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Thread: AFL: Full Color Football

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    Re: AFL: Full Color Football



    AFL Timeline: The First 20 Years(1960-1979)


    Now that we are entering the 1980's and we've reached the 20 year anniversary of the AFL I wanted to pause and just post a timeline of events that led us to where we are. This thread is a bit of a mess to go back and read due to broken photobucket links and the bizarre failed attempt to change format there with the 1978 season where I teased simulating every game every week. I abandoned that format before even finishing that season because it was just too labor intensive and took way too long. I figured I'd just change my mind and move on instead of just letting this project die altogether. So with this post in this timeline I want to give anyone reading a chance to catch up to where we are now without having to dredge through to figure out what the hell is going on here.


    • December 28th, 1958: The NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants goes into sudden death overtime on live primetime network television, producing a climactic finish that triggers a boom in interest in the National Football League. It was in this game where the marriage between football and television was born and the first in a series of events that seen the sport soar in popularity, eventually becoming the most popular in the USA.



    • 1959: The rise in interest in the NFL on TV created a demand for the league in cities across the United States but the tight knit group of 12 NFL owners at the time had no interest in expanding the league with new teams. Lamar Hunt, Bud Adams, Bob Howsam and Max Winter all separately unsuccessfully tried to buy controlling interest in the Chicago Cardinals to move the team to their respective markets but each found themselves left out in the cold after the Bidwell family maintained majority ownership of the club. Lamar Hunt organized Howsam, Adams, and Winter to form their own league, the American Football League. The original group of AFL owners were eventually nicknamed "The Foolish Club" for their brazen attempt to challenge the 40 year old NFL.



    • September 11th, 1960: The inaugural season of the American Football League kicks off with 8 teams, the Buffalo Bills, Boston Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Titans, Houston Oilers, Dallas Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Denver Broncos. The NFL countered the launch of the AFL by launching the Dallas Cowboys franchise in 1960 and stealing away the planned Minnesota AFL franchise for what would become the Minnesota Vikings in 1961. The AFL pulled off a major coup by signing 75% of the NFL's first-round draft choices in 1960, including the Houston Oilers signing Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon.



    • January 29, 1964: the AFL signed a $36 million television contract with NBC(beginning in the 1965 season), securing the financial future of the league and giving it the strength to compete with the NFL. The war between the two leagues reached new heights going into 1965 as both leagues fought for the top talent coming out of college. AFL raided the NFL rosters for veterans and stole away the best college talent such as Joe Namath, who signed the biggest rookie contract in pro football history up to that point when he signed with the New York Jets in the AFL for $427,000 and a new car.



    • June 8th, 1966: Due to soaring player salaries due to bidding between the NFL and AFL several of the owners in both leagues arranged secret meetings to discuss a potential merger in the spring of 1966. The details were worked out and the official announcement for the AFL-NFL merger rocked the sports world on June 8th. The terms of the agreement included an NFL/AFL player draft for college talent beginning in 1967. The plan was made for the two leagues to fully merge in 1970 with NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle remaining as commissioner of the merged league. The two leagues agreed on an "NFL vs AFL World Championship Game" held between the two league champions at the end of the 1966, 1967, 1968, and 1969 seasons before the official merger. Another term of the agreement was that the AFL teams had to return all of the veteran talent that had been poached from NFL teams during the 1966 off-season and the AFL would pay $18 million of indemnities to the NFL over a 20 year payment plan.



    Bookerman's notes-

    So if you are reading this everything up to this point was fact, not fiction. This all really happened. The fictional part of this really slowly starts to kick in during this time. In reality during this time Al Davis the Raiders owner was the fiery commissioner of the AFL. Davis was reportedly very unhappy about the merger and it's terms that the AFL agreed upon. Davis stepped down as AFL commissioner in protest of all this on July 25th 1966, with Milt Woodard being named his replacement AFL commissioner. The fiction revision in this history begins here with the question of what if all the AFL owners listened to Al Davis? What if Al Davis didn't step down as commissioner and had more influence over what the AFL did here during this critical time in American Football history? That is one of the key questions I looked to answer in this revision history project. I'm picking this alternate history up after the merger was already announced, the AFL went against Al Davis' will to set it all up but what if Al was able to get the AFL to back out of it all later down the line?

