Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by GeographyDude, Jan 14, 2019 at 8:18 AM.
Without Broadway Joe being a huge star, how much of a lower trajectory for NFL?
I think if the Colts win, it slows the development of the marketing juggernaut that the NFL has become. The Chiefs soundly beat the Vikes the next year, so the appearance of the AFL as a 2nd tier enterprise would vanish, just not as glamorously as Broadway Joe and New York Jets winning. That was a marketing coup.
*edit* I wonder what the marketing gurus at the NFL prefer to go to this years SB: the dynastic Patriots, or the thrill-every-play Pat Mahomes Jr? By comparison, the Rams & Saints seem to me to be less of a story(strictly from a marketing perspective)
I explored this a while ago - long story short, the POD is Shula gets sick of Morrall’s shit early on and puts in Unitas in the second quarter. Unitas plays lights-out and the Colts win.
In any case, the Jets were a dumpster fire in the 60s - they did get their shit together eventually, but maybe there’s a chance they go out of business by 1970. Interesting POD - if the NFL replaces them in 1970 (we went with the Seahawks joining early,) that team gets Terry Bradshaw - it doesn’t torpedo the Steelers but it makes their dynasty weaker, plus it adds an instant competitor in the AFC.
The Jets were a dumpster fire until they got Matt Snell in 1964 (he chose them over the Giants, which gave the AFL the boldness to negotiate a TV contract with NBC) and Joe Namath the next year. After that, they were on the up-swing, and 1968 is when they put it together. They wouldn't have gone out of business if they lost SB III because the merger was already set by then (they had to have two teams in the NY area and Bay Area as part of the merger agreement).
If the Colts win, though, Don Shula doesn't have a falling-out with Rosenbloom, and he doesn't leave to go to Miami in 1970. The butterflies off of that could be huge.
For starters, if the Dolphins don't become successful in the 70's (and stay a bad team), do they ever gain any kind of popularity there? They weren't popular at all until Shula got there. Maybe they end up moving to Tampa (that was proposed in the late-60's) or Phoenix or Seattle.
Then, if the Colts win SB III, maybe they don't have the hangover from losing in 69, and stay contenders. Then, after winning another one in 1970, they win the East in 71 (no Miami in their way) before losing to the Chiefs in the playoffs (KC goes to SB VI and loses to Dallas).
I also wonder if two SB titles would have made it easier for Rosenbloom to get some kind of stadium built. It probably wouldn't have (Baltimore was stingy), but maybe he stays as owner longer, and doesn't give the team to Irsay.
Also, without Miami, the Steelers probably start their dynasty in 1972 instead of 74.
Monday Night Football was a risk because it required a bigger prime time audience.
The NFL might stay Sunday afternoon only.
Yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers won four superbowls in the 1970s, but the two games against the Dallas Cowboys were relatively close, and in Superbowl XIV against the Los Angeles Rams, the Rams were actually leading 19-17 going into the 4th quarter. The Steelers got a go ahead touchdown. The Rams were then driving, and Steeler linebacker Jack Lambert made a great read and picked off a Vince Ferragamo pass. The Steelers then added an insurance touchdown and ended up winning 31-19.
Point being, the Steeler dynasty could have easily had a lower trajectory.
Or . . . Steeler coach Chuck Noll debated whether to go with Terry Bradshaw or Joe Gillium, Jr., and Joe had a very quick release and arm motion (think Dan Marino!) and at times outplayed Bradshaw. Problem was, Noll was an old-school coach and thought three things can happen when you attempt to pass the ball, two of them bad. Of course, the one good thing, being of course a completion, is good enough to make up for the risk of the other two. In addition, Joe Gillium, Jr., was a black guy, and even though the Steelers and the Steeler ownership was among the less prejudiced, that probably played some role. Plus, Bradshaw was already the established quarterback when Gillium got there.
So maybe a higher trajectory with Joe, or just a different one, perhaps losing one of the Cowboy superbowls or the one to the Rams, and then maybe winning in one of the otherwise off years.
And if so, Joe Gillium, Jr., is remembered as the first African-American guy to quarterback his team to a superbowl victory, about a decade or a decade and a half before Doug Williams of Washington does the same.
Again, maybe no Monday Night Football.
Without the NFL already flying at a pretty high trajectory, maybe Rozelle doesn't think the above gambit–bluff is at all worth it.
If ABC turned it down, and Rozelle decided to abandon the MNF project, that would have been a good idea. I don't see MNF being the same on another network without Cosell, Dandy Don, and Roone Arledge. They made it what it was.
Sing this in your best Don Meredith voice: "Turn out the lights, the party's over....."
Yes, the talented producer Roone Arledge, and let’s not forget play-by-play guy Keith Jackson.
And the first of MNF took place on Sept. 21, 1970, when the Cleveland Browns hosted none other than . . . the New York Jets!
And I remember one game in Miami when Dandy Don sang a few bars of “Moon Over Miami”!
Three guys in the booth seemed to be the right chemistry and just made it fun.
While the.merger will still happen, it may give the NFL owners more leverage in the final shape of the merged league.
The Jets and the Raiders had to pay a fee for being in the same territory as the NFL Giants and 49ers, this may force them to move to other cities that the NFL owners originally wanted them to do.
Another possible outcome would have been instead of realigning in to AFC and NFC conferences, the realignment would have been on geographically based division as an example there would have something like the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.
As for Monday Night Football, ABC was in desperate need for programming and while they did not anticipate how successful it was, it would have been better then they were doing in the same time slot at half the ratings.
It was Roone Arledge and director Chet Forte who understood that by turning the game in to an event with extra cameras that it would make it stand out from the Sunday afternoon games that CBS and NBC was doing.
CBS did a few games on Monday night before the merger, they did it like it was just another game and they did not get good ratings.
At the time of the merger in 1970, the AFL had 10 teams, the original eight plus the Cincinnati Bengals and the Miami Dolphins,
And the NFL had 16 teams, and as it turned out, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, and Baltimore Colts moved to the AFC.
But I think you’re right, if the AFL is viewed as measurably weaker, we might see an entirely different realignment.
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