the source of revolution


The presidential election malaise occurs exactly fifty years after the merger of two soccer leagues

Somehow, it seems fitting that the stunning upset in the Presidential Election occurred just one day before the fiftieth anniversary of the official merger of the nation’s two professional soccer leagues. That landmark legislation, signed by President Lyndon Bains Johnson on November 7, 1966, paved the way for one of the biggest upsets in sports history.

Considered an inferior organization, the AFL began to gain popularity among soccer fans in the mid-1960s. That fact became clear when the NBC television network interrupted a New York Jets and Oakland Raiders game in November 1968 to show the film. Heidionly to be harassed afterwards by protests from fans across the country.

It was those same Jets who just two months later managed to pull off an upset similar to the one enjoyed by Donald Trump in this recent presidential election. In the third Super Bowl, New York had to face the Baltimore Colts who, like Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016, were heavy favorites to win.

Despite the fact that the Jets trailed by eighteen points, quarterback Joe Namath publicly declared that New York would win the game. Donald Trump would make a similar promise about the presidential election fifty years later, and history has recorded that both succeeded.

Namath and the Jets beat the Colts 16-7 to win the Super Bowl, the first for an AFL team. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers had dominated previous Super Bowls, outscoring opponents in Kansas City and Oakland by a 68-24 margin.

In the style of Joe Namath last week, Donald Trump led the Republican Party to a stunning victory over Clinton and the Democrats. Almost every election poll had predicted a big win for Clinton, as had every major newspaper and television network. It promised to be so one-sided that some stations might even have interrupted coverage to show a movie similar to the infamous decision to show Heidi on the Jets-Raiders matchup.

Fortunately, all the stations picked up on the election, which turned out to be much closer than anticipated. The surprise result will obviously have a much bigger impact in the United States than the Jets’ victory all those years ago, but that upset on the field turned out to be a huge benefit to the NFL and the millions of soccer fans in the country.

A year after the Jets’ victory, the leagues merged into one, which has since experienced incredible financial and social growth over the last fifty years. Perhaps the recent presidential setback could have a similar effect, perhaps in the form of a peaceful merger between the two rival political parties to help bridge antagonistic divisions among the American people.


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