    • January 12th, 1969: Joe Namath follows through on his guaranteed victory as the AFL's New York Jets defeat the NFL's Baltimore Colts in one of the biggest upsets in all of sports history in Super Bowl III, the 3rd AFL vs NFL World Championship of Professional Football. The victory was the AFL's first win over the NFL in the series after being blown out in the first 2 games in 1967(Green Bay Packers 35 Kansas City Chiefs 10) and 1968(Green Bay Packers 33 Oakland Raiders 14). Namath shocked the sports world after the game when he threw down the Super Bowl trophy and declared the AFL Championship Trophy to be the real title in pro football. Namath announced that the AFL would not merge with the NFL and that the AFL was the superior league. Just 1 week after Super Bowl III AFL president Lamar Hunt held a press conference and backed up Joe Namath's claim, announcing that the AFL has decided to back out of their planned merger with the NFL set for the 1970 season. Hunt told the media that the AFL had too much momentum and the owners felt that there was no reason to give that momentum away to someone else. NFL owners and officials were outraged. By the preseason of 1969 lawsuits and countersuits were filed by the AFL and NFL as a legal battle broke out. Both leagues went on with the 1969 seasons as planned and how they went down in real life, nothing on the field is changed here in this alternate reality, not yet. Super Bowl IV goes down with the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs utterly destroying the NFL's Minnesota Vikings to further solidify the renegade league's claims as the premier league in pro football.



    • June 30th, 1970: The AFL wins a major court battle by winning the rights to the term "Super Bowl" to be used for the AFL Championship Game at the end of every season. Courts ruled in favor of the AFL in the battle for the trademarks just one month after the AFL signed an exclusive television contract with ABC to air "Monday Night Foootball" live on primetime on Monday nights starting in 1970. AFL Monday Night Football on ABC becomes an instant hit and solidifies the AFL as the more colorful, charismatic, and entertaining brand of pro football. The two leagues play on as separate entities in 1970 with the NFL Championship Game going head to head with the AFL's "Super Bowl" at the end of the season. The NFL Championship Game between the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Colts goes down as the "Blunder Bowl" in a mistake ridden sloppy outing while the Oakland Raiders thoroughly handle the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl V to win the AFL Championship.



    • January 16th 1972: A major turning point in the ongoing war between the AFL vs NFL occurs when the 1971 NFL Championship went head to head with the AFL's Super Bowl VI. Ratings plummeted during the NFL Championship Game in a boring rematch between the Cowboys and Colts finished with a 17-0 score while ratings for AFL Super Bowl VI soared as a thriller between the Kansas City Chiefs vs Miami Dolphins unfolded as an all time classic that finished in double overtime. This was a major blow by the AFL to the NFL just as they had continued to steal away all top draft picks coming out of college, including #1 NFL pick Archie Manning. NFL 1970 MVP John Brodie was stolen away from the San Francisco 49ers by the AFL's Houston Oilers to add insult to injury. Another major move was for the Oakland Raiders to sign Jim Brown, bringing arguably the greatest player in NFL history out of retirement just days after being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. Brown returned to limited action for the Raiders in the AFL in 1971, running the ball 48 times in 6 games for 171 total yards and 2 touchdowns but he was a major attraction that generated excitement and publicity for the AFL. The AFL started to break away from the NFL in 1972, eclipsing the established brand in attendance and television ratings for the first time.



