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Federal Judge Rules NFL Has No Monopoly on Professional Football

May 21, 1962 - A Federal judge ruled today that the NFL did not have a monopoly in professional football. In a 37-page decision, Judge Roszel C. Thomsen acquitted the NFL of all charges made against it by the American Football League in a $10 million anti-trust suit. The judge held that the older league, formed in 1920, had not engaged in monopoly, attempted monopoly, or engaged in a “conspiracy in unreasonable restraint of trade or commerce.” The AFL was organized in late 1959 and began playing in 1960. It charged that the NFL quickly moved against it when its plans to organize became known, hoping to kill it in the cradle or cripple its development. Specifically, the AFL charged that the NFL hurt it by granting franchises in Dallas and Minneapolis, two prime areas in initial AFL plans. The judge rejected the AFL’s arguments. In a statement after the ruling, the NFL said: “Representatives of the new league have publicly vilified the NFL for two and a half years. They have blamed alleged illegal conduct by the NFL for their lack of success. It is now apparent, as we have known all along, that the AFL was badly misleading the public. It is now time for the AFL to face up to free and open competition and direct its attention to football.”

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