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The Birth of the National Football League

The Birth of the National Football League



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The 14 men huddled inside the Jordan and Hupmobile automobile showroom in downtown Canton, Ohio, on the night of September 17, 1920, were finally ready to strike a deal. They had come to Ralph Hay’s dealership not in search of a new set of wheels, however, but a new professional football league to save them from themselves.

By 1920, pro football remained thoroughly overshadowed by the college game and a bastion confined mostly to small Midwestern industrial cities. Even worse for team owners, they were bleeding cash because of soaring player salaries and intense bidding wars as they poached players from other squads. The owners of these independent pro teams coveted a strong league such as the one baseball had in order to gain more control over the sport—and their finances.

Hay, the owner of the reigning Ohio League champion Canton Bulldogs, had invited representatives from three other in-state teams to an organizational meeting at his showroom on August 20 where they agreed on a broad outline of a new association. According to the Canton Evening Repository, the goal of the new venture would be “to raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules.”

Nearly a month later, a deal was ready to be struck. Hay gathered representatives from 11 professional football clubs sprinkled across Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and New York: Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Hammond Pros, Massillon Tigers, Muncie Flyers, Racine Cardinals, Rochester Jeffersons and Rock Island Independents. (So unfamiliar were the teams that even the meeting minutes mistakenly listed the Cardinals, who played home games at Normal Park on Chicago’s Racine Avenue, as being from the Wisconsin city of the same name.) Unable to squeeze into Hay’s office on the steamy night, the football pioneers, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, sat on the running boards and fenders of the $3,000 cars on the showroom floor and grabbed cold beer bottles from an icy bucket as they hammered out an agreement.

According to the meeting minutes typed on the letterhead of the Akron Professional Football Team, the first item of business was an inauspicious one—the withdrawal of Massillon before the league even officially formed. Then, the men moved and seconded a proposal to form a confederation known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). The new league needed a president to lead the organization and be its public face, and the choice required little debate. The team representatives unanimously selected the 32-year-old Thorpe, the Canton Bulldogs star who although past his prime was still touted by newspapers such as the Milwaukee Journal as the “world’s greatest athlete.” Indeed, the selection of the gridiron’s greatest gate attraction garnered more ink in newspapers around the country than the formation of the APFA itself.

The first game involving an APFA team took place on September 26, 1920, at Douglas Park in Rock Island, Illinois, as the hometown Independents flattened the St. Paul Ideals 48-0. The first head-to-head battles in the league occurred one week later as Dayton topped Columbus 14-0 and Rock Island pasted Muncie 45-0.

While the gridiron dimensions were the same in 1920 as today, the pro game itself was quite different. Forward passes were rare, coaching from the sidelines was prohibited and players competed on both offense and defense. Money was so tight that Halas carried equipment, wrote press releases, sold tickets, taped ankles, played and coached for the Decatur club. As opposed to today’s standard 16-game schedule, clubs in 1920 scheduled their own opponents and could play nonleague and even college squads that counted toward their records. With no established guidelines, the number of games played—and the quality of opponents scheduled—by APFA teams varied, and the league did not maintain official standings.

The Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles and Detroit Heralds joined the league before the end of the season, raising the total number of teams to 14, but the inaugural season was a struggle. Games received little attention from the fans—and even less from the press. According to Robert W. Peterson’s book “Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football,” APFA games averaged crowds of 4,241. The association bylaws called for teams to pay a $100 entry fee, but no one ever did. Muncie played only one game before dropping out before the end of the season, which concluded on December 19.

At the conclusion of the season there were no playoffs—let alone a Super Bowl—and it took more than four months before the league even bothered to crown a champion. Much as college football did for decades, the APFA determined its victor by ballot. On April 30, 1921, team representatives voted the Akron Pros, who completed the season undefeated with eight wins and three ties while yielding only a total of seven points, the champion in spite of protests by the one-loss teams in Decatur and Buffalo, who each had tied Akron and had more wins. The victors received a silver loving cup donated by sporting goods company Brunswick-Balke-Collender. While players were not given diamond-encrusted rings, they did receive golden fobs in the shape of a football inscribed with the words “World Champions.”

Needing a leader with greater business acumen, team owners replaced Thorpe with Columbus Panhandles owner Joe Carr, and in 1922, the APFA rebranded itself as the National Football League. While the ‘20s roared, the NFL sputtered. College football remained king, drawing crowds as big as 100,000, while NFL franchises came and went. Only after the signing of college phenom Red Grange in 1925 did pro football begin to increase in popularity.

The NFL’s first season was so quickly forgotten in the collective sports memory that the league’s official record books listed the 1920 championship as undecided until the 1970s. The whereabouts of the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Cup, only given out that one time, are unknown. The legacy of two APFA franchises continues on, however. The Racine Cardinals now play in Arizona, and the Decatur Staleys moved to Chicago in 1921 and changed their name to the Bears the following year. Ten APFA players along with Carr are enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which opened its doors in 1963 not far from the Canton automobile dealership that gave birth to the NFL in 1920.


History of the National Football League

The history of the National Football League has roots spanning as far back as 1892 when former Yale All-American guard William Heffelfinger was paid $500 by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play in a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, making him the first ever professional football player. However it wasn't until 1920 that American football achieved a league of any true orga

League membership gradually stabilized throughout the 1920s and 1930s as the league adopted progressively more formal organization. The first official championship game was held in 1933. The NFL stopped signing black players in 1927 but reintegrated in 1946 following World War II. Other changes followed after the war the office of league President evolved into the more powerful Commissioner post, mirroring a similar move in Major League Baseball. Teams became more financially viable, the last team folding in 1952. By 1958, when that season's NFL championship game became known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played", the NFL was on its way to becoming one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States.

The rival American Football League was founded in 1959. It was very successful, and forced a merger with the older NFL that resulted in a greatly expanded league and the creation of the Super Bowl, which has become the most-watched annual sporting event in the United States. The league continued to expand to its current size of 32 teams. A series of labor agreements during the 1990s and increasingly large television contracts has helped keep the league one of the most profitable in the U.S., and the only major league in the U.S. since 1990 to avoid a major work stoppage.

