By the late 1950s, the NFL began to rival the MLB as the most popular professional sports league in the US. One franchise that did not share in this newfound success of the league was the Chicago Cardinals who had become overshadowed by the more popular Chicago Bears. When the owners of the franchise were repeatedly denied by the NFL their request to move to another city (i.e. becoming an expansion team) - the owners banded together with other investors who wanted their own expansion teams to form the a rival league - the AFL. On August 14, 1959, the first league meeting was held in Chicago and charter memberships were given to Dallas, New York, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Soon after, Ralph Wilson, a partial owner of the Detroit Lions, brought his own franchise to Buffalo and a group of investors brought the Boston Patriots to life.
The AFL lasted for 10 years, merging with the NFL in 1970. The American Football League stands as the only professional football league to successfully compete against the NFL - when the leagues merged, all ten AFL franchises became part of the new NFL.
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