SI Vault
December 16, 1963
Ever since the American Football League was formed four years ago, fans have been excited by the prospect of a "World Series" game between the champion of the new league and the champion of the established National Football League. Now Joe Foss, commissioner of the AFL, has issued a written challenge to Fete Rozelle, NFL commissioner, proposing that such a game be played at the end of the 1964 season. Rozelle, understandably disinclined to listen to suggestions from the people who sued his league for $10 million (the AFL's antitrust lawsuit was rejected, but it cost the NFL more than $300,000 in litigation fees), temporarily refuses the challenge. His decision, like others made in this most testing of years for him, will arouse violent controversy. But when Rozelle makes a decision he makes it—and he feels strongly that it is too early for the two leagues to have friendly sporting relations. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, along with the fans, says that the game must be played, and the sooner the better (always supposing the AFL survives, which some still doubt). What would be the result of such a game? On page 26, Dan Jenkins, who has followed the AFL since its inception, argues that the young league would acquit itself surprisingly well and could conceivably win. Tex Maule, the NFL expert, firmly maintains that the older league would beat the AFL by at least six touchdowns. There is, of course, only one way to find out.
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December 16, 1963

The Two Pro Football Leagues Must Meet

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Joe Foss
Commissioner, AFL

Dear Joe:

As I have said on a number of occasions, we have no plans for such a game.


Pete Rozelle
Commissioner, NFL

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