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Sacco Sez: Looking forward to 2019 anniversaries

Last week I wrote about fact that in the midst of an ever busy world in pro football, many in the NFL are looking toward 2019, the celebration of the league's centennial.

During a recent visit to Atlanta, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the College Football Hall of Fame, which was relocated to the Georgia city in 2014.

The year 2019 is a similarly big one for college football, as that sport will celebrate its 150th season of play in the same year in which we in the NFL will mark 100.

The College Football Hall of Fame is located in the heart of Atlanta, near the Centennial Olympic Park, the Atlanta Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

Naturally, there is a huge Colorado connection to the College Football Hall of Fame, as Steve Hatchell — a member of the University of Colorado's Athletic Hall of Fame for his leadership in sports administration — is now president and CEO of the National Football Foundation and the College Hall of Fame.

There are 987 former players and 214 coaches enshrined in the Hall, representing 306 schools large and small. Notre Dame has the most members with 45 and the University of Southern California is second with 40.

Since the NFL gets virtually all of its players from college football, the celebrations go hand in hand and are inexorably tied together.

ESPN plans a "year-long multifaceted storytelling experience" for college football, and not to be outdone, the NFL Network will have a huge focus on the history and memories of the game.

I have been flattered to be asked my opinion of things the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame are planning for this great centennial.

Hall of Fame Broncos running back Floyd Little and two of his best friends and former teammates, Tom Jackson and Billy Thompson, toured the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (All photos by Ben Swanson)

The sport of American football has come a long way since Rutgers and Princeton started it all with a rough version of the current game on Nov. 6, 1869.

But those two are not the only celebrations taking place in 2019.

Next year also marks the 60th anniversary of the greatest and certainly longest-lived expansion league in American sports history, the American Football League.

The AFL merged into the NFL with 10 teams, as Miami and Cincinnati had joined as expansion franchises by then, but the eight original teams will celebrate their 60th year of play in 2019.

Those franchises are the Tennessee Titans (née Houston Oilers), Kansas City Chiefs (née Dallas Texans), New York Jets (née New York Titans), New England Patriots (née Boston Patriots), Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders and, of course, our Denver Broncos.

Of those eight franchises there are only three that have never changed cities or nicknames: the Broncos, the Bills and the Raiders.

Most interestingly, Denver, Buffalo and Oakland were the three smallest markets in the original AFL.

Those eight original AFL teams will celebrate their 60th year of play, the NFL will celebrate its 100th and college football its 150th, all in 2019.

Look forward to the opportunity to buy a lot of anniversary gear next year.

There is a lot of football history out there, and I hope our readers take as much enjoyment out of reading some previously obscure but interesting information as I will in writing it.

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