Tex Schramm, Pete Rozelle, Lamar Hunt
(Original Caption) From left to right here is Tex Schramm, President of the National Football League, (NFL) of the Dallas Cowboys; NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle; and Lamar Hunt, Founder of the American Football League, (AFL), along with the President of that league's Kansas City Chiefs, as they all talk to newsmen. They met here after announcing that the NFL and AFL will merge under one commissioner by 1970. The merger ended a costly rivalry between the two leagues.

Sleeping Beauty and AFL: 1959 was a game changer for the NFL

Sleeping Beauty and Professional Football

In 1959, Walt Disney Studios released the film, “Sleeping Beauty.”

That same year, professional football was going through its own reawakening. 

The NFL itself was riding high from the popularity of the Baltimore Colts and Johnny Unitas who won their second consecutive NFL championship. 

Vince Lombardi was named Coach of the Year and soon begin the Green bay Packers decade of dominance. 

Just like Prince Phillip, a new group of owners would be attempting to slay their own dragon.  Lead by Lamar Hunt a new league was forming.  The American Football League would soon be a rival league to the NFL with 8 new teams: the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Texans (soon to become Kansas City Chiefs), Denver Broncos, Houston Oilers, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Titans (soon to become the Jets), and Minnesota Expansion Team. 

Soon the AFL had to adjust the same as the three fairies had to adjust to the spell cast by Maleficent.  The Minnesota Expansion Franchise was soon out of the new league instead opting to join the NFL after an offer from the established league.

The AFL soon adjusted awarding a new expansion team to the city of Oakland, soon to become the Raiders

Sleeping Beauty was not an initial success at the box office in 1959 but soon became a success in re-releases and is now regarded as a Disney classic. 

The same can be said for the American Football League as its initial seasons were difficult but it soon rivaled the NFL and forced the merger between the two leagues in 1970. 

Pro-football hasn’t been the same since.