    • 1975: The AFL dominates the NFL at the box office and on television ratings as polls suggest for the first time that the AFL is preferred over the NFL by American football fans. The AFL steals away all the top college talent coming up as well as most of the popular NFL players causing many of the weaker NFL teams such as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons to fall into financial peril. A planned expansion team in Tampa Bay falls apart at the last second due to financial problems within the NFL and a scandal within the group of investors behind the failed franchise. Meanwhile the AFL completes plans to expand into Seattle Washington with the construction of the new Kingdome and the materialization of the new Seahawks franchise set to debut in 1976. Even as the AFL eclipses the NFL in popularity the hardcore fans of the sport yearned for the return of the AFL vs NFL format of the Super Bowl as the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers emerge as a true powerhouse winning the 1974 and 1975 NFL Championship with one of the best defenses in NFL history. Many fans of both AFL and NFL dreamed of a matchup between the Steelers and three time(74, 75, 76) AFL Champion Oakland Raiders.



    • February 1976: Just 1 week after the end of the 1975 NFL season the Atlanta Falcons announced that they were suspending operations indefinitely due to financial collapse. Later in the offseason the AFL solidified their place as the #1 pro football league in America by inking new television contracts with ABC, NBC, and CBS, in a deal that industry sources considered to be the largest single television package ever negotiated. Just weeks later an earth shattering development unfolded as the Pittsburgh Steelers sue the NFL in an attempt to leave the league to join the AFL. The NFL blocked the move but a federal court ruled an injunction to allow the Steelers to jump from the NFL to the AFL due to a loophole in Art Rooney's original agreement when he purchased the NFL franchise in the 1930's. The Steelers filed the suit under the guise that they were losing money by operating in the NFL due to the league losing it's key television contracts. The move ended up being a crushing blow to the NFL as they were decimated in the ratings during the 1976 season. An opening day meeting between the Raiders and debuting Steelers broke AFL television ratings. The two teams met in a rematch in Super Bowl XI in a game that would go down as one of the most watched sporting events in US Television history. After the end of the 1976 season the NFL's Atlanta Falcons announced that they were filing for bankruptcy while the New Orleans Saints ownership officially folded the team due to mounting debt and lack of fan support.



    • February 1978: The National Football League officially folds after 57 seasons. The AFL purchases the rights to all trademarks and video library of the NFL shortly after. An agreement was made between AFL owners to expand by adding just 2 NFL teams to the AFL in an attempt to prevent watering down the league. Negotiations finished with an agreement to add the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts to the AFL in 1978. A deal is made to handle the influx of free agents in order to keep player salaries from skyrocketing and prevent bidding wars within the AFL clubs with a special "NFL Player Allocation Draft" held for AFL teams to draft the rights to active players under contract with defunct NFL teams prior to the 1978 season. The Kansas City Chiefs selected Walter Payton with the first official pick. Players who held out or where not selected in the NFL Player Allocation Draft were eligible as unrestricted free agents prior to the 1979 season.



    Bookerman's notes-

    So there you have it, that's where we are now. The NFL dies after the 1977 season in this alternate reality, the AFL never merges and ends up winning a huge war between the two leagues in the 1970's. Now the AFL stands tall as the premier pro football league, and maybe it's unrealistic how through this series of events we conveniently get a 14 team league that is identical to what the real life AFC looked like in the 1980's. I did that for aesthetic reasons but I got the idea from the way the NFL handled the little competition they had from the AAFC(All America Football Conference) in the late 40's. The NFL absorbed the AAFC after the 1949 season and instead of a full on merger with all the teams they just brought over the stronger teams in the Cleveland Browns(the most popular and successful AAFC team, won all 4 of it's Championships), the Baltimore Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, the rest of the players from the AAFC were dispersed within the NFL if I'm not mistaken. So you get some of that happening here with the AFL taking over what is left of the NFL's carcass, bringing over just 2 more teams(Colts and Browns same teams that transitioned from AAFC to NFL 30 years earlier), now we have a 14 team league that is tight and compact, only the best of the best elite talent would make it into this league and we're going to maintain the spirit of the AFL through the 1980's and beyond.

