Facts and information about the All-American Football Conference

  • The All-American Football Conference only operated for four seasons but when the league folded three teams were taken into the NFL; the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Colts (who would cease operations shortly after).
  • The AAFC was founded by Chicago sportswriter Arch Ward, Ward also came up with the idea for the College Football All-Star Game and Baseball’s All-Star Game.
  • The AAFC’s owners were primarily made up of people who had asked the NFL to expand so they could start new teams, but were denied.
  • The Buffalo franchise was originally named the Bisons, changing their name to the Bills after the first season.
  • It wasn’t a coincidence at all, but for the first part of the AAFC’s existence their Commissioner was Jim Crowley while the NFL’s Commissioner was Elmer Layden. Crowley and Layden had both been part of Notre Dame’s “Four Horsemen” under legendary coach Knute Rockne.
  • In 1947, Pro Football Illustrated did previews for both the National Football League and the All-American Football League; the publication was then banned from all NFL games and stadiums.
  • Out of the 66 players on the 1946 College All-Star football teams, 40 decided to sign and play with the upstart AAFC instead of the more established NFL.
  • At the time of its founding, the AAFC was very much a national league with teams from Los Angeles to New York. Meanwhile, the NFL was primarily an east coast league until the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles.
  • After the 1948 season, the Brooklyn Dodgers merged with the New York Yankees to form the Brooklyn/New York Yankees.
  • The first championship game of the AAFC saw the Cleveland Browns defeat the New York Yankees.
  • The Miami Seahawks folded during the first year of the AAFC. To replace the Seahawks, the league turned to a group of investors from Baltimore they had originally turned down, and the Baltimore Colts were born. This Colts team would later fold after joining the NFL and has no relationship to the later Baltimore Colts or Indianapolis Colts.
  • The Cleveland Browns won the AAFC Championship each year of the league’s existence; 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949.
  • In four seasons of play in the AAFC, the Chicago Rockets had three different owners.
  • In 1948, 24 years before the Miami Dolphins undefeated season in 1972, the Cleveland Browns finished the year at 14-0 and won the AAFC Championship.
  • Following their fourth season, the AAFC folded and three teams merged into the NFL; the Baltimore Colts, the Cleveland Browns, and the San Francisco 49ers.
  • The first season after the NFL-AAFC merger, the Cleveland Browns who dominated the AAFC but many thought couldn’t compete in the NFL, won the NFL Championship over the Los Angeles Rams.
  • A major way how the AAFC-NFL merger is different from the AFL-NFL merger is that the old AAFC records were not incorporated into the NFL record books like the AFL’s records were. The NFL states that this is because they were never provided with official scorecards from the four seasons of AAFC play.
  • Thirteen players who played in the AAFC are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame.
  • Two coaches who spent time in the AAFC have made it into the Pro Football Hall-of-Fame.
  • AAFC teams, being a coast-to-coast league, traveled by air while NFL teams still traveled by bus or rail.
  • The Chicago AAFC franchise played 1946-1948 as the Rockets, in the last season of the league they were renamed the Chicago Hornets.
  • AAFC teams that were folded and did not merge into the NFL: the Los Angeles Dons, the Miami Seahawks (only played one year), the Brooklyn Dodgers (merged with the Yankees for the 1949 season), the New York Yankees, the Chicago Rockets (renamed the Hornets for the 1949 season), and the Buffalo Bisons (renamed the Bills after the first season).
  • In the first year of the AAFC, the Chicago Rockets had three of their games end in a tie.
  • In the four year history of the All-American Football Conference, the Cleveland Browns and the San Francisco 49ers never had a record that was .500 or below.

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