The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league composed of 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The highest level of professional football in the world, the NFL runs a 17-week regular season from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing sixteen games and having one bye week. Out of the league's 32 teams, six (four division winners and two wild-card teams) from each conference compete in the NFL playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The champions of the Super Bowl are awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy; various other awards exist to recognize individual players and coaches. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; some games are also played on Mondays and Thursdays during the regular season. There are games on Saturdays during the last few weeks of the regular season and the first two playoff weekends.
The NFL was formed on August 20, 1920, as the American Professional Football Conference; the league changed its name to the American Professional Football Association (APFA) on September 17, 1920, and changed its name to the National Football League on June 24, 1922, after spending the 1920 and 1921 seasons as the APFA. In 1966, the NFL agreed to merge with the rival American Football League (AFL), effective 1970; the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that same season in January 1967. 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 programs in American history. At the corporate level, the NFL is an nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.
American football (known as football in the United States and gridiron in some other countries) is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field 120 yards long by 53.33 yards wide with goalposts at each end. The offense attempts to advance an oval ball (the football) down the field by running with or passing it. They must advance it at least ten yards in four downs to receive a new set of four downs and continue the drive; if not, they turn over the football to the opposing team. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown, kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal or by the defense tackling the ball carrier in the offense's end zone for a safety. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sport of rugby football. The first game of American football was played on November 6, 1869 between two college teams, Rutgers and Princeton, under rules resembling rugby and soccer. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, eleven-player teams and the concept of downs, and later rule changes legalized the forward pass, created the neutral zone and specified the size and shape of the football.
Goal refers to a method of scoring in many sports. It can also refer to the physical structure or area of the playing surface where scoring occurs.
In several sports, a goal is the sole method of scoring, and thus the final score is expressed in the total number of goals scored by each team. In other sports, a goal may be one of several scoring methods, and thus may be worth a different set number of points than the others. A few of these sports use the term field goal to distinguish one scoring method from another.
Field goal range is the part of the field in American football where there is a good chance that a field goal attempt will be successful.
A field goal is normally 17 yards (7 yards in Canadian football) longer than the distance of the line of scrimmage to the goal line, as it includes the end zone (10 yards) and 7 yards in which the holder stands behind. In Canadian football, the goal posts are on the goal lines, in front of the end zones. Therefore, if the line of scrimmage is at the 30, the field goal would be 47 yards (in American football) or 37 yards (in Canadian football).
Stephen Carroll Gostkowski (pronounced "gust-OW-ski") (born January 28, 1984) is an American football placekicker for the New England Patriots of the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft with the 118th pick, one of just two kickers drafted, and the only rookie kicker to make an NFL roster that year.
Gostkowski, who played both college football and baseball for the University of Memphis, is the most accurate kicker in Patriots history, and one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. He is also a consistent and prolific scorer: he is only the second player in NFL history to score 500 points in his first four seasons in the league. Also, given the Patriots' propensity to find the end zone, Gostkowski holds the record for most extra points in one season, with 74 in 2007 (and the second highest total in NFL history, 66 in 2012).