The Super Bowl is the annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL), the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather than the year in which it is held. For example, Super Bowl I was played on January 15, 1967, following the 1966 regular season, while Super Bowl XLVII was played on February 3, 2013, following the 2012 season.
The game was created as part of a merger agreement between the NFL and its then-rival league, the American Football League (AFL). It was agreed that the two leagues' champion teams would play in the AFL–NFL World Championship Game until the merger was to officially begin in 1970. After the merger, each league was redesignated as a "conference", and the game was then played between the conference champions. Currently, the National Football Conference (NFC) leads the league with 25 wins to 22 wins for the American Football Conference (AFC). The Pittsburgh Steelers hold the record for Super Bowl victories with six.
American Football League (1960–1969)
National Football League (1970–present)
American Football League (1968–1969)
National Football League (1970–present)
All-America Football Conference (1946–49)
National Football League (1950–present)
National Football League (2002–present)
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.
National Football League (1996–present)
The American Football League (AFL) was a major American Professional Football league that operated from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the National Football League (NFL). The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence.
The AFL was created by a number of owners who had been refused NFL expansion franchises or had minor shares of NFL franchises. The AFL's original lineup saw an Eastern division of the New York Titans, Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills and the Houston Oilers along with a Western division of the Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, and Dallas Texans. The league first gained attention by signing 75% of the NFL's first-round draft choices in 1960, including Houston's successful signing of All-American Billy Cannon.
The American Football Conference North Division, or AFC North, is a division of the National Football League's American Football Conference. It was created prior to the 1967 season as the NFL Century Division]citation needed[when the NFL split into four divisions. It became the AFC Central in 1970 following the completion of the AFL-NFL merger when two of the NFL Century teams—the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers—moved from the "old" NFL to join the former American Football League teams in the AFC, in order to give the two conferences an equal number of teams. The division adopted its current name in 2002, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. It is the only AFC division to be the successor to a former NFL division from 1967.
The AFC North currently has four members: the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The original four members of the AFC Central were the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans), the Browns, the Bengals and the Steelers. Dating back to the NFL Century's formation in 1967, only the Steelers have remained members for the division's entire history, due to most of the other teams either leaving for other divisions or joining later and the Browns failing to keep pace due to being out of the league for three years.
Below is a list of professional football championship games in the United States, involving:
Prior to 1920, no national professional football league existed, and play was scattered across semi-pro and professional leagues in the upper midwest. The first efforts at pro football championships were the World Series of Professional Football, featuring teams from and around New York City and the 1902 "National" Football League in Pennsylvania; two of the three "N"FL teams participated as one team in the World Series of Pro Football. The Ohio League and New York Pro Football League were two prominent regional associations in the 1910s (the NYPFL held an actual championship game in 1919). In 1920, teams from the Ohio League and New York Pro Football League, along with other midwestern teams, formalized into the American Professional Football Association (APFA); the league was later renamed the National Football League (NFL). The NFL conducted play for thirteen years before concocting a "championship game". From 1920 through 1932, league "champions" were determined by won-loss record, but the schedules and rules were so ill-defined that conflicts exist to this day over who the actual champions were. Some teams played more games than others; some played against college or semi-pro teams; some played after the season was over, some stopped play before a season was over. For example, in 1921, the Buffalo All-Americans disputed the Chicago Staleys' title, and in 1925, the Pottsville Maroons claimed the championship was theirs, not the Chicago Cardinals'.