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Inside the Stacks: Exploring Important Documents in Chiefs and AFL History

Looking back at a historical letter written by Lamar Hunt

Throughout the coming year, we will examine never-before-seen documents and correspondence from Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt that are found deep in our archives, including many from the founding of the American Football League and the merger with the National Football League.

"Lamar Hunt Correspondence 1966," Cabinet 16, Drawer D, Lamar Hunt to Pete Rozelle, July 25, 1966

Lamar Hunt was a prolific letter and memo writer and, shortly after the announcement of the merger between his American Football League and the older and more established National Football League, he was quick to suggest to commissioner Pete Rozelle that with official play between the two leagues not scheduled to begin until 1970, that the two leagues should continue to "still argue who is the best, who will win, and who has the sneakiest scouts, etc."

The David-versus-Goliath narrative resonated with Hunt. He saw value in keeping the elements of conflict and competition between the two sides until the time came that they were one league. Always the sports marketer, Hunt admitted: "People are basically more interested in battle than they are peace."

By this time, the battles for college players between Hunt's fledgling AFL and the NFL were well known, and this "recruiting" for players by the two leagues, as Hunt recognized, did its part to "maintain intrigue and glamour. The public loves it."

This letter also introduces the idea that the championship game between the AFL and NFL should have a title which Hunt "kiddingly called...the Super Bowl."