Will Congress Look Into The Potential XFL-USFL Merger?


It seems unlikely Congress will discuss the merger plan.

Here is a question. Will Congress and President Joe Biden have to sign off on an XFL-United States Football League merger if the XFL and FOX Sports, the USFL’s owner, have a deal that would combine the businesses? The answer is probably not. In 1966, the American Football League and National Football League announced a merger on June 8th but that marriage needed Congressional approval as it was a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and needed President Lyndon Johnson’s signature. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle had to go to Washington and convince Louisiana Senator Russell Long and Louisiana Congressman Hale Boggs that they needed to vote yes to help out the financially struggling AFL and NFL. Neither league was financially struggling although there were some shaky AFL franchises. Rozelle hit a wall when the two legislators said no because New Orleans did not have a team in either league. Rozelle promised New York House member Emanuel Cellar that all 24 teams would not move and then the NFL owners gave New Orleans a franchise in exchange for the support of Long and Boggs. The merger was approved by Congress in October 1966 and Johnson signed an anti-inflation bill into law that had as a rider the AFL-NFL merger.

The National Basketball Association never did merge with the American Basketball Association in the early 1970s because there was no Congressional support. The NBA expanded by allowing four ABA team owners, in Denver, in Indiana, in New York and in San Antonio, to buy franchises to enter the league in 1976, no Congressional support was needed as the ABA went out of business. Four World Hockey Association franchises joined the National Hockey League after the WHA ceased business operations in 1979. The XFL and USFL are small potatoes and their merger probably would not even get Congressional attention.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

FILE – Former Dallas Cowboys standout and longtime NFL on FOX game analyst Daryl Johnson the Executive Vice President, Football Operations for the USFL. (AP Photo/Mark Tenally, File)