    Will be interesting to consider what all will change going forward, how the drafts will go down, what kind of superteams will come together. A lot of what I've determined is based on what type of coaching jobs were open, wherever these coaches land has a big influence over where the players go. I'm sure some other pro leagues would have sprouted up in the NFL's ashes, maybe the CFL would have had a boom where a lot of cast offs that couldn't make an AFL squad in 1978 go to thrive, guys like Joe Thiesman and Tommy Kramer, etc. Hell, maybe the CFL becomes like a developmental minor league breeding ground for AFL talent since there are only 14 pro money teams? I definitely think the USFL would have been a much bigger deal in this reality with some former NFL owners getting in on the action and the surplus of talent that would have been available. I'm not really going to get into all that here in this thread but it's fun to think about the possibilities. But anyways that's a wrap on this timeline, we're about to get into the fucking 1980's for crying out loud, holy hell this is going to be fun. Here we go...






    Super Bowl Results



    Game/Site/Date Winner Loser Score MVP
    Super Bowl I
    LA Memorial Coliseum
    January 15th, 1967
    Green Bay Packers Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 Bart Starr
    Super Bowl II
    Miami Orange Bowl
    January 14th, 1968
    Green Bay Packers Oakland Raiders 33-14 Bart Starr
    Super Bowl III
    Miami Orange Bowl
    January 12th, 1969
    New York Jets Baltimore Colts 16-7 Joe Namath
    Super Bowl IV
    Tulane Stadium
    January 11th, 1970
    Kansas City Chiefs Minnesota Vikings 23-7 Len Dawson
    Super Bowl V
    Miami Orange Bowl
    January 17th, 1971
    Oakland Raiders Cincinnati Bengals 38-13 Daryle Lamonica
    Super Bowl VI
    Tulane Stadium
    January 16th, 1972
    Miami Dolphins Kansas City Chiefs 30-27 Larry Csonka
    Super Bowl VII
    LA Memorial Coliseum
    January 14th, 1973
    Miami Dolphins Oakland Raiders 21-7 Jake Scott
    Super Bowl VIII
    Rice Stadium
    January 13th, 1974
    Miami Dolphins Oakland Raiders 27-14 Larry Csonka
    Super Bowl IX
    Tulane Stadium
    January 12th 1975
    Oakland Raiders Miami Dolphins 28-26 Ken Stabler
    Super Bowl X
    Miami Orange Bowl
    January 18th, 1976
    Oakland Raiders Cincinnati Bengals 34-30 Ken Stabler
    Super Bowl XI
    Rose Bowl
    January 9th, 1977
    Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers 24-7 Ken Stabler
    Super Bowl XII
    Houston Astrodome
    January 15th, 1978
    Denver Broncos Oakland Raiders 21-17 Bill Thompson
    Super Bowl XIII
    Miami Orange Bowl
    December 31st, 1978
    Pittsburgh Steelers Houston Oilers 35-10 Terry Bradshaw
    Super Bowl XIV
    LA Coliseum
    January 7th, 1980
    Pittsburgh Steelers Houston Oilers 36-33 Lynn Swann
    Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 09-15-2017 at 07:11 PM.

  2. #42
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    Re: AFL: Full Color Football

    AFL Offseason News

    February 1st, 1980





    AFL expands regular season to 16 games, unveils new division alignment/playoff format

    The AFL unveiled the new alignment along with the announcement that the regular season schedule would expand from 14 to 16 games starting in 1980. The new alignment now breaks the league in half with 2 "conferences" consisting of 7 teams each. The Northeastern Football Conference and the Southwestern Football Conference. The Northeast Conference will have the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Browns. The Southwest Conference will include the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Houston Oilers, Denver Broncos, and Miami Dolphins. Each team will play every team within it's conference twice each, one at home and one on the road, with 4 other games against teams in the opposite conference. The playoff format will feature the top 2 teams in each conference squaring off in a Conference Championship Game and the winners facing off in the annual Super Bowl to determine the AFL Champion. AFL spokesperson stated that the 3 division alignment and wild card playoff game were done on an experimental basis in 1978 and 1979 and that the league voted against continuing on with it going into the 1980 season, instead reverting back to a similar format used in the first 18 years of AFL history.