Professional Football Titles* Ώ]
(AFL, NFL, and Super Bowl)
† = defunct team
Team Titles
Green Bay Packers 13
Chicago Bears 9
New York Giants 7
Pittsburgh Steelers 6
Washington Redskins 5
Indianapolis Colts 5
San Francisco 49ers 5
Dallas Cowboys 5
Cleveland Browns 4
Detroit Lions 4
Oakland Raiders 4
New England Patriots 3
Philadelphia Eagles 3
St. Louis Rams 3
Kansas City Chiefs 3
Miami Dolphins 2
Arizona Cardinals 2
Canton Bulldogs† 2
Denver Broncos 2
Tennessee Titans 2
Buffalo Bills 2
Akron Pros† 1
Baltimore Ravens 1
Cleveland Bulldogs† 1
Frankford Yellowjackets† 1
Minnesota Vikings 1
New York Jets 1
New Orleans Saints 1
Providence Steam Roller† 1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
San Diego Chargers 1


The first football clubs

Football clubs have existed since the 15th century, but unorganized and without official status. It is therefore hard to decide which the first football club was. Some historians suggest that it was the Foot-Ball Club formed 1824 in Edinburgh. Early clubs were often formed by former school students and the first of this kind was formed in Sheffield in 1855. The oldest among professional football clubs is the English club Notts County that was formed in 1862 and still exists today.

An important step for the emergence of teams was the industrialization that led to larger groups of people meeting at places such as factories, pubs and churches. Football teams were established in the larger cities and the new railroads could bring them to other cities.

In the beginning, football was dominated by public school teams, but later, teams consisting by workers would make up the majority. Another change was successively taking place when some clubs became willing to pay the best players to join their team. This would be the start of a long period of transition, not without friction, in which the game would develop to a professional level.

The motivation behind paying players was not only to win more matches. In the 1880s the interest in the game has moved ahead to a level that tickets were sold to the matches. And finally, in 1885 professional football was legalized and three years later the Football League was established. During the first season, 12 clubs joined the league, but soon more clubs became interested and the competition would consequently expand into more divisions.

For a long time, the British teams would be dominant. After some decades, clubs from Prague, Budapest and Sienna would be the primarily contenders to the British dominance.

As with many things in history, women were for a long time excluded from participating in games. It was not before the late 19th century that women started to play football. The first official women's game took place in Inverness in 1888.


Birth of a new league

On August 20, 1920, at a Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio, the league was formalized, originally as the American Professional Football Conference, initially consisting only of the Ohio League teams, although some of the teams declined participation. [4] One month later on September 17, the league was renamed the American Professional Football Association, adding Buffalo and Rochester from the New York league, and Detroit, Hammond (a suburban Chicago squad), and several other teams from nearby circuits. The eleven founding teams initially struck an agreement over player poaching and the declaration of an end-of-season champion. Thorpe, while still playing for the Bulldogs, was elected president. Only four of the founding teams finished the 1920 schedule and the undefeated Akron Pros claimed the first championship. Membership of the league increased to 22 teams – including more of the New York teams – in 1921, but throughout the 1920s the membership was unstable and the league was not a major national sport. On June 24, 1922, the organization, now headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, changed its title a final time to the National Football League. [5]

Two charter members, the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals) and the Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears), are still in existence. The Green Bay Packers franchise, founded in 1919, is the oldest team not to change locations, but did not begin league play until 1921. The New York Football Giants joined in 1925, followed by the Portsmouth Spartans in 1930, relocating to Detroit in 1934 to become the Lions. [6] The Indianapolis Colts franchise traces its history through several predecessors, including one of the league's founding teams – the Dayton Triangles – but is considered a separate franchise from those teams and was founded as the Baltimore Colts in 1953. Although the original NFL teams representing Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit no longer exist, replacement franchises have since been established for those cities.

Early championships were awarded to the team with the best won-lost record, initially rather haphazardly, as some teams played more or fewer games than others, or scheduled games against non-league, amateur or collegiate teams this led to the title being decided on a tiebreaker in 1921, a disputed title in 1925, and the scheduling of an impromptu indoor playoff game in 1932. The lack of a firm league structure meant that numerous teams regularly were added and removed from the league each year a franchise owner might trade in his franchise in one city for one in another (as was the case with the Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Bulldogs and Detroit Wolverines), and if a larger-market or more established team wanted a player on a smaller-market upstart, it could buy out the team outright and fold it to gain rights to that player, as the New York Giants did to the Wolverines in 1928 to get Benny Friedman.

In league meetings prior to the 1933 season, three new teams, the Pirates, the Cincinnati Reds and the Eagles, were admitted to the NFL. [7] [8] Ten teams were then in the NFL and, at George Preston Marshall's urging, with Halas' support, NFL was reorganized into an Eastern Division and a Western Division. In the Eastern Division were the Philadelphia Eagles, Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Boston Redskins, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the Western Division were the Chicago Bears, Portsmouth Spartans, Chicago Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and the Cincinnati Reds. Furthermore, the two owners convinced the league to have the two division winners meet in a NFL Championship Game. [9]

By 1934, all of the small-town teams, with the exception of the Green Bay Packers, had moved to or been replaced by teams in big cities, and even Green Bay had begun to play a portion of its home schedule in much larger Milwaukee for more support (a practice they continued well into the 1990s). In 1941, the corporate headquarters moved from Columbus, Ohio to Chicago. During the early years of the league, rather than coming up with original team names, many NFL teams simply chose the name of the Major League Baseball team in the same city. Thus the Pittsburgh Steelers were the "Pittsburgh Pirates" for the first seven years of existence and other teams such as the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Washington Senators and Buffalo Bisons all represented the NFL at one time or another. [10]

An annual draft of college players was first held in 1936. [11] [12] The first televised NFL game was on October 22, 1939 in a game the Eagles lost 23-14 to the host Dodgers at Ebbets Field. [13] [14] It was during this era, however, that the NFL became segregated: there were no black players in professional football in the United States between 1933 and 1945, mainly due to the influence of George Preston Marshall, who entered the league in 1932 as the owner of the Boston Braves. Other NFL owners emulated Marshall's whites-only policy to mollify southern fans, and even after the NFL's color barrier had been broken in the 1950s, Marshall's Washington Redskins remained all-white until forced to integrate by the Kennedy administration in 1962. [15] Despite his bigotry, Marshall was selected as a charter member of the NFL-inspired Pro Football Hall of Fame, primarily for the numerous innovations (fixed schedules, separate conferences and championship games) Marshall encouraged during his time in the league.

