National Football League (NFL)
Category: Sport History
National Football League (NFL) has a long history that dates to 1892. This was after former Yale All American guard William was paid to play in a game against Pittsburgh Athletic Club thus making him the first professional football player.
The birth of NFL was in 1922 after a 1920 formation of American Professional Football Association (APFA). The APFA had 10 teams from four states. It just lasted for two seasons where it paved way to NFL. In NFL only two teams that are among the founding members are in existence.
There were destabilizations in the league members until in 1930’s where the league stabilized. This was followed by the first champions’ league in 1933. Before this back in 1927 the league had stopped signing in new players back in 1927 where it resumed signings after war world II in 1946.
After the world war so many changes were made. The office of the president was more powerful and the teams were slowly becoming financially stable. This brought fame to the NFL until in 1960 where AFL (American Football League) was formed.
The AFL was formed by minority members of NFL who were known as foolish club after failing to buy the NFL. They surely proved to be the biggest competitors to date. The rivalry between the two competitors was visible where they would struggle and fight over signing of players. Several players like the likes of Joe Naman signed in with the AFL instead of NFL as it would have been expected.
Due to these critical competitions among the two clubs, several NFL franchise led by their General Manager Tex Schramm decided to head talks on the merge possibility. The agreement was brokered by Schramm and AFL founder Lamar Hunt in 1966. This is was the end of the World Champions league between the two leagues and of course the Super Bowl.
After the agreement the NFL dropped most of the AFL requirements and adapted some of their own. They changed the names on the jerseys, started recruiting from black colleges and sharing of some television revenues.
Though the Vietnam War followed after, this did not affect the league so much. The players were not signed to play overseas and only one of AFL who died on war when he went to serve in Vietnam. He became the first player to die while in his playing career.
In recent years around 1970 – 80’s NFL became a household name. Here it became the most highly sport to be watched.
However, there was another league that was formed and became more challenging. United States Football League was financially able and had big players and could afford a national television contract. But as fate would be they could not make enough money and folded after three year. The tried to file an anti-trust lawsuit against NFL which failed under no mismanagement and this led to the collapse of the league.
The growth has been experienced over the years and the NFL has expanded to other countries outside US.