    AFL owners vote to allow Al Davis to move Raiders from Oakland to LA in 1981

    A unanimous vote among AFL owners cleared the way for Al Davis to move the Oakland Raiders to the Los Angeles Coliseum starting in the 1981 season. The league has a strict policy against team's relocating to different cities but the decision was made to allow Davis' move due to the fact that Los Angeles is the 2nd biggest television market in the United States and sits empty without any pro football of any sort ever since the collapse of the NFL in 1977. The Los Angeles Rams were on of the finalists for NFL teams being considered to bring to the AFL but negotiations bottomed out and the team was ultimately retired. The Raiders have won 5 AFL Championship games(1967, 1970, 1974, 1975, 1976) while in Oakland and will play their final season in the city in 1980.


    Baltimore Colts fire Ted Marchibroda, defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan promoted to HC

    The Ted Marchibroda era has come to an end in Baltimore as the Colts have decided to move on from their head coach following back to back disappointing seasons in the AFL. Marchibroda led the Colts to the final NFL Championship Game in 1977 where they lost a dramatic nail biter to the Dallas Cowboys in the final NFL game ever played. The Colts were one of two teams that were brought over from the NFL to the AFL in 1978 but Marchibroda struggled to adapt to the different style of play and the Colts found themselves in the bottom of the AFL East division with a combined record of 7-21 record in 78 and 79. The Colts named their defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan the new head coach. Ryan served as defensive coordinator for the Colts last year, prior to that he served as defensive line coach for the Minnesota Vikings in the final years of the NFL. Ryan served as defensive line coach for the New York Jets in the AFL from 1968 to 1975 where he was instrumental in the Jets defensive gameplan in their upset victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III.


    Tracking assistant coaching changes around the AFL

    Denver Broncos hire Dan Reeves as the new offensive coordinator. Reeves played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys and took a job as an assistant coach on Tom Landry's coaching staff after retiring. Reeves was a part of the Cowboys coaching staff that won the final NFL Championship in 1977.

    San Diego Chargers hire offensive line coach Jim Hanifan. Hanifan served as offensive line coach for the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL where he won NFL Assistant Coach of the Year honors in the final NFL season in 1977.

    The Cleveland Browns sign Marty Schottenheimer as new defensive coordinator. Schottenheimer is a former linebacker for the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills in the AFL from 1965 to 1970. Marty served as linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator for the New York Giants in the final years of the NFL.

    The Baltimore Colts signed Jerry Burns as new offensive coordinator. Burns reunites with Buddy Ryan whom he coached alongside with the Minnesota Vikings during Ryan's tenure there in 76-77. Burns was the offensive coordinator for the Vikings from 1968 until the franchise folded after the death of the NFL in 1977. Prior to his tenure with the Vikings Burns served as an assistant on Vince Lombardi's coaching staff with the Green Bay Packers during their 1966-1967 Super Bowl winning seasons.

    New England Patriots hire linebackers coach Bill Parcells and special teams coach Bill Belichick to join Bill Walsh's coaching staff. Parcells comes off of a head coaching stint at Air Force Academy in 1978-1979 as well as successful tenures as linebacker coach at Texas Tech and Vanderbilt. Belichick got his start as an assistant in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts and Detroit Lions before taking a job as special teams assistant with the Denver Broncos in the AFL in 78-79.

    The New York Jets sign Jerry Glanville as defensive coordinator. Glanville coached defensive backs on the historic Atlanta Falcons "Gritz Blitz" team that set new records in the NFL in 1977. Prior to that Glanville served as an assistant on the Detroit Lions coaching staff from 1974 to 1976.

  3. #43
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    Re: AFL: Full Color Football

    AFL Offseason News

    February 21st, 1980





    Raiders trade Stabler, Casper, Tatum to Oilers for Pastorini and 3 draft picks

    A massive trade rocks the AFL as the Houston Oilers have acquired 3 time Super Bowl MVP Ken "The Snake" Stabler as well as all pro tight end "The Ghost" Dave Casper and all pro defensive back Jack Tatum in exchange for Oilers quarterback Dan Pastorini and the Oilers 2nd, 4th, and 5th round draft picks. The addition of Stabler, Casper, and Tatum joining 1979 AFL MVP running back Earl Campbell stacks the deck of what is already one of the most talented teams in the AFL going into the 1980 season. The Oilers fell short in each of the last 2 Super Bowls when they were defeated by their rival Pittsburgh Steelers in both games.


