American Football League
Hall of Fame

Nick Buoniconti
Larry Csonka
Earl Faison
Cookie Gilchrist

Bob Griese
Abner Haynes
Dave Kocourek
Larry Little

Wahoo McDaniel

Gene Mingo


Evans came to the Dolphins from the Oilers in the 1966 expansion draft Dolphins traded a future draft pick to Bills for Wilson's rights.  Son of Dolphin head coach George Wilson, Sr. Member of the College Football Hall of Fame AFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, 1966 In 1969, Seiple had 577 yards receiving, for five touchdowns.
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       Joe Auer, shown here in a Bills uniform, ran the opening kickoff back 95 yards for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders in the Dolphins' first-ever game in 1966.

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2003  American Football League Hall of Fame  All rights reserved. Duplicate in any form you like, if you're an AFL fan.
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Last revision: 02 May 2012 ~ Angelo F. Coniglio,


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