2009 NFL Season - Fiftieth Anniversary of The American Football League

Fiftieth Anniversary of The American Football League

The 2009 season marked the fiftieth season of the Original Eight charter members of the American Football League, whose owners became collectively known as "The Foolish Club." The fifth league to use the AFL moniker (previous leagues in 1926, 1934, 1936–37, and 1940–41, all had failed) began play in 1960 and would form the major portion of the American Football Conference (AFC) when the NFL completed its merger with the AFL in 1970:

  • Boston Patriots, now the New England Patriots
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Dallas Texans, now the Kansas City Chiefs
  • Denver Broncos
  • Houston Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans
  • Los Angeles Chargers, now the San Diego Chargers
  • The Titans of New York, now the New York Jets
  • Oakland Raiders (Originally the Oakland Señores, but changed name to Raiders prior to first game)

The Bills and Jets used AFL-era throwback uniforms as their alternate jerseys prior to 2009, and continued them beyond that. The league had the other six teams use a third jersey replicating those from the AFL in their heyday. Each of the Original Eight played against another original AFL team, one at home and one away, on two "AFL Legacy Weekends", and had a special 50th Anniversary AFL patch on the throwback uniforms. In a waiver given by these eight, they would wear the anniversary throwbacks a maximum of four times a season, whereas all of the other teams have a limit of twice per season. The Patriots and Raiders wore the throwbacks the maximum four times, while the Bills, Chiefs (Texans), Chargers, Jets (Titans), and Titans (Oilers) were worn three times. The Chargers also wore their regular powder blue alternate jersey of the current design for two other allowed games. In the second game of two meetings opposite of the first game for their divisional matches against the Raiders and Chiefs, the Chargers wore their newer look powder blue jerseys against the Raiders in week 8, and also celebrated their 50th Anniversary in the modern powder blue jerseys against the Chiefs later in the season during Week 12, when the meeting against those two clubs shifted to San Diego. The Broncos elected to wear their throwbacks only twice (the team wore the infamous 1960–1961 brown and yellow throwbacks with the vertically-striped socks) and wore wear their regular orange alternate jersey of the current design in the other two allowed games, giving the team six different uniforms over a 16-game season. Both of the games involving the orange jerseys involved the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers--two "old" NFL teams before the merger, with the Steelers joining the Broncos in the AFC in 1970 as a result of the merger.

An AFL patch is already a permanent part of the Kansas City Chiefs' jerseys, in honor of team and AFL founder Lamar Hunt, who died in December 2006. The program kicked off on August 9 in the 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game with the Bills playing the Titans (Oilers). Besides the Legacy Games, the Chiefs wore Dallas Texans uniforms in one home game against the NFC's Dallas Cowboys, who also wore throwbacks, while the Cowboys hosted the Raiders in a Thanksgiving Classic game in Arlington, Texas. (The Chiefs and Cowboys throwbacks both feature team-colored jerseys, making it the first dark color vs. dark color game since the Bears-Cowboys 2004 Thanksgiving game.) For all games other than those cited above, the Original Eight wore their 2009 uniforms, each with a team-specific 50th Anniversary shoulder patch, save for the Titans, who wore the AFL 50th Anniversary logo on all uniforms. For the legacy weekends, on-field officials working the Original Eight's games also had their own throwbacks – shirts with Chinese-red stripes, and an AFL chest and cap logo. The fields for the regular season games were painted in the innovative designs introduced by the AFL in the 1960s (for instance, the Broncos' end zones are painted in an argyle pattern).

Although the Dolphins and Bengals were both part of the AFL, they did not join the league until 1966 and 1968, respectively. The Dolphins played in three of the Legacy games (wearing their current uniforms), while the Bengals were not part of the events.

After the season, the Patriots adopted their AFL-era throwbacks as their new third uniform for 2010, while the Broncos continue to paint their end zones at Invesco Field at Mile High in the argyle pattern, similar to the Steelers decision to paint the south end zone at Heinz Field in plain diagonal white lines after their 2003 preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles honoring the 60th anniversary of the Steagles season.

Original Eight AFL League Uniforms
Team Year Uniform feature
Buffalo Bills 1965 AFL Championship season (Dark jerseys current third uniform).
Denver Broncos 1960 Featured infamous brown and yellow (or brown and white) vertically striped socks
Kansas City Chiefs
(Dallas Texans)
1962 AFL Championship season; same as current but with State of Texas outline.
New England Patriots
(Boston Patriots)
1963 First divisional championship.
New York Jets
(The Titans of New York)
1961 Dark jerseys are current third uniform.
Oakland Raiders 1963 White jerseys with silver numbers trimmed in black.
San Diego Chargers 1963 AFL Championship Season.
Tennessee Titans
(Houston Oilers)
1960 First season of existence.
AFL Legacy Game Schedule
Date Site Teams
August 9 Canton, Ohio Bills vs. Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans)
September 14 Foxborough, MA Bills at Boston Patriots (New England Patriots)
Oakland Chargers at Raiders
September 27 East Rutherford, NJ Houston Oilers at The Titans of New York (Tennessee Titans at NY Jets)
October 11 Kansas City Dallas Cowboys at Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs)
Denver Boston Patriots (New England Patriots) at Broncos
October 18 Foxborough, MA Houston Oilers at Boston Patriots (Tennessee Titans at New England Patriots)
October 19 San Diego Broncos at Chargers
October 25 Kansas City Chargers at Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs)
Oakland The Titans of New York (NY Jets) at Raiders
November 1 East Rutherford Dolphins at The Titans of New York (NY Jets)
November 15 Nashville Bills at Houston Oilers (Tennessee Titans)
Oakland Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs) at Raiders
November 26 Arlington, TX Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
November 29 Orchard Park, NY Dolphins at Bills
December 6 Miami Gardens, FL Boston Patriots (New England Patriots) at Dolphins

Read more about this topic:  2009 NFL Season

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