NFL Football History

The first President in NFL football history was Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe, an outstanding American-Indian Olympia Athlete and player-coach of the Canton Bulldogs.

The NFL was the idea of the legendary Jim Thorpe and Leo Lyons the owner of the Rochester Jefferson a sandlot football team. The Rochester Jefferson and the Buffalo All-stars were the top teams in Ohio at the time.

NFL Football History Starts

After Lyons team the Jefferson played and were blown out in lost to Thorpe's Bulldogs in a 1917 game, Lyons suggested to Thorpe that a league be formed.

Lyons wanted to build a sport that would rival Major League Baseball in popularity. Plans were halted due to the Spanish Flu quarantines and the loss of players to World War I.

The national football league, the major pro football organization in the United States was formed in 1920 at Canton, Ohio as the American Professional Football Association. The league adopted its present name the NFL in 1922.

The Birth of the National Football League

NFL football history go far back as 1892 when Yale all American guard William Heffelfinger was paid $ 500.00 by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play in a game against the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, making him the first ever pro football player in NFL football history.

In August of 1920 at Hupmobile Car dealership in Canton, Ohio, a new league was formed as the American Professional Football Conference initially consisting only of the Ohio Leagues teams, although some of the teams declined to participant.

One month later, the league was renamed American Professional Association. However, the APFA only lasted two seasons when it was reorganized on June 24, 1922 into the NFL.

There are only two teams currently in the NFL, the Decatur Staleys (presently the Chicago Bears ) and the Chicago Cardinals (presently the Arizona Cardinals) are founding members.

The league membership was stabilized from 1920 to 1930 as the league adopted a progressively more formal organization. The first annual draft of college players was held in 1936.

NFL football history was made when the first televised NFL game was played on October 22, 1939 in a game the Eagles lost 23-14 to the host Dodgers at Ebbets Fields.

During the early years of the league, rather than come up with original team names, many of NFL teams simply chose the name of the Major League Baseball team in the same city.

Thus the Pittsburgh Steelers were the "Pittsburgh Pirates" for the first seven years of existence and other teams such as the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Washington Senators all represented the NFL at one time or another.

NFL Football History Black Players

The first signing of a black players and minority players took place between 1920-1926. In 1920, Fritz Pollard and Bobby Marshall were the first black players to play in the NFL. Fritz Pollard became the first African American coach in 1921.

The NFL stop signing black players in 1927 due to Boston Redskins owner (a self-admitted bigot ) George Preston Marshall along with the system of racism and white supremacy.

The Signing of the First Commish

Other NFL owners emulated Marshall's tactics to satisfy southern fans, and even after the NFL's color barrier was broken in the 1950s, Marshall's Washington Redskins remained all-white until forced to integrate by the Kennedy administration in 1962.

Despite his bigotry, Marshall was selected as a charter member of the NFL-inspired Pro Football Hall of Fame. The NFL reintegrated in 1946 following World War II.

After World War II, the office of the league president was voted into the most powerful commissioner post similar to major league baseball. NFL teams became stable financially, and the last team to fold was in 1952.

In 1958 the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants played in the first ever NFL championship game known as the Greatest Game Ever Played, the NFL was on its way to becoming the most popular major sport league ever in the United States and NFL football history.

The Merger

The NFL had several pro football leagues trying to compete with them. They all tried and failed accept one, the American Football League (AFL) :
  • American Professional Football League/ Association 1920 - 1921
  • First American Football League 1926 - 1927
  • Second American Football League 1936 -1937
  • Third American Football League 1940 - 1941
  • All American Football Conference 1946-1949
  • Fourth American Football League 1960 - 1969 merger with the NFL (see below)
  • United States Football League 1985 - 1986
  • XFL 2001 - 2002
  • United Football League 2009 - present

The only pro football league to compete and succeed that cause a merger was the American Football League which was founded in 1959.

The American Football League, led an aggressive campaign to complete against the more establish National Football League by signing several of the NFL high profile players and college players to AFL contracts.

The commissioner of the AFL AL Davis strategy focused on signing quarterbacks and in just two months he persuaded 7 NFL quarterback to sign with the AFL.

They were also successfully because they recruiting and signed predominantly black college players and small college players, a source the NFL totally ignored.

NFL football history was made when the AFL merger with the establish NFL that cause a expansion to the league and the name change of the championship game to its current name the Super Bowl.

Which has become the most watch annual sports championship game in the United States and NFL football history.

The league created 2 conferences the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, four division in each conference and has expanded to its current size of 32 NFL teams.

Popularity of the National Football League

While baseball is known as "America's national pastime," NFL football is the most popular sport in the United States.

According to the Harris Poll a custom market research firm, professional football moved ahead of baseball as the fans' favorite in 1965, during the emergence of the NFL's competitor, the American Football League, as a major professional football league.

Football has remained America's favorite sport every since. In a Harris Poll conducted in 2010, the NFL was the favorite sport of as many people (31%) as the combined total of the next three professional sports – baseball (16%), collage football (12%), and auto racing (9%).

Additionally, American football television viewer ship ratings now surpass those of other sports, although NFL football has less games than other sports.