8 June 1966

The National Football League and American Football League announced a merger effective in 1970.

The merger of the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL) was a significant event in the history of American professional football. This merger, which was completed in 1970, had a profound impact on the sport, leading to the formation of the modern NFL as we know it today.

Background and Reasons for the Merger

Competition and Rivalry: The NFL, established in 1920, was the dominant professional football league in the United States. The AFL was founded in 1960 as a rival league, and its establishment led to intense competition for players, fans, and television contracts.

Rising Costs: The competition between the two leagues drove up player salaries and operating costs, making it financially challenging for both leagues to sustain their operations independently.

Television Contracts: Television revenue was becoming increasingly important for professional sports leagues. The NFL had lucrative contracts with major networks, and the AFL was starting to secure its own significant deals. A unified league promised greater bargaining power for television rights.

Key Events Leading to the Merger

Initial Discussions: Secret meetings between NFL and AFL owners began in the mid-1960s to explore the possibility of a merger. Key figures in these discussions included Lamar Hunt, owner of the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, and Tex Schramm, general manager of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Announcement: On June 8, 1966, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and AFL Commissioner Al Davis, along with other league officials, announced that the two leagues would merge. This announcement came as a surprise to many in the sports world.

Terms of the Merger

Unified League: The merger agreement stipulated that the two leagues would operate as separate entities for the 1966 through 1969 seasons, culminating in a championship game between the two league champions. Starting in 1970, the two leagues would fully integrate into a single league.

Super Bowl: One of the most significant outcomes of the merger was the creation of the Super Bowl, which would determine the champion of the combined leagues. The first Super Bowl (originally called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game) was played on January 15, 1967.

Divisions and Conferences: The newly merged league adopted a conference format, with the AFL teams becoming the American Football Conference (AFC) and the NFL teams forming the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference was further divided into divisions.

Draft and Player Movement: A common draft was established to distribute new talent evenly between the teams. This helped to ensure competitive balance and prevent bidding wars over college players.

Impact of the Merger

Increased Popularity: The merger greatly increased the popularity of professional football in the United States. The unified league could present a single, cohesive product to fans and broadcasters.

Economic Growth: The merger led to significant economic growth for the NFL, with increased revenues from television contracts, merchandise sales, and ticket sales.

Cultural Significance: The NFL became a major cultural institution in the United States, with the Super Bowl growing into one of the most-watched sporting events globally.

Competitive Balance: The merger helped maintain competitive balance within the league, ensuring that smaller-market teams had opportunities to compete on an equal footing with larger-market teams.

8 June 1949

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, often referred to as “1984,” is a dystopian novel published in 1949. It depicts a totalitarian society set in the year 1984, where the ruling Party exercises complete control over the lives of its citizens. The story follows the protagonist, Winston Smith, who works for the Party in the Ministry of Truth, where he alters historical records to match the Party’s propaganda.

The world of Nineteen Eighty-Four is characterized by constant surveillance, manipulation of information, and the suppression of individuality and independent thought. The Party, led by the enigmatic Big Brother, employs pervasive surveillance through telescreens, which monitor citizens both in their homes and public spaces. The language used by the Party, called Newspeak, aims to restrict and control thought by reducing the range of expressible ideas.

Winston becomes disillusioned with the Party’s oppressive regime and begins to rebel against its control. He embarks on a forbidden love affair with a fellow Party member named Julia, and together they join a secret resistance movement known as the Brotherhood, led by a figure called Emmanuel Goldstein. However, their rebellion is eventually discovered, leading to their arrest and subsequent torture and reprogramming by the Party.

The novel explores themes of totalitarianism, surveillance, propaganda, thought control, and the power of language. It serves as a cautionary tale, warning against the dangers of unchecked government authority and the erosion of individual freedom. Nineteen Eighty-Four has had a profound impact on literature and popular culture, and its concepts and phrases, such as “Big Brother” and “thoughtcrime,” have become widely recognized symbols of totalitarianism and government overreach.