College football was the bigger attraction, but by the end of World War II, pro football began to rival the college game for fans' attention. Rule changes and innovations such as the T formation led to a faster-paced, higher-scoring game. The league also expanded out of its eastern and midwestern cradle in 1945, the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles, becoming the first big-league sports franchise on the West Coast. [16] In 1950, the NFL accepted three teams – the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, and Baltimore Colts – from the defunct All-America Football Conference, expanding to thirteen clubs. For a three-month period in 1950 the league was renamed the National-American Football League, that was subsequently changed back. [17] [18] In 1958, the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants played "The Greatest Game Ever Played" for the championship. Being the first nationally televised football game, along with its thrilling ending greatly increased the popularity of the NFL. Through these breakthroughs, pro football finally earned its place as a major sport.

Racial minorities

The NFL's precursor, the American Professional Football Association, had several minority players, including African-American players: between 1920 and 1926, nine black players suited up for NFL squads. It was also common, due to the number of talented players that were produced by the Carlisle Indian School's football team, to see teams (both inside and outside the NFL) openly market Native Americans in fact, the Oorang Indians of 1922 to 1923 consisted entirely of Native American talent. Running back Walter Achiu and quarterback Arthur Matsu, both of the Dayton Triangles, were the first Asian-American players in the NFL, having joined the league in 1927 and 1928 respectively. Ignacio Molinet and Jess Rodriguez were the first Hispanic players in the NFL and each played one season in 1927 and 1929 respectively.

However, since Carlisle had closed in 1918, the talent pool of Indians had dried up. Meanwhile, all black players in the NFL (including future Hall of Famer Fritz Pollard) were summarily kicked out prior to the 1927 season for reasons unexplained. From 1928 to 1932, no more than one black player could be found in the league each season, and none played more than two seasons. In 1933, there were two: Joe Lillard and Ray Kemp. Lillard was kicked off the Chicago Cardinals for fighting, while Kemp left to pursue what would become a successful coaching career. The moves left the league as all-white, and Boston Redskins owner George Preston Marshall allegedly used his pressure to keep it that way for the next several years, though each team's internal politics and cronyism, as well as the rising tide of racism in the United States as a whole, also played a significant role. Even during the wartime years, when much of the NFL's talent was overseas fighting World War II, players such as Kenny Washington who stayed in the United States were still passed up in favor of white players with normally debilitating medical conditions such as partial blindness. [ citation needed ]

NFL integration occurred only when the Cleveland Rams wanted to move to Los Angeles, and the venue, the Los Angeles Coliseum, required them to integrate their team. They then signed two black players, Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. [19] Other NFL teams eventually followed suit, but Marshall refused to integrate the Redskins until forced to by the Kennedy administration as a pre-condition for using D.C. Stadium (now RFK Stadium). In spite of this open bias, Marshall was elected to the NFL's Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. In 1946, the Cleveland Browns of a rival Professional Football league, the All-America Football Conference, signed two black players. By 1960, the NFL's new competitor, the American Football League, actively recruited players from smaller predominantly black colleges that had been largely ignored by the NFL, giving those schools' black players the opportunity to play professional football. Early AFL teams averaged more blacks than did their NFL counterparts. [20]

However, despite the NFL's previous segregationist policies, the clear competitive advantage of AFL teams with liberal signing policies affected the NFL's drafts. By 1969, a comparison of the two leagues' championship team photos showed the AFL's Chiefs with 23 black players out of 51 players (45%) pictured, while the NFL's Vikings had 11 blacks, of 42 players (26%) in the photo. Chiefs players have been quoted as saying that one motivating factor in their defeat of the Vikings in Super Bowl IV was their pride in their diverse squad. Recent surveys have shown that the current, post-merger NFL is approximately 67–71% non-white (this includes African Americans, Polynesians, non-white Hispanics, Asians, and people that are mixed race), significantly higher than the national average certain positions, such as cornerback and running back, are almost entirely black.


History Behind the National Football League

The founding of the National Football League vastly impacted the social culture of Americans. It achieved this because of the Americans love and pride for games and competition, the rise of popularity of football throughout America, especially in colleges and high school, the works of the television, the rise of talent of athletes, the commencement of paying athletes and splitting of the NFL into two divisions. (A rivalry within a rivalry separated by regions of the United States.)

In the Eastern United States, a game very similar to soccer was invented and played during the mid-1800s. It consisted of 30 or more players. The object of the game was to kick a ball across the other team’s goal line. This game was becoming extraordinarily popular, and additional stricter rules were being applied to this game. This game was called football. In this game, two teams played, and both teams had different rules on playing it. One by McGill’s rule, and the other by Harvard’s rule. Harvard’s rules were more like soccer, and McGill’s rules were more like rugby. Running with the ball and tackling were the prime reasons why this game was introduced to, not just Harvard, but other Eastern Colleges all over the United States.

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Improving the game was the first priority at this time. As this rugby-style football became popular, Walter Camp played a major role in developing rules that increased action and competition for this game.

“ Camp was largely responsible for establishing the system of downs and yards to gain and for introducing the centre snap to the quarterback. He also helped set up the scoring system in which touchdowns, conversions, field goals, and safeties were worth different amounts of points.” (365) The love and pride for the game developed and so did a competition. High schools and Colleges organized teams, and competition increased. As a matter of fact competition was getting so large that the sport was turning violent and dangerous due to the lack of protection from tackling and blocking. Since players suffered severe injuries due to the lack of adequate equipment and no helmets, Theodore Roosevelt stressed that changes had to be made in order to make this a safer game.

The founding of the game “football” was developed in the mid 1800s but was not really organized until the 1920’s. “ On September 17, 1920, a group of men gathered in Canton, Ohio at the Hupmobile showroom of Ralph Hay, owner of the hometown Bulldogs. The result of the meeting brought the birth of the National Football League.” (Profootball)

Pro Football began in 1892, when William “Pudge” Heffelfinger, a former Yale star, was paid a sum of $500 to play in a single game for the Allegheny Athletic Associate on November 12, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This game marked the beginning of professional football. In 1920 the name of the APFA (American Professional Football Association) was later changed to the NFL (National Football League) due to the organization of the sport.

In 1925, professional football began to attract many fans and supporters by signing and paying great athletes to play on their teams. This sport would eventually draw more than 350,000 fans to come to watch the games that year. Television also played a major role in attracting people and making money. “TV networks paid millions of dollars to televise the games.” (367) To this day, television continues to play a major role in hosting football events, such as the Super Bowl, which is an annual televised event around the world.

