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The Common Draft was the name given to the selection of college football players in a combined draft (for the years 1967 through 1969) by the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL). This took place after the AFL-NFL merger agreement in 1966.

Previously, (from 1960 through 1966) there was an American Football League draft and an NFL draft; each league held its own draft and competed for players, a competition which was a major factor in the AFL-NFL merger agreement. During the three years of the Common Draft, teams from both leagues were combined in a single ranking to determine the order of the draft. The team with the worst record in either league the previous year picked first, the next-worst team second, and so on, with the exception that the loser of the previous year's World Championship Game picked second to last, and the reigning World Champion picked last. As is the case today, any team's draft order could be affected by trades.

When the two leagues formally merged for the 1970 season, the "Common Draft" became simply the NFL draft.

When the AFL's Jets defeated the "best team in the history of the NFL", the Colts, a popular misconception fostered by the NFL and repeated by media reports was that the AFL defeated the NFL because of improvement of its teams via the Common Draft. This apparently was meant to confirm that until the AFL did not have to compete with the NFL in the draft, it could not achieve parity. But the 1968 Jets had less than a handful of "Common Draftees". Their stars were honed in the AFL, many of them since the Titans days, and the AFL as a whole got its share of stars long before the Common Draft.


  • The Making of the Super Bowl : The Inside Story of the World's Greatest Sporting Event by Don Weiss, p. 24

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