8 June 2014

At least 28 people are killed in an attack at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, Pakistan.

[rdp-wiki-embed url=’https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Jinnah_International_Airport_attack’]

8 June 1984

Homosexuality is declared legal in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Homosexuality was criminalised in New South Wales under section 79 of the Crimes Act 1900 which stated thus: “Whosoever commits the abominable crime of buggery, or bestiality, with mankind, or with any animal, shall be liable to imprisonment for fourteen years.” In 1951, with the support of Police Commissioner Colin Delaney, who was noted for his obsession against homosexuality, Attorney General Reg Downing moved an amendment to the Act to ensure that “buggery” remained a criminal act “with or without the consent of the person”, removing the previously existing legal loophole of consent.

The Campaign Against Moral Persecution, also known as C.A.M.P., was founded in Sydney in September 1970 and was one of Australia’s first gay rights organisations. C.A.M.P. raised the profile and acceptance of Australia’s gay and lesbian communities.

On 24 June 1978 gay rights activists in Sydney staged a morning protest march and commemoration of the Stonewall Riots which took place in New York in June 1969. Although the organisers had obtained permission, this was revoked, and the march was broken up by the police. Fifty-three of the marchers were arrested. Although most charges were eventually dropped, the Sydney Morning Herald published the names of those arrested in full, leading to many people being outed to their friends and places of employment, and many of those arrested lost their jobs as homosexuality was a crime in New South Wales until 1984. The event was held each year thereafter and is now known as the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2008. Following the first parade, New South Wales saw dozens of gay-hate murders from the late 1970s to the late 1990s, of which 30 remain unsolved. The prevailing climate of homophobia and lack of trust between the LGBT community and the police hampered the resolution of these cases.

The first attempt in New South Wales to bring about Gay law reform was in the form of an amendment to the ‘Crimes Amendment Act 1981’, brought forward by Labor MP George Petersen in April 1981. This would have legalised consenting acts between adults. However, despite support from the Attorney General, Frank Walker, Young Labor, and public opinion polls that supported reform, it was defeated by the Catholic-dominated majority right faction of NSW Labor from inclusion before the act’s introduction and was prevented from being included for debate in the Legislative Assembly by the Speaker, Laurie Kelly, who ruled it out of order. He did not appeal the ruling under threat of expulsion from the party. Undeterred, in November 1981 Petersen introduced a private member’s bill which sought to decriminalise homosexual acts in NSW as well as equalise the age of consent to 16. However, after its first reading, the bill was adjourned at the request of opponents of law reform, who used it as an opportunity to rally opposition to the bill. When the bill came to a second reading, the Liberal/Country opposition voted as a bloc against it and over half of the Labor side, freed by the ability to vote according to conscience, joined them, to defeat it 67 votes to 28. During the 1980s and 1990s, Sydney was hit by a spate of gay bashings, hate crimes and murders, a large number of which remain unsolved. This has been the subject of a Police investigation, ‘Operations Taradale’, and called into question issues relating to Police methods at the time and the state of homophobia in society and the police at the time.

It was in 1984 that the Neville Wran Government introduced, as a private member’s bill, the ‘Crimes Act 1984’, which eventually decriminalised homosexual acts in NSW. The bill was supported by the absence of a conscience vote from the Labor side, was subsequently passed with support from some of the Opposition, including the leader Nick Greiner, on 22 May and was assented to on 8 June 1984. However this was done with an unequal age of consent of 18. It was only in May 2003, 19 years later, that the New South Wales Government equalised the age of consent to 16 under the Crimes Act 1900, with NSW being the third last jurisdiction to reform its unequal age of consent law.

8 June 1949

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four is published.

