Home Boston Patriots logo New England Patriots
National Football League

Will the NFL's Boston Patriots move to Birmingham?


January 27, 1970
Boston Patriots owner William H. Sullivan, Jr. states that he will move the team unless a suitable stadium is available by March 15, 1970.

      National Football League logo
   
Hugh Morrow III, head of an organization named Birmingham Pro Football, plans to talk with Sullivan about moving the team to Birmingham.

Sullivan is backing a bill that would allow the state of Massachusetts to take Harvard University's stadium over by eminent domain since Harvard refused to lease their stadium to the Patriots.

The upcoming 1970 season will be the first after the merger between the American Football League merged with the National Football League.

The merger also forced a realignment between the combined league's clubs, since there were 16 NFL teams and 10 AFL teams. Three NFL teams were transferred to balance the two new conferences, each with 13 teams. In May 1969, the Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to join all ten AFL teams to form the American Football Conference, while the remaining NFL teams formed the National Football Conference. Each conference was divided into three divisions: East, Central, and West. The two Eastern divisions had five teams; the other four divisions had four teams each. The realignment discussions for the NFC were so contentious that the winning plan was allegedly drawn out of a vase containing the five plans by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle's secretary, Thelma Elkjer.

As part of the merger, all 26 teams agreed to have stadiums that would seat 50,000 or more by 1970. The Patriots played last season at Boston College's Alumni Field, which seats 26,000. Harvard Stadium seats 40,000 with additional room for temporary stands. The Patriots also played at Fenway Park and at Boston University.

September 1970

1970-71                          
National Football League                          
xx   xx   xx   xx   xx   xx
  Atlanta Falcons logo    Baltimore Colts logo   New England Patriots logo   Buffalo Bills logo   Chicago Bears logo
  Atlanta Falcons   Baltimore Colts
Champion
  Boston Patriots   Buffalo Bills   Chicago Bears  
                     
  Cincinnati Bengals logo   Cleveland Browns logo   Dallas Cowboys logo   Denver Broncos logo   Detroit Lions logo
  Cincinnati Bengals   Cleveland Browns   Dallas Cowboys   Denver Broncos   Detroit Lions  
                     
  Green Bay Packers logo   Houston Oilers logo   Kansas City Chiefs logo   Los Angeles Rams logo   Miami Dolphins logo
  Green Bay Packers   Houston Oilers   Kansas City Chiefs   Los Angeles Rams   Miami Dolphins  
                     
  Minnesota Vikings logo   New Orleans Saints logo   New York Giants logo   New York Jets logo   Oakland Raiders logo
  Minnesota Vikings   New Orleans Saints   New York Giants   New York Jets   Oakland Raiders  
                   
  Philadelphia Eagles logo   Pittsburgh Steelers logo   San Diego Chargers logo   San Francisco 49ers logo   St. Louis Cardinals logo  
  Philadelphia Eagles   Pittsburgh Steelers   San Diego Chargers   San Francisco 49ers   St. Louis Cardinals  
                     
  Washington Redskins logo                  
  Washington Redskins                  
                     

Epilogue
Before the 1971 season, the Boston Patriots renamed themselves the New England Patriots and will be playing in the newly-built 61,000-seat Shaeffer Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
 
 
 
Contact Gene Crowley
Last update: August 11, 2019