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NFL Rejects

The American Football League (AFL) (1960 - 1969) achieved tremendous success in spite of bias by sports reporters in the print and electronic media. This bias, evidently fed by loyalty to the rival National Football League (NFL), was expressed in many ways: CBS-TV refusing to give AFL scores on its broadcasts of NFL games; Sports Illustrated giving AFL games short shrift and black-and-white photos, if any, while it covered NFL games with feature stories and lush color pictures.

Perhaps the most damning claim was the one by newspaper, radio and TV reporters from NFL cities, calling AFL players "NFL Rejects", implying that if a player had spent time in the NFL and then played with an AFL team, he was "washed up" and not good enough to play in the "superior" league.

To refute that propaganda, one has only to consider the following "NFL Rejects": Jack Kemp. Ron McDole. Art Powell. John Tracey. George Blanda. Don Maynard. Len Dawson. They all started their careers in the NFL. They all set standards at their respective positions, in the American Football League. At the peaks of their careers, all would have gladly been "taken back" by the NFL teams that "rejected" them. What they and dozens of others showed was that the inferiority may have been not in the AFL players, but in the evaluation skills of the NFL teams that let them go.

American Football League Players, Coaches, and Contributors

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