By the 1930s the NFL was divided into two divisions, the Western Division, and the Eastern Division. The champions of each Division would play for the first world professional football title. By the mid 1940’s the All-American Football Conference was formed, and it consisted of an eight-team league, then it was a 13-team league after the NFL merge. Finally the AFL, (American Football League) an eight-team league that was formed in the 1960’s decided to merge with the NFL after six years to form the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference.

The founding of the National Football League has impacted the United States social culture. Football is not only a fun sport to play, but its one of the most, if not the most popular and helpful sports of Americans today. Many people agreed that playing sports, especially football, builds character, teaches teamwork, makes one learn how to win and lose, teaches discipline, and keeps younger and older children off the streets. Millions and millions of Americans go to watch football games ever year, and always watch football on Sundays. It’s almost like a tradition for some. The love and pride for the game will always be in many hearts of not just in the National Football League, but in High schools, Colleges, and muddy fields everywhere.


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1800s-1900s: Who Founded the NFL?

The first noted professional football event took place in 1892. American football as a sport had existed before that, but a game between the Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club in Pennsylvania in 1892 was the first instance of a player getting paid to play. In this case, the player was William "Pudge" Heffelfinger, a Yale alumnus who played for the AAA.

In the years following the first professional player, there were several attempts to get an official professional football league off the ground. In 1902 there was even one called the National Football League, ironically with teams of Philadelphia baseball players. But there wasn&apost much money or fanfare, and the league was soon gone.

Other local leagues popped up with varying degrees of success. One was the Ohio League, known for having world-class athlete Jim Thorpe on the Canton Bulldogs. Football was rising in popularity, but the lack of organization was stifling it from growing further. Sensing this, owners of several Ohio League teams like Bulldogs and the Akron Pros met for an organizational meeting that led to the decision to start a new league.

The owners held a second meeting, this time bringing in additional teams from New York, Indiana and Illinois. These owners all decided on a name: the American Professional Football Association. They named Jim Thorpe the President. These were the founders of the league that would become the NFL.

1920s: American Professional Football Association

The teams from the meetings that would be some of the first AFPA teams were:

  • Akron Pros
  • Canton Bulldogs
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Dayton Triangles
  • Decatur Staleys
  • Hammond Pros
  • Muncie Flyers
  • Racine Cardinals
  • Rochester Jeffersons
  • Rock Island Independents

Prior to the start of the American Professional Football Association&aposs first season, four other teams joined the league:

  • Buffalo All-Americans
  • Chicago Tigers
  • Columbus Panhandles
  • Detroit Heralds

Despite 14 teams in the league, the AFPA did not keep standings for the season. There were no playoffs. At the end of the season, the association awarded the championship to the Akron Pros, who went undefeated and had਎ight wins - despite the Buffalo All-Americans having nineਊnd the Decatur Staleys having 10.

This lack of organization became a running theme, and the lack of a playoff system made the championship all the more controversial. In 1921, a game that was meant to be merely an exhibition game turned into a tiebreaker between Buffalo and the now-Chicago Staleys that led to Chicago being named the league champions. An established playoff system was still a decade away.

Throughout the 20s, more teams were added to the AFPA, some of whom਎nded up becoming teams that still exist to this day. The Green Bay Packers joined in 1921, and the New York Giants in 1925. These teams, along with the Cardinals (now in Arizona) and the Staleys (now the Chicago Bears), are still NFL teams.

It was in 1922 that the AFPA rebranded and became the National Football League. It has not changed since.

The league continued to expand, and teams like the Canton Bulldogs, the Frankford Yellow Jackets and the Providence Steam Roller all won championships. But the NFL wasn&apost gaining fans as rapidly as it wanted, in no small part due to how localized the league was to the northeast and Midwest.

1930s-40s: The First Playoffs and New Teams

1932 changed the NFL and the way championships were awarded. At the time, the champion would be the team with the highest winning percentage, but the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans finished the season tied for first. With no additional tiebreakers available, the league reversed a long-time rule against playoff games and held the first NFL Championship Game. The Bears won, 9-0.

With a playoff game leading to a successful ending to the season, the league overhauled its system in 1933, separating itself from both its past and college football. Now the teams in the league were divided into divisions, the Eastern Division and Western Division (though the league was still so localized that the westernmost teams were in the Midwest). This now-familiar format was a success, and the division winners (New York Giants and Chicago Bears) met in the Championship Game, which the Bears won 23-21.

This new structure was a massive success, and with playoff runs to follow, fans caught on. Teams began to change as well. Some teams from the 20s and 30s fell off and disappeared from the NFL entirely, while others popped up in their wake - also on the East Coast and in the Midwest - and found themselves competing. The teams in NFL Championship Games in the 30s and 40s may look familiar. Not just the Bears and Giants, but the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins too.

A burgeoning sport, the NFL finally moved out west in 1946 when Cleveland Rams owner Dan Reeves threatened to leave football entirely if the league wouldn&apost let him relocate the team to Los Angeles. He relented, and by 1949 the Los Angeles Rams were in a Championship Game. The sport was expanding nationally.

1940s-50s: Integration in the NFL

Segregation in the NFL isn&apost discussed as much as segregation in baseball. But the mid-1930s into the 40s saw no black players in the league, a time of complete segregation in the NFL.

The first team to make strides toward ending segregation was the now-Los Angeles Rams, albeit by force: Plessy v. Ferguson meant the L.A. Coliseum couldn&apost lease their stadium to a team that was completely segregated. Thus, in 1946 they signed former UCLA star Kenny Washington in March, and Woody Strode in May.

Other NFL teams were slow to integrate their rosters. On the other hand, most of the teams in the All-America Football Conference had managed to integrate their teams in the late 40s. The AAFC later shut down and folded 3 teams into the NFL: the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers.

Most teams had begun integrating slowly by the early 50s. The exception, to no one&aposs surprise, was the Washington Redskins. Washington owner George Marshall, a man literally known for being racist more than anything else, steadfastly refused to sign or draft black players. This extended all the way until 1962, when Stewart Udall - the secretary of the interior for most of the 1960s - threatened to revoke the team&aposs lease on the stadium, effectively evicting them. Marshall was forced to relent.

