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.
There is no single national governing body for American football in the United States or a continental governing body for North America. There is an international governing body, the International Federation of American Football, or IFAF, but it does not have much influence in American football in the United States. American football is the most popular sport in the United States, but does not get as much recognition around the world.
Befitting its status as a popular sport, football is played in leagues of different size, age and quality, in all regions of the country. Organized football is played almost exclusively by men and boys, although a few amateur and semi-professional women's leagues have begun play in recent years. A team / academy may be referred to as a 'football program' - not to be confused with football program.
National Football League (1967–present)
Black, Old Gold
National Football League (1920–present)
League championships (2)
American Football League (1968–1969)
National Football League (1970–present)
The NFC East is a division of the National Football League's National Football Conference. It currently has four members: the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Giants, the Dallas Cowboys, and the Washington Redskins.
The division was formed in 1967 as the National Football League Capitol Division, keeping with the theme of having all of the league's divisions starting with the letter "C." The division was so named because it was centered around the capital of the United States, Washington, DC. In 1967 and 1969 the teams in the NFL Capitol Division were Dallas, Philadelphia, Washington and the expansion New Orleans Saints, which had been replaced by the New York Giants for the 1968 season.
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 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.
1967 (As NFL Western Conference Central Division)
1970 (As NFC Central Division)
The NFC South is a division in the National Football Conference of the National Football League. It was created prior to the 2002 NFL season, when the league realigned divisions after expanding to 32 teams. The NFC South currently has four members: the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Prior to the 2002 season, the Buccaneers belonged to the AFC West (1976) and NFC Central (1977–2001), while the other three teams were part of the geographically inaccurate NFC West.
The NFC South is the only division since the 2002 realignment to have each of its teams make a conference championship game appearance: Tampa Bay (2002), Atlanta (2004 and 2012), Carolina (2003 and 2005), and New Orleans (2006 and 2009). The NFC South is the only division since the 2002 realignment to have each of its teams make a Super Bowl appearance: Atlanta, when they were in the NFC West Division, (XXXIII), Tampa Bay (XXXVII), Carolina (XXXVIII), and New Orleans (XLIV), with Tampa Bay and New Orleans being the only two teams to have won a Super Bowl. All four members of the NFC South have made postseason appearances before entering the division in 2002. Also since 2002, each team has won at least two division titles, the only such division in the league.