History Of The NFL
The NFL as league goes as far back as 1920 during its first actual season. On September 17th, 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formed in Canton, Ohio, which is now the home of the NFL Hall Of Fame. The league in its origin included ten football teams, which three of those teams are currently in the NFL today, which are the Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, and the Green Bay Packers. At the time, the Chicago Bears were called the Decatur Staleys, and the Arizona Cardinals were called the Chicago Cardinals. The Green Bay Packers were founded in 1919 and have remained with the same name and location. The Packers are the oldest franchise in the NFL.
On June 24th, 1922 the American Professional Football Association changed it’s headquarters from Canton, Ohio to Columbus, Ohio. They league would change its name to the National Football League (NFL). Over the next three decades several NFL teams were formed, such as the New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Rams. During the first three decades of the leagues history several teams were formed but went defunct, such as the New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Brooklyn Dodgers Buffalo Bisons, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, and Washington Senators. Most of these teams became franchises in Major League Baseball (MLB) years later. In 1945 the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles to become the Los Angeles Rams. Later on in the 1950s the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and the Baltimore Colts were formed.
By the mid-1960s two football leagues had formed with the old NFL and the new AFL. Both leagues were at war over competition and popularity. At the time AFL founder Lamar Hunt and then AFL League commissioner Al Davis began luring players into the newer AFL, which outraged the NFL tremendously. Several NFL franchise owners decided to meet with AFL owners after years of differences, and in 1970 both leagues finally were fully merged together to form the National Football League (NFL) that was divided into two conferences, called the NFC and the AFC. Both leagues brought their style of play into the new united league and competition and excitement was formed. The merger was called the AFL-NFL Merger of 1970.
Both conferences would meet during the regular season for league play. After a grueling season and a playoff season whoever won the NFC and AFC would meet at the end of the season for the championship game called the “Superbowl.” The teams to have won the most Superbowls include the Pittsburgh Steelers (6), Dallas Cowboys (5), San Francisco 49ers (5), Green Bay Packers (4), and the New York Giants with (4).
Since the first Superbowl that was played on January 15th, 1967, there have been a total of 46 Superbowls played. Since the merger of 1970, there are now a total of 32 NFL franchises. In 2002 the NFL realigned the divisions in the AFC and NFC. There are four divisions in each conference. Currently, the NFL has a 16 game schedule during the regular season. The playoffs are formatted so that six teams, the top 4 division winners, and the top two wild card winners go to the playoffs. During it’s playoff season it has a wild card week, a divisional week, championship week, and a week break before the superbowl.
- AFC WEST: Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs
- AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, Baltimore Ravens
- AFC SOUTH: Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
- AFC EAST: New England Patriots, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins
NFC WEST: San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals
NFC NORTH: Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions
NFC SOUTH: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina PanthersNFC
The NFL is now one of the most organized and prestigious professional leagues in the world. The NFL has a lot of following in the international community in places like Canada, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. Football as a sport has become America’s national pastime, surpassing baseball. The NFL is the number one professional league in the United States. Currently, Los Angeles who hasn’t had and NFL team since 1995 after losing both the Raiders and Rams, are looking for a new team to fill the market. Rumors have swirled that the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Buffalo Bills, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are all interested for a permanent move to the Los Angeles area. Only time will tell who will make the move. Talks of other expansion teams have been discussed, but at this point the league has 32 franchises with four divisions in each conference, and the league is perfectly organized. Expansion in going to take a few years to happen. The NFL has always remained a league of excitement and intensity for its fans and viewers.