The 50s were a great time for the league. Integration, expansion and impressive championship runs from teams like the Lions and Browns helped increase popularity at a time when baseball fans were growing bored of the constant Yankees World Series victories. Football was becoming the popular new sport.

1960s: The AFL, the First Super Bowl and the Merger

The NFL also started facing competition from other leagues. In the 50s, after a failed attempt to buy an NFL team and bring them to Dallas, oil heir Lamar Hunt formulated plans to create a rival football league. The first official meeting between Hunt and other owners took place in August 1959, and by November the American Football League (AFL) had its first draft.

One owner left before the league could start as the NFL approved their team in Minnesota, but in 1960 the league had a television contract and 8 teams:

  • Boston Patriots
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Dallas Texans
  • Denver Broncos
  • Houston Oilers
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • New York Titans
  • Oakland Raiders

In the first few years, the AFL had middling success and didn&apost pose much of a threat to the NFL. But they did well enough to, in 1964, sign a new and better TV contract with NBC. This lucrative deal meant more money for the league, and suddenly teams had the funds to compete with the NFL for players. The most noteworthy of these players was Joe Namath, who was drafted by the Cardinals in the NFL and the New York Jets (formerly the titans) in the AFL and chose to sign with the Jets.

The AFL became more popular, and the leagues essentially found themselves in bidding wars, trying to outbid the other for draft picks and even trying to poach players from opposing leagues. Dallas Cowboys owner Tex Schramm approached Lamar Hunt about a potential merger.

A series of secret meetings hammered out the details of the merger, and in June of 1966, the AFL-NFL merger was officially announced. The combined leagues had 24 teams (including newly formed NFL expansion teams Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins) and per the merger would expand to 26 teams by 1968 (which ended up being the New Orleans Saints and Cincinnati Bengals) and 28 teams by 1970 or "soon thereafter" (these teams ended up being the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

Another part of the agreement was that while the AFL and NFL would play separate regular season schedules up to 1969, at the end of the season the league champions would play an "AFL-NFL World Championship Game." This was the first iteration of the Super Bowl. The NFL had the easy upper hand in the first two, as the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, respectively.

In Super Bowl III, however, the AFL established itself as a league that could compete with the best. Led by the aforementioned Joe Namath, the New York Jets pulled off a huge upset against the Baltimore Colts, who had been favored by a whopping 18 points.

1970s: Rise in Popularity and the First Super Bowl Era Dynasties

The merger had now allowed for the NFL and AFL to be combined into one NFL. The Colts, Browns and Steelers of the NFL agreed to, with the 10 existing AFL teams, become the American Football Conference (AFC), while the remaining NFL teams were the National Football Conference (NFC).

It&aposs the 1970s where the NFL began to take shape into what it is today. Seattle and Tampa Bay were added as teams. The Boston Patriots became the New England Patriots. And the Super Bowl became a much bigger deal, thanks to several teams becoming dominating powerhouses, terrorizing the league and making the Super Bowl on multiple occasions.

From 1970-79, the Dallas Cowboys went to five Super Bowls, winning two. The Pittsburgh Steelers went to and won three Super Bowls (and a fourth in January of 1980). The Minnesota Vikings went toਏour Super Bowls - though they lost all four.

The Miami Dolphins also went to three straight Super Bowls and won two of them in the 1970s. Not as many as the previously mentioned team, but the Dolphins also did something none of those teams accomplished: the perfect season. A 14-0 regular season in 1972, two playoff wins to clinch the AFC and a Super Bowl win over Washington meant they were 17-0 with a championship. Only one team since has had an undefeated regular season they&aposre still the only undefeated championship team.

1980s-90s: USFL Competition, Free Agency and the Franchise Tag

The NFL was now an institution, and by the 80s the Super Bowl was regularly getting over 80 million television viewers. As such, it was time for some more millionaires to try and compete with it.

The United States Football League (USFL) lasted for three seasons, and perhaps could have lasted longer if not for its hubris. Beginning in 1983, the USFL played their games in the spring instead of the fall, and rosters boasted players such as future NFLers and Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Steve Young.

But the owners, led by New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump, made the decision to move their games to the fall in an attempt to directly compete with the NFL. A big part of this was filing an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL that alleged that the NFL had established a monopoly that pressured major television networks into not broadcasting fall USFL games.

The jury, after deliberation, found that the NFL did have a monopoly, but did not find it to be at fault for the USFL&aposs problem. As such, the USFL technically won its case but was awarded just one dollar of the $1.7 billion it sought. The league folded soon after.

The NFL, meanwhile, continued to thrive. The dynasties of the 70s were replaced by that of the San Francisco 49ers. The Chicago Bears and New York Giants, two of the oldest NFL franchises, used legendary defenses to get their first Super Bowl championships.

Another team of the 80s and 90s that thrived was the Denver Broncos, thanks to their star quarterback John Elway. Elway&aposs Broncos went to five Super Bowls, winning the last two. He was also an important part of what we know as modern free agency in football.򠫌ording to Sports Illustrated, when negotiations were going on to establish what free agency would look like, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen&aposs fear of losing his quarterback led to what is now known as the "franchise tag," where a team was permitted to choose one player per free agency season that they could "tag" and give a hefty one-year contract to - with the hopes of a long-term deal beyond that year getting finalized.

2000s: The Patriots Dynasty and the Goodell Era

The 2000s saw a dynasty that still exists in the NFL nearly two decades after their first Super Bowl victory - the New England Patriots.

The Patriots had been to just two Super Bowls prior to the 21st century, losing to the Bears in the 80s and the Packers in the 90s. Bill Belichick&aposs Patriots weren&apost expected to dominate at all, but an injury to starting QB Drew Bledsoe in 2001 led to second-year quarterback Tom Brady taking over. A solid year for the young Brady and a good defense led them to a massive upset over the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl that season Brady was named MVP of that Super Bowl.

Two years later, they won again. The year after that, they won again. Suddenly the Patriots were an undeniable dynasty, with three Super Bowl championships in four years. With Brady at the helm, Belichick created elite teams and developed a reputation as an all-time great coach. This culminated in the first ever undefeated 16-game season, which the Patriots achieved in 2007 thanks to a record-breaking year from Brady. But an upset by the New York Giants in Super Bowl 42 left them without a title to show for their effort.

Since 2001, the Patriots have been in਎ight Super Bowls, winning five.

