On December 9, 1949, two days before the AAFC title game, the two leagues made peace. Three AAFC teams were admitted to the NFL: the Browns, 49ers, and Colts. The Dons merged with the Rams, while the Bills, Yankees, and Hornets folded. The enlarged league was renamed the National–American Football League.
The Browns and 49ers, as the AAFC's two strongest teams, were obvious choices: San Francisco was also a natural fit as a geographic rival to the Rams, who were alone on the West Coast at the time.
The third choice was the subject of some debate.
There was some sentiment to admit the Bills rather than the Colts. The Bills had better attendance despite only making the playoffs twice, and had much wealthier ownership. However, Buffalo's size (only Green Bay was smaller) and climate were seen as problems. While Redskins owner George Preston Marshall had long objected to the Colts' proximity to Washington, he ultimately decided that the Colts would be a natural rival to the Redskins. He agreed to accept a $150,000 fee to waive his territorial rights.
Buffalo fans petitioned the NFL to admit the Bills as well. The league, realizing the pitfalls of having an uneven 13-team league, held a vote on admitting the Bills. While a majority of owners (including the Browns, 49ers, and Colts) were willing to take the Bills, the final vote was only 9–4 in favor. League rules of the time required a unanimous vote to admit a new team. Buffalo owner Jim Breuil was content to accept a minority share of the Browns. Breuil even rebuffed an offer from the next-best pro league in the nation at the time, the minor-league American Football League of the late 1940s, to join their league.
The Yankees' players were divided between the Giants (who chose six players) and Bulldogs (who received the rest). Three Bills players were awarded to the Browns. The remaining Bills, Dons, and Hornets entered a dispersal draft.
With the AAFC Yankees gone, Bulldogs owner Ted Collins was free to rename his team "Yanks" and move into Yankee Stadium. He continued to lose money, however, and sold the team after two seasons to Dallas-based interests, who relocated the team to Dallas and called the team the Dallas Texans.
The word "American" did not remain in the enlarged league's name for long; it was dropped in March 1950. Although "National" and "American" became the names of the league's new conferences, within three years the conferences were renamed Eastern and Western. It was not until the AFL–NFL merger twenty years later that the "American" and "National" conference names were restored.