    OJ Simpson officially retires, leads charter class of AFL Hall Of Fame enshrinees

    The AFL's all time leading rusher and arguably the greatest player in the first 20 years of AFL history announced his retirement immediately following the 1979 season when "The Juice" called it a career after 11 seasons with the Buffalo Bills. OJ Simpson will be among an elite class of charter members to be enshrined in the new AFL Hall Of Fame this August as he joins Joe Namath, Lance Alworth, Jim Otto, Ron Mix, Billy Shaw, George Blanda, Bobby Bell, Nick Buoniconti, and Willie Brown. Simpson has already signed on as an analyst with CBS for the 1980 season.


    Seahawks defensive back Cliff Harris announces retirement

    Cliff Harris made his retirement official this past Sunday after spending the last two years with the Seattle Seahawks in the AFL. Harris played 8 years in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys where he won 2 NFL Championship titles with the team.


    Buffalo Bills trade Ron Jaworski to Colts for 4th round pick

    Ron Jaworski lost the battle for the starting job in Buffalo and sat the majority of the 1979 season on the bench behind Joe Ferguson. The Bills drafted Jaworski in the 1978 NFL Player Allocation Draft after Jaworski spent the first 4 seasons of his career playing for the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills traded Jaworski to the Colts for a 4th round draft pick. Baltimore suffered in each of the last 2 seasons after their star quarterback Burt Jones suffered injuries. Jaworski is expected to backup Jones for the Colts in 1980.


    Raiders trade Randy Cross to Patriots for 3rd round pick

    The Oakland Raiders moved center/guard Randy Cross to the New England Patriots for a 3rd round draft pick. Cross played his first 2 seasons playing for the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL but found himself out of football after not making an AFL team following the death of the NFL in 1977. Cross played in the CFL in 1978 before signing with the Raiders as a free agent in 1979. Cross came in to start at right guard and played well after a mid-season injury on the Raiders front line.

  4. #44
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    Re: AFL: Full Color Football




    1980 AFL Draft


    The 1980 AFL Player Selection meeting would go down in history as the very first ever to be aired live in it's entirety on the groundbreaking new 24 hour sports cable network, ESPN. The buzz headed into the draft surrounded the Heisman Trophy winning running back Billy Sims out of Oklahoma. Sims ran for 1,762 yards on 231 carries(averaging 7.6 yards per carry) in 1978, a record setting performance that earned him the Heisman Trophy award for 1978. Sims was a runner up for the Heisman in 1979 with 248 attempts for 1,670 yards, averaging 6.7 yards per carry with 23 touchdowns.



    Notable first round picks:






    With the 1st overall pick in the 1980 AFL draft, the Baltimore Colts select...


    Spoiler:



    Billy Sims, Running Back(Oklahoma)







    With the 2nd overall pick in the 1980 AFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals select...


    Spoiler:



    Anthony Munoz, Offensive Lineman(USC)








    With the 3rd overall pick in the 1980 AFL draft the Kansas City Chiefs select...


    Spoiler:



    Art Monk, Wide Receiver(Syracuse)





    Notable later round picks:








    With their 2nd round pick in the 1980 AFL draft the Oakland Raiders select...


    Spoiler:



    Matt Millen, Linebacker(Penn State)








    With their 2nd round pick in the 1980 AFL draft the Miami Dolphins select...


    Spoiler:



    Dwight Stephenson, Center(Alabama)


    Other Notable Picks:


    New England Patriots- Keena Turner, Linebacker(Purdue)
    Miami Dolphins- Joe Cribbs, Running Back(Auburn)
    Baltimore Colts- Steve Mcmichael, Defensive Lineman(Texas)


    Undrafted Free Agent Signings:


    Seattle Seahawks- Dave Krieg, Quarterback(Milton)
    Kansas City Chiefs- Jeff Bostic, Center(Clemson)

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