The other big change for the NFL in the 2000s was at the commissioner&aposs office. In the middle of the decade, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced his retirement. In August of 2006, the NFL owners voted to make Roger Goodell, a longtime NFL employee, the new commissioner.

Goodell inherited a cultural and media juggernaut. In Tagliabue&aposs tenure, the NFL grew exponentially, and the one attempt at a new football league during that time, the XFL, was roundly mocked and lasted just one season. He was now commissioner of arguably the biggest professional sports league in America.

Present Day

Since Goodell took over, the NFL has continued to thrive, albeit with declining ratings in line with the decline of all television ratings. But his NFL has also been riddled with controversies and public relations nightmares. A few of those include:

  • The 2011 NFL lockout, the first labor dispute the league had since 1987. The lockout lasted 18 weeks.
  • The 2012 referee lockout, where a labor dispute led to the NFL starting the season with replacement referees. Blown calls throughout the first 3 weeks of the season embarrassed the league and energized contract negotiations that led to increased wages and a 401(k).
  • "Deflategate," a scandal about whether Tom Brady was aware of Patriots employees deflating footballs. The NFL suspended Brady forਏour games, a decision that got reversed by the U.S. District Court - and then reinstated by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • Punishments for domestic abuse allegations by NFL players that many deemed insufficient, stemming from a two-game suspension to Ravens running back Ray Rice after being charged with assault. When a graphic video of the assault surfaced, Rice was cut by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended by Goodell.
  • Goodell&apossਊnd the NFL owners&apos inability to address players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality in a way that did not make things more controversial, particularly when they voted on a policy requiring players to either stand for the anthem or star in the locker room without consulting the NFLPA. Not long after, the NFL announced that there would not be a new rule regarding the anthem.

Despite these controversies, the NFL remains a powerhouse in American sports.


The Birth of the National Football League - HISTORY

In the world today there is a lot of different kinds of sports. Most popular to us Americans is probably baseball, basketball, and football. The one thatpeople enjoy watching is probably football. People of all ages like to watch this game, mostly because of the incessant body contact. One will get excited when there is an unbelievable play or a spectacular hit. Football like Classic Rock got popular right when it started. It is an exciting game when it started and will remain exciting in the future. .

The game of football came from soccer. A man name Walter Camp from.

Yale University saw his college team playing soccer and the rest is history. In themid 1800s the first resembling present day football game was played. It was on November 6, 1869. McGill University from Montreal, Canada played against.

Harvard University. Football was only play in the eastern United States untill itgot popular in 1880. It then spread all over the U.S.A. That"s why now there isthe National Football League.

In order to score points a team must advance the ball down the field. Thereare two main ways for a team to do that. Either by throwing or running the ball. A quarterback can throw the ball to a receiver that is down field. The quarterback is not the only passer. Anybody on the team can become the passer. A play that tells this is call the flick flicker. It is when the quarterback pitch the ball back to the runningback. He then feigns to throw, and draws all the defense to him. That makes a receiver open to throw to. Most of the running is done by the runningback. Running is not as effective as throwing, but if there is a opening he can run all the way. Running like throwing can be done by anyone.

In football there is three ways of scoring. A touchdown, field goal, and a safety. A touchdown is mostly scored by the offense. To score, a team needs to run or catch a pass over the opposing team"s goal line.


National Football League

The National Football League can trace its history back to the late nineteenth century when Yale All-American guard William Heffelfinger was paid $500 to play against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club. This makes Heffelfinger the first paid professional football player in the United States. Football remained mostly out of the national eye prior to the 1920s during the 1910s, American football was a regional sport with no formal league authority. One of the more prominent divisions was the Ohio League, which attracted acclaimed athletes including Jim Thorpe. As football became a more popular sport, attempts to form a national league began. When World War I began, the sport was sidelined. With many players entering into the armed forces, organizations either had to cut down on players or abandon the team altogether. Some teams decided to start drafting the remaining players who stayed stateside. This national recruiting of displaced players started the development of a national league. There were two main areas where larger, multi-state teams were focused: the Eastern Seaboard and the Midwestern region. Private businesses and individual communities began to sponsor these teams, seeing potential for a profitable market. As football rose in popularity, local teams became a source of pride for the businesses and towns.

The first major attempt to unify the various professional football teams occurred in 1920, with the formation of the American Professional Football Association. The league was founded in Canton, Ohio, where five of the teams originated. Founders organized the calendar into an eleven-game schedule with a champion declared at the end of each season, and also struck an agreement on player poaching. The league’s roster included: the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Tigers, the Dayton Triangles, the Akron Professionals, the Rochester (NY) Jeffersons, the Rock Island Independents, the Muncie Flyers, the Decatur Staleys, the Chicago Cardinals, the Buffalo All-Americans, the Chicago Tigers, the Columbus Panhandles, the Detroit Heralds, and the Hammond Pros. The American Professional Football Association’s first president was Jim Thorpe, who played and coached for the Canton Bulldogs during the 1910s. Under Thorpe's leadership, the Bulldogs were the unofficial world champions in 1916, 1917, and 1919. His contributions to the game led him to become the highest-paid player in the league during its early years. Thorpe retired as a player from professional football in 1928 while he played for the Chicago Cardinals.

In 1922, the American Professional Football Association officially changed its name to the National Football League. In the league’s early decades, there was an inconsistent turnover of teams. Numerous communities attempted team sponsorship, but quickly realized that they could not cover the expenses required of a sponsor. Additionally, teams frequently moved, lured away by other communities that offered more lucrative financial deals. During this era in football history, Ohio became home to many different teams including:

· Canton Bulldogs (1920-1923, 1926)

· Cleveland Tigers (1920-1921)

· Akron Professionals (1920-1926)

· Dayton Triangles (1920-1929)

· Columbus Panhandles (1920-1922)

· Cincinnati Celts (1921-1921)

· Marion Oorang Indians (1922-1923)

· Columbus Tigers (1923-1924) (1926-1926)

· Cleveland Indians (1923-1923) (1931-1931)

· Cleveland Bulldogs (1924-1925) (1927-1927)

· Portsmouth Spartans (1930-1934)

· Cleveland Browns (1949-1996) (1999-present)

· Cincinnati Bengals (1968-present)

Because of Ohio's prominent role in professional football, the National Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio, where the league began in 1920.


