The NFL’s History
The NFL’s history dates back to when American football first became a professional sport in 1892, two players were paid large amounts of money to participate in the Allegheny Athletic Association of the Western Pennsylvania Senior Independent Football Conference.
As American football became more professionalized through the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was essentially played as a regional sport. Games primarily took place within state lines or regions and it was very seldom that games were played outside state lines. Over the years various attempts to build national leagues or tournaments failed but by the late 1910’s various levels of organizations merged within the regional teams, which was a turning point in NFL history.
The most noticeable of them was the Ohio League and the New York Pro Championship. Members of both regional leagues, amongst others, began talks to form a national league but plans were hampered by America’s entry in the First World War and later a flu pandemic. Regional leagues suspended their services or continued by picking up star players that had remained in the country. Eventually two interstate tours were formed, one around the Eastern seaboard and the other around the Midwest region.
The Birth of the National Football League
It was with the development of the interstate tours that saw the birth of the original National Football League which was first known as the American Professional Football Conference. The league was formed on the 20th of August 1920 and initially only consisted of Ohio League teams.
On September the 17th the name of the league was changed to the American Professional Football Association and teams from New York and other nearby regions were added. The initial teams of the league decided against player poaching and declared a final championship for the end of each season. More teams joined the league over time and on the 24th of June 1922 the name was changed one final time to the National Football League.
National Football League through the Decades
Through the 1920’s and the 1930’s the National Football League became a more formal organization. Early championships were awarded to teams who had the best winning records. The first game to be televised in NFL history was on the 22nd of October 1939. From 1927 the league stopped signing black players but after the Second World War they were reintegrated.
Additional changes occurred after the war, which led to the league growing in strength. The league was firm becoming one of the best sports leagues by 1958 when the season’s championship game became known as the greatest game ever played in NFL history. In 1960 the American Football League formed to rival the NFL. Both leagues eventually agreed to a merger which saw the birth of the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl has since gone down in American and NFL history as the most watched sporting event ever.
The merger also saw the expansion of the league which has expanded to the current number of teams. American football is now rated the most popular spectator sport ever and the National Football League has become a multi-billion dollar organization which has come far since its humble beginnings.