Sunday, February 4, 2024

Now Boarding...United Airlines NFL Ads from the 1960s

With the news that American Airlines and United Airlines have added Flight 1989 from Kansas City to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl to take advantage of the Taylor Swift - Travis Kelce hysteria surrounding Super Bowl LVIII, it made me think of some of the great United Airlines NFL ads I have come across:

Throughout the 1960's and into the 1970's, United Airlines was the official airline of most NFL teams, which they publicized through a number of ads using NFL logos and helmets.

The earliest example I have found likely dates from the early 1960s, which shows a collection of team logos on the side of a plane where they promote that they serve 13 of the 14 NFL teams:

It looks like the Vikings were the one team that used another airline.  The logos in the shape of the NFL shield were one of the ways the NFL was promoting the league at the time, as these color patches show:

Next, we have an ad using helmets, with is likely from the early 1960's as well:

Again, it looks like Vikings were the lone team to not use United.

Later in the decade, we have an ad which is likely from 1967 which includes the NFL expansion teams Falcons and Saints:

Once again, the Vikings are the odd man out.

After the NFL-AFL merger, we now get both NFL and AFL teams in a fantastic poster:

The next ad is likely from 1970 or 1971 based on the Redskins helmet which they only used for those 2 seasons:

Again, no Vikings, and the other missing team is the Dolphins.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, here is an ad where United congratulates the NFL and AFL champions from the 1967 season and indicates they will be getting both teams to the Super Bowl:

The fact that the ad refers to the game as the Super Bowl is interesting, as the NFL was still calling the game the World Championship Game:


The NFL did not start referring to the game as the Super Bowl until the following year in Super Bowl III

Finally, we wrap up with one last airline related item - a 1978 United Timetable for flights which just happens to feature Arrowhead stadium:

If you are interested, here is a collection of all available United Airlines commercials (35 in total) that were contained in the yearly NFL Films team highlight shows from 1965-1970:

Many of the images came from Vintage Airliners, which has much more information on the connections between airlines and professional football:

1 comment:

spyboy1 said...

I suspect the Vikings were aligned with Northwest Orient Airlines which was based in Minneapolis.