All-America Football Conference (1946–49)
National Football League (1950–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.
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.
The All-America Football Conference (AAFC) was a professional American football league that challenged the established National Football League (NFL) from 1946 to 1949. One of the NFL's most formidable challengers, the AAFC attracted many of the nation's best players, and introduced many lasting innovations to the game. However, the AAFC was ultimately unable to sustain itself in competition with the NFL. Three of its teams were admitted to the NFL: San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Colts (not related to the later NFL team that would play in Baltimore from 1953 through 1983, now the Indianapolis Colts).
The AAFC was the second American professional sports league (the first being the third American Football League) to have its teams play in a double round robin format in the regular season: each team had a home game and an away game with each of its AAFC fellow foes.
The Bills Toronto Series is a deal consisting of a series of National Football League games featuring the Buffalo Bills played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The series began in the 2008 season and expired in 2012, though the deal was later renewed for five years on January 29, 2013. The Bills were originally scheduled to play eight (later reduced to seven) home games over five seasons as part of the agreement, which included one regular-season game each of the 5 years and one pre-season game on the 1st, 3rd and (originally) 5th year of the series. This includes the first regular-season NFL game played in Canada which the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins.
The league has approved one additional Toronto home game for the Bills each season through 2017, should the parties come to an agreement on an extension, and the terms of the current lease on Ralph Wilson Stadium (agreed upon in principle in December 2012) also allow for one regular season game throughout the terms of the contract for the purposes of extending the series. The series was conceived by a group that includes Bills owner Ralph Wilson, the late Ted Rogers of Rogers Communications and Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment.
ESPN on ABC (formerly known as ABC Sports) is the brand used for sports programming on the ABC television network. Officially the broadcast network retains its own sports division; however, for all practical purposes, ABC's sports division has been merged with ESPN, a sports cable network majority owned by ABC's corporate parent, The Walt Disney Company.
ABC broadcasts use ESPN's production and announcing staff, and incorporate elements such as ESPN-branded on-screen graphics, SportsCenter in-game updates, and the BottomLine ticker. The ABC logo is used for the digital on-screen graphic in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, and is also used for promotions so that viewers will know to tune into the broadcast network and not the ESPN cable channel.
Monday Night Football (MNF) is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From 1970 to 2005 it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest-running prime time commercial network television series ever, and one of the highest-rated, particularly among male viewers.
Monday Night Football can also be seen in Canada on TSN and RDS, and in most of Europe on ESPN America. On September 7, 2013, The NFL announced that British Eurosport would show Monday Night games live for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In most of Australia it airs on ESPN Australia, in Portugal on SportTV 3 and SportTV HD and on TV 2 Sport in Denmark, and in some other regions of the world outside the U.S. on ESPN International. A Spanish-language version airs on ESPN Deportes in the U.S. and on ESPN International in Latin America. The games are also made available on regular over-the-air television stations in each participating team's local market so that households without cable television can still see the telecast. Is also available in Portuguese on ESPN Brasil.
National Football League lore is a collection of information that NFL fans retain and share.
Since the NFL was founded in 1920 by George Halas and Bert Bell, it has grown from an informal network of teams based mostly in small towns and cities into the most popular and successful sports league in the United States. During the interval between its founding and the present, it has competed for attention with other sports and college football, fended off rival leagues, consolidated the marriage between sports and television, and established an extensive and colorful NFL lore. Largely through the efforts of NFL Films and many sportswriters, some events have become famous in the history of the sport.
American Football League (1960–1969)
National Football League (1970–present)