George Orwell’s 46th birthday was less than a month off when his last novel was published in London by Secker & Warburg, and five days afterwards by Harcourt Brace in New York. The socialist author of the twentieth century’s most devastating critique of left-wing totalitarianism had less than a year left to live. The idea for the book had come to him in 1943 and themes in an early outline included, ‘The system of organized lying on which society is founded, the ways in which this is done, the nightmare feeling caused by the disappearance of objective truth, leader-worship, etc…’. No one who knew London in the years immediately after 1945 will need to be told where the appalling shabbiness of the book’s setting came from. The shortages, the bombsites, the regular failure of things to work properly, the prevailing dreariness – were drawn from real life.

Orwell eventually wrote the book on the Scottish island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides, to which he retreated from London in 1946, ill with tuberculosis after a severe haemorrhage, and depressed. His wife Eileen had died the year before, during an operation he had expected to be mere routine. Orwell took an abandoned farm called Barnhill close to the sea at the north end of the island, with his sister Avril and his adopted baby son Richard. There was a Robinson Crusoe streak in him and he kept chickens, went fishing and worked at being self-sufficient. The scenery was beautiful, the climate mild, but the house was at the end of a five-mile dirt track, the post appeared only twice a week, there was no telephone and Orwell was twenty-five miles from the nearest doctor. Surprisingly, there were quite a few callers, most of whom seem to have been a trial. There were some violent rows. Orwell tended to retreat behind the typewriter in his room.

Determined to finish the book, he refused to make any concessions to his state of health, which grew worse, and by the end of 1947 he was in the Hairmyres Hospital at East Kilbride, near Glasgow, with his lungs in a bad way. Tragically, he proved to be allergic to the new drug streptomycin, which afflicted him with side effects so severe that the treatment which might otherwise have saved his life had to be stopped. Back in Jura after seven months, he typed the final version of the book while lying in bed, which was awkward to manage, or sitting on a kitchen chair in his room, smoking like a funnel despite the condition of his lungs.

Early in 1949 Orwell had to go into a private sanitorium in the Cotswolds, where streptomycin was tried again and soon abandoned. Nineteen Eighty-Four sold so well that it would have given him a comfortable income for life, but it was too late and in September he was moved to University College Hospital in London. There in October, attired in a smoking jacket in his bed with a bottle of champagne waiting on a hospital trolley, he married Sonia Brownell, his second wife, and there, still hoping for a reprieve, he died on January 21st, 1950.

Orwell’s friend Tosco Fyvel said years afterwards that, more than any book published after 1945, Nineteen Eighty-Four ‘has subtly altered the popular impression of the way history has been proceeding’. It is a tribute to the book that the year 1984 eventually came and went without Orwell’s nightmare vision having fully come about.

8 June 1949

George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four is first published.

George Orwell’s novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-four, is published. The novel’s all-seeing leader, known as “Big Brother,” becomes a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy.

George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India. The son of a British civil servant, Orwell attended school in London and won a scholarship to the elite prep school Eton, where most students came from wealthy upper-class backgrounds, unlike Orwell. Rather than going to college like most of his classmates, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police and went to work in Burma in 1922. During his five years there, he developed a severe sense of class guilt; finally in 1927, he chose not to return to Burma while on holiday in England.

Orwell, choosing to immerse himself in the experiences of the urban poor, went to Paris, where he worked menial jobs, and later spent time in England as a tramp. He wrote Down and Out in Paris and London in 1933, based on his observation of the poorer classes, and in 1937 his Road to Wigan Pier documented the life of the unemployed in northern England. Meanwhile, he had published his first novel, Burmese Days, in 1934.

Orwell became increasingly left wing in his views, although he never committed himself to any specific political party. He went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War to fight with the Republicans, but later fled as communism gained an upper hand in the struggle on the left. His barnyard fable, Animal Farm (1945), shows how the noble ideals of egalitarian economies can easily be distorted. The book brought him his first taste of critical and financial success. Orwell’s last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, brought him lasting fame with its grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly and language is twisted to aid in oppression. Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.