A History Of The NFL: How It Has Changed Over The Years

Author: Jomathews


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The NFL has come a long way since its humble beginnings over a century ago. From being primarily an American sport played almost exclusively by men to become one of the most popular sports in the world, with both genders playing it and being televised all over the globe. Today, the league features some of the best athletes on earth, playing at breakneck speeds for fans from every corner of the globe. The modern-day NFL has seen its fair share of changes over time, with things like player safety, player conduct off the field, and even broadcast rights for games changing drastically over its history. One of the most significant changes in recent years has been the influx of younger players coming into the league who grew up in the digital age and were more familiar with gaming than any previous generation of players. While it might seem like a small change, it’s something that has made an impact on the league over time. This article will take you through a concise history of how this once-regional sport became what it is today.

 

Early Days: The 1920s - 1940s

 

Football has been played in the United States since the late 19th century, with the first game recorded taking place in 1869. The game was originally solely amateur, with many teams being composed of college students. It wasn't until the 1920s that the first semi-professional teams were formed. The first fully professional league wasn't formed until the late 1920s when the American Football League was formed. The AFL saw a handful of different teams compete across a short period before being dissolved due to financial instability. The next decade or so wasn't a great one for the sport: Several players were accused of being associated with gangs and other dubious groups, and many cities across the country banned the game completely. To compound matters, the Great Depression led to a significant decrease in attendance for the sport. The NFL wasn't formed until the late 1930s when the more popular teams at the time came together to form a new league. The NFL itself wasn't a great product, with many teams reporting low attendance figures and poor financial results.

 

Pro Football Reborn: The 1950s

 

The 1950s saw NFL Commissioner Bert Bell take the reins of the league, with his goal being to improve the league as a whole and bring the sport back to the mainstream. The decade saw significant rule changes, including the abolishment of the old "three yards and a cloud of dust" style of play. Instead, the league adopted a more modern approach towards playing, with rewritten rules designed to increase scoring and make the game a faster, more exciting spectacle. The decade saw the introduction of television to the NFL, which helped bring the league to the attention of a wider audience across the country. The decade also saw the first ever televised games, with each team having a single game broadcasted in the Eastern and Central Time Zones. Although the number of people who had access to a TV was still relatively small, this was a significant step forward for the league, which helped increase viewer numbers significantly over the following seasons.

 

A New Century, A New Game: The 1960s

 

The 1960s saw several significant changes to the game and the way that teams played. The first big change was the introduction of the first-ever playoff system for the league. This was significant for a couple of reasons: It meant that teams had something to play for after the regular season was over, and it also meant that a team who had a bad season could still make the playoffs (Chicago Bears, you may have noticed this feature in recent years). The decade also saw the introduction of the first-ever Super Bowl, a game that was designed to pit the best two teams in the league against each other to crown the champion of the season. The game was played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and saw the Green Bay Packers take on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers won the game 35-10, and it has gone on to be the most-watched single sporting event in the history of American television.

 

More Changes in the 1970s

 

The 1970s saw several significant rule changes (as you'd expect from a decade that saw the Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal), including the introduction of the two-point conversion (which was later removed) and the ability for teams to kick extra points from the 20-yard line instead of the 2-yard line (thankfully this was reverted). The decade also saw the first-ever salary cap introduced: A modest $550,000 cap that was split between all NFL teams. The cap has seen significant increases ever since and is now one of the biggest talking points for fans at the start of each new season. The 1970s also saw the NFL expand significantly with the addition of two new franchises: The Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.

 

1980 to 2000: The rise of the NFL as a brand

 

The 1980s saw the first-ever Super Bowl halftime show and the creation of the NFL Foundation, the league's charitable organization. The decade also saw the first-ever players' strike in the NFL: A dispute over the salary cap that resulted in the cancellation of one game. While the strike did cause significant damage to the league's reputation, it was resolved quickly, with the players getting what they wanted and the season schedule continuing as normal. The 1990s saw the NFL continue to grow in popularity across the globe, with the number of international games played increasing and other sports leagues also expanding their global reach. The decade also saw the first-ever regular season game played outside of North America: A match between the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers that took place in Mexico City.

 

Conclusion

 

American Football is a field sport that is played between two teams of 9 players on a field of 60 yards by 20 yards. It is known for its incredible speed and athleticism. And if you’re looking for a sport to introduce your kids to for their first taste of physical contact, don’t forget about American Flag Football. A completely non-contact version of the game, this version of the sport uses a different set of rules than the traditional professional version. Different organizations choose to adopt different sets of rules, so make sure you find out which rules are being used before you sign up to play. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to check out how to make flags for your team.

The league is constantly evolving and changing to suit the needs and wants of its ever-growing fan base, which makes it a truly fascinating sport to follow and be a part of. Whether you want to get involved in a local youth program, play on a team, or simply follow the action from the comfort of your couch, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From the breathtaking athleticism of the highest level of play to the family-friendly atmosphere of youth events, American Football has something for you.


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