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 professional level of the sport 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 a nonprofit 501(c)(6) association. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner, who has broad authority in governing the league.
The Baltimore Colts, founded in 1953, played in the National Football League (NFL) from 1953 to 1983. The team was named the Colts for Baltimore's rich history of horse racing. The Colts franchise moved to Indianapolis between the 1983 and 1984 seasons.
National Football League (1953–present)
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National Football League (1996–present)
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The Band That Wouldn't Die is a sports documentary film released in 2009 and created and directed by Barry Levinson as a part of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. The film follows the story of Baltimore's Marching Ravens, a marching band that has supported three separate American football franchises since 1947 and witnessed the controversial relocation of the National Football League's (NFL) Baltimore Colts franchise to Indianapolis in 1984.
The marching band was founded on September 7, 1947 to support the Baltimore Colts of the All-America Football Conference. The team folded after the 1950 season, but the band continued to play together until a new Baltimore Colts franchise was founded in 1953 to play at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. The Colts relocated to Indianapolis on March 29, 1984, leaving the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band without a team once again. During the twelve-year period in which Baltimore had no football team, the marching band stayed together, continuing to practice every week in hopes that a new team would arrive. The band went to other stadiums to play, the first being Art Modell's Cleveland Browns—the future Baltimore Ravens—and also participated in events such as parades, playing the Baltimore Colts' Fight Song. When the Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1996 and became the Ravens, the band began to support the team, their third in the city. The Baltimore Colts' Marching Band retained their name until 1998, when they renamed themselves Baltimore's Marching Ravens.
The Baltimore Colts relocation to Indianapolis was a successful effort by then-Colts owner Robert Irsay to move the National Football League (NFL) team from Baltimore, Maryland to Indianapolis, Indiana completely unannounced and in the wee hours of March 29, 1984 after years of lobbying for a new stadium to replace the inadequate Memorial Stadium. The franchise's move continues to embitter many Baltimore natives decades afterward]dubious [, and would have a lasting impact on the NFL, including another controversial relocation twelve years later.