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1960s: Sports and Games


The 1960s saw professional sports finally attain dominance in the hearts of American sports fans. The overlapping seasons of professional baseball, football, hockey, and basketball offered sports fans year-round entertainment, and television broadcasting increased in sophistication to make sports coverage more exciting. It also helped that the 1960s were filled with dramatic moments and glamorous sports stars.

No one team dominated major league baseball, as seven different teams won the World Series. Perhaps the most astonishing World Series win went to the 1969 New York Mets, who had finished next-to-last in 1968. The “Amazin’ Mets,” as they were known, provided thrills for every fan who roots for the under-dog. The 1960s were the decade of stars, as players like Roger Maris (1934–1985), Mickey Mantle (1931–1995), Maury Wills (1932–), Sandy Koufax (1935–), Frank Robinson (1935–), Carl Yastrzemski (1939–), and others set records and thrilled fans.

Professional football became the most popular American sport in the 1960s, surpassing baseball in attendance and in television viewership. Men, mostly, across the nation gave up their Sunday afternoons to watch the games, and for most of the decade they could choose between the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL). The two leagues played their first championship game—called the Super Bowl—against each other in 1967, with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers easily defeating the AFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

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