National Football League (Dixie Forever)

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the Western Football Conference (WFC). The NFL is one of the five major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 18-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 18 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference (four division winners and two wild card teams) advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Union Bowl (called Yankee Bowl in the Confederate States), which is usually held in the last Sunday in January, and then the winner of the Dixie Bowl and the Yankee Bowl compete on the first Sunday in February which is played between the champions of the UFC and CFC.

The NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the Western Football League (WFL) in 1966, and the first Union Bowl was held at the end of that season the merger was completed in 1970. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States. The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top Five tally of the all-time most watched U.S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.

The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with 13 (nine NFL titles before the Super Bowl era and four Super Bowl championships afterwards) the team with the most Super Bowl championships is the Pittsburgh Steelers with six. The current NFL champions are the Philadelphia Eagles, who defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, their first Super Bowl championship after winning three NFL titles before the Super Bowl era.


The History of the American and National League, Part I

Baseball’s history is rich and complex, full of colorful characters, timeless moments and tremendous achievements. It is the story of racism and redemption, doctored balls and labor strikes, players and owners, victory and defeat. Just like the sport itself, baseball’s history has been both unpredictable and bound by cause-and-effect.

In order to appreciate where the sport of baseball is in the year 2008, we need to understand appreciate the past. In the coming weeks, I will provide a cursory overview of various aspects of baseball’s history, starting today with Expansion, Part I.

At the end of this series, I will provide some suggestions for books to read if you are interested. These posts will barely scratch the surface of what happened and why, and it behooves anyone truly interested in America’s national past time to dig into more depth.

NOTE: Part II can be found here.

The Origin of the National and American Leagues

Success breeds imitation. And throughout its history, baseball was awfully successful.

The National League was formed in 1876. Because this was successful, the American Association was created in 1881 to compete with the NL. In order to attract fans, the AA instituted several policies that the NL lacked: they played games on Sundays and they sold beer at the ballpark. They also undercut the NL, charging 25 cents for admission, rather than 50 cents. The AA also began to compete for players with the NL.

In 1884, the Union Association was formed, but only lasted one year. Then, in 1890, the Players League began, but also only lasted one year. However, the existence of the Players League had a residual effect on the longer-standing leagues: namely, the Players League contributed to the demise of the American Association in 1891. The AA had been consistently weaker than the NL during its ten-year existence, causing some of the stronger AA teams to make the jump over to the NL. The PL stole additional players from the AA and undercut its ticket prices, causing it to finally fold.

As the AA got weaker, the NL expanded. During the last three years of the AA’s existence, eight AA teams jumped to the NL. Four of those teams remain to this day: the Cardinals, Dodgers, Pirates and Reds. After the AA folded, the National League became a 12-team monopoly that lasted into the early 1900s.

By 1900, the 12-team circuit wasn’t working. Attendance was highly concentrated in only seven cities, and there were too many consistently bad teams, lessening excitement (and attendance) towards the end of the season. The owners got together and decided to reduce the league to eight teams. Thus, teams in Baltimore, Cleveland, Louisville and Washington were eliminated, leaving the following teams:

Boston Beaneaters, Brooklyn Superbas, Chicago Orphans, Cincinnati Reds, New York Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St Louis Perfectos.

When the NL reduced its teams, a minor league called the Western League saw an opportunity. In 1899, Bancroft Johnson, commissioner of the Western League, renamed his league the American League. In 1901 – the year after the NL contracted four teams – the American League removed itself from the National Agreement (the understanding between the National League and the various minor league circuits) and declared itself to be a Major League, alongside the National League. They also expanded, placing teams into three of the four cities that had lost their NL team – Baltimore, Cleveland, and Washington – as well as placing some teams into cities that already had an NL team – Boston, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The original American League consisted of the following teams:

Baltimore Orioles, Boston Americans, Chicago White Stockings, Cleveland Blues, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Athletics, and Washington Senators.

The National League was furious. They tried to push aside the upstart AL and regain their profitable monopoly. However, it soon became apparent that the AL wasn’t going anywhere, and, in true American fashion, the NL realized that if they couldn’t beat the AL, they should join them. In 1903 the two leagues signed a new version of the National Agreement, under which they agreed that they would each be a major league, and their champions would play each other in the World Series (a fantastic marketing and profit opportunity for the two leagues).

Thus, starting in 1903, the United States featured two eight-team baseball leagues: the American and National Leagues, whose winners would play each other in the World Series. And that remained intact for 50 years.

Bill Veeck would change all of that.

In 1951, Veeck purchased the St Louis Browns (originally the Milwaukee Brewers, they moved to St Louis and were re-named the Browns in 1902). Veeck, the former owner of the Cleveland Indians, was known for his various stunts. Perhaps his best-known stunt involved signing Eddie Gaedel, who was three-feet, seven inches tall. Gaedel had one at bat in his career, during which he donned a uniform with the number “1/8” and wore elf-life slippers with the ends turned up. Gaedel walked on four straight pitches, and was promptly replaced by a pinch runner. Infuriated at the affront to the sanctity of the game, American League president Will Harridge immediately voided Gaedel’s contract, leaving him with a perfect 1.000 career on-base percentage (as a direct result of this incident, the commissioner of baseball must now approve all player contracts). Needless to say, Veeck was not held in high esteem by the other owners.

When he purchased the Browns, Veeck believed that the city of St. Louis was too small for two teams, and he hoped to push out the struggling Cardinals. However, the Cardinals were soon bought by August Busch Jr., the president of Anheuser-Busch, who announced that he had no intentions of moving the Cardinals. Therefore, Veeck decided that he wanted to move the Browns.

Veeck first tried to move back to the Browns’ original city, Milwaukee, but he was blocked by the other owners. He then tried to move to Baltimore, but was again blocked by the owners. Lacking leverage, he was forced to sell the team to a Baltimore-based group. With Veeck out of the picture, the other owners approved the Browns’ move to Baltimore (foreshadowing a contentious move of a football Browns team to Baltimore decades later) in 1954. The period of stability in the AL and NL was over.

In 1950, real-estate businessman Walter O’Malley acquired a majority stake in the Brooklyn Dodgers. Before long, he began to look for an improvement over the Dodgers home, Ebbets Field, which was built in 1913 and had become old and dilapidated by the 1950s. New York City Construction Coordinator Robert Moses wanted O’Malley to use a site in Flushing Meadows, Queens, for his new ballpark. Moses envisioned a city-built, city-owned park, but O’Malley wanted nothing of the sort. When it became clear that O’Malley was not going to find any suitable land in Brooklyn, he began looking elsewhere.

