1966 SIMULATION: FOUR-PLAY, RAMS WIN FIRST AFL/NFL CHAMPIONSHIP

Fearsome_FoursomeHistory says the first AFL/NFL Championship was played to a less than capacity crowd in Los Angeles, as just over 61,000 saw the Green Bay Packers 35-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Given the fact that fans did not travel like they do today and with the jury still out on the success of an AFL v. NFL championship, the initial lukewarm response made sense.

Had the Los Angeles Rams had been involved, the game would had sold out like the 49 Super Bowls that followed.

Here is the final standings of KACSPORTS simulated 1966 AFL/NFL season through WhatIfSports

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Both leagues welcomed expansion teams in 1966. The Atlanta Falcons became the NFL’s 15th franchise while the Miami Dolphins entered as the AFL’s ninth team. In this sim, the Dolphins won their second game in franchise history against the New York Jets and finished a very respectable 5-9, better than two of the AFL’s original eight. The Falcons did not fare nearly as well with a 0-14 record.

The most stunning result of the simulation involved Green Bay’s collapse, the Packers lost their final seven games to finish tied for last in the Western Division, as opposed to 12-2 for their real-life counterparts. The Chicago Bears provided the simulations surprise team with a 11-3 record, led by the electrifying running of second-year back Gayle Sayers and a devastating defense led by Dick Butkus. The Bears routed Washington 38-0 in the sim’s second-place ‘Playoff Bowl’.

With the odd number of teams in each league, bye weeks occurred throughout the season. The AFL’s regular season would be spread out over 16 weeks, the NFL was more clean-cut with each of the 15 teams utilizing an off week throughout the season.

This era saw the home sites of playoff and league championship games awarded on a rotational basis. In 1966 the AFL and NFL Championships were played at East Division venues. For purposes of the sim, home field advantage is given to the team with the best record as done today.

Chalk prevailed in the AFL, as Buffalo and Kansas City played for the sim championship. The Chiefs earned home field and would defeat the Bills 31-24. On the NFL side, the Los Angeles Rams and their Fearsome Foursome front line stunned the Dallas Cowboys 17-0 at the Cotton Bowl.

The inaugural AFL/NFL Sim Championship game played out in front of a sellout crowd exceeding 100,000 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The closely contested game proved the AFL to already be on par with their older NFL counterparts. A late Mike Garrett touchdown closed the gap to 13-10, but the Rams secured the championship after they recovered the ensuing onside kick and soon delirious fans ripped down the Coliseum goalposts.

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