(Photos courtesy of the New England Patriots)
Talk of Fame Network
The NFL-AFL merger generally is viewed as a good thing. No, a great thing. Because it created the world’s biggest cash register – a league … and a sport … that keep cashing checks.
But that doesn’t mean the marriage made everyone happy. In fact, we found someone who wished it hadn’t happened, and, Gino Cappelletti, would you please step forward?
“I wanted the AFL to continue on,” the former Patriots’ star told the Talk of Fame Network. “There were two owners that did, too. That was (the Raiders’) Al Davis and (the Jets’) Sonny Werblin. I guess the other owners wanted to make it one league. But then again, it could’ve been two leagues like baseball -- the AL and the NL.”
Cappelletti’s complaint? Easy. He thought the AFL had established itself on its own and didn’t need the NFL to prop it up.
“I was happy with our pursuit and in being a league,” he said. “If you totaled the Super Bowls between the two (leagues) it was 2-2. So we came and had risen from the ashes, for cripes sake.
“We were being belittled a lot – (things like) Mickey Mouse league, Pop Warner and all that – because they did not want to share the pie. (I’m talking about) the owners of the NFL. Everyone was going there saying, ‘Do you want to talk about expansion?’ They didn’t want to hear about it. They didn’t want to talk about it. They wanted their own little game.
“And it was becoming a big thing because television was really coming on real strong. And that was something that everybody could see was coming with the league and the connections.”