World War II had been over for less than a decade when O’Malley purchased the Dodgers. The war had been the first to involve an air force, as technology had become sophisticated enough to build a fleet of fighter jets. It wasn’t long until the technology allowed commercial flights as well. Sure enough, in 1952, the first commercial jet – the de Havilland Comet – was introduced. The Boeing 707 was introduced not long after, and was the first widely successful commercial jet, signaling the beginning of air travel in the United States.

Thus, it is not a coincidence that talk of expanding baseball westward began to pick up steam after the war. Officials in Los Angeles had been actively lobbying for a major league team, and with the advent of the jet, transcontinental travel was cheaper and faster than ever before. When it became known that O’Malley was looking for land outside of Brooklyn, Los Angeles quickly offered him a plot on which to build a park.

However, it would be impractical to move only one team across the country. If Major League baseball was truly going to expand out west, they would need at least two teams. At the same time that O’Malley was offered land in Los Angeles, New York Giants owner Horace Stoneham was looking for a replacement for his stadium, the Polo Grounds (which had opened in 1890 and was extensively renovated in 1911 after a fire). Stoneham also began to consider options outside of New York – the Giants had a minor league team in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Stoneham considered moving his Giants to Minnesota. However, O’Malley then approached Stoneham with an idea: why not move west?

The mayor of San Francisco was excited about the opportunity to have a major league team, and provided Stoneham with the necessary land for a ballpark. It was settled: O’Malley and Stoneham would move their teams to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively. The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants met on opening day of 1958 in Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, signaling the beginning of a new and busy era of expansion and movement in baseball.

The Continental League

New York State Attorney William Shea was not happy about losing two of his state’s three teams to California. Shea tried to get another Major League team in New York, either via expansion or by moving an existing team. However, his efforts were to no avail. Then, in November of 1958, he had an idea: create a third Major League, the Continental League. He named Branch Rickey president (to give the league some credibility), and the Continental League was formally announced in 1959. Teams were going to be created in Denver, Houston, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Toronto, and, of course, New York City. Three additional teams were expected, thus making it an eight-team league, a la the AL and NL.

As you might imagine, Major League baseball was not happy with this idea. They had enjoyed a very prosperous monopoly for over 50 years besides, history had shown that three major leagues didn’t work. Major League baseball came up with a compromise: it announced that for the first time since the American League had joined the National League back in 1903, it would expand. Both the AL and NL decided to add two new teams to their ranks, with priority given to cities that did not already have a team. However, the National League also extended an invitation to the owners of New York’s Continental League team to join the National League instead. When they accepted, Shea finally got his wish, and it more or less officially killed the Continental League.

The American League expanded in 1961, adding the Washington Senators (the previous Senators team had moved to Minnesota and were re-named the Minnesota Twins in 1961) and Anaheim Angels, giving baseball more of a presence out west.

The National League expanded in 1962, adding the Houston Colt .45s along with the New York Mets (incidentally, the Mets paid homage to their New York predecessors with an orange “NY” from the Giants logo on a Dodger-blue cap) .
There were also several teams that moved in the 1950s, besides the St. Louis Browns. In 1953, the Boston Braves moved to Milwaukee and in 1955, the Philadelphia Athletics moved to Kansas City. As the country expanded west and small cities grew larger, so did major league baseball expand and grow as well.

At the beginning of the 1962 season, Major League baseball looked like this:


The Birth of the National Football League - HISTORY

National Football League

General Comments

The images for historical NFL helmets illustrated on the various pages for each division are based heavily on information derived from one particular web site, 'Mike Stanhope's NFL Helmet page' (site appears to no longer exist as of 2020) and were mostly done in the period 1999- 2000. The dates of use for each helmet and the accompanying comments are also derived primarily from this source, which appears to have been very carefully researched and which I believe to be highly accurate, though I have made a number of additions through the years and have found a small number of apparent errors. Helmets for teams that have changed names or have been relocated are placed in the section for the franchise's current name (i.e, the Houston Oilers helmets are placed in the Tennessee Titans section on the AFC South page), with the exception of the Cleveland Browns.

Please click on the links below to see the page for each NFL division.

NFL History

The links below will open new browser windows presenting lists of NFL Super Bowl, Conference, and Divisional champions in "Helmet Project" format. The Super Bowl and Conference champions are listed since the first Super Bowl game the Divisional champions are listed back to 1970, the first year of the NFL's six-division format and of the AFL-NFL merger. The years listed refer to the football season in question, rather than the dates when the championship game was played (for example, "2017" is listed for the Philadelphia Eagles' recent Super Bowl victory (played in 2018), which occurred at the end of the 2017 football season).

After careful consideration, I elected to display the current helmet for each team on these pages, rather than the one used by the team during the year listed, to more clearly illustrate the ebb and flow of power among the teams through the years. The use of multiple helmets for each team in such a display would interfere with the eye's ability to grasp the underlying patterns, such as the prolonged dominance of a small number of teams in the 1970s, and the emergence of great parity since about 1990. Besides, you can always see what helmet design team X wore in year XXXX on the divisional pages at the links further up on this page.

The Pro Bowl

At the end of each NFL season since 1939, the league has held an exhibition game featuring the players deemed to have excelled during the previous season. Prior to the 1970 football season, the Pro Bowl was a game between teams representing the league's Eastern and Western Conferences from 1970 to 2012, and from 2016 to present the two teams have represented the American Conference and the National Conference. From 2013 through 2015, the Pro Bowl was contested by two teams drafted by Hall of Fame NFL players, without regard to conference or NFL team (for example, the 2013 game was "Team [Jerry] Rice" vs "Team [Deion] Sanders").

Apparently from the game played January 29, 1979 to present (including the "non-conferenced" teams of the 2013 - 2015 years), the players selected for the Pro Bowl game have worn the helmets of their respective NFL teams during the game, but prior to 1979, a single helmet design was used by all players on each team. Six pairs of helmet designs used during the period 1960 through 1978 have been identified (those shown below). Some of the discrepancies related to the dates of use of these designs may be due to the fact that the Pro Bowl game played in January of Year X is often referred to as the "(Year X-1) Pro Bowl".


Watch the video: Δημήτρης Σαραβάκος - Ένα Διαμάντι του Ελληνικού Ποδοσφαίρου (August 2022).