NFL Beginnings

NFL Beginnings

Austin Miller, Reporter

The National Football League, also known as the NFL, is an American football league and the proud leader of popular United States popular sports. The NFL is owned by Roger Goodell, also located in New York City. But new fans may ask questions about its origins. This is the NFL: How It Happened.

In 1920, 10 football teams went to Canton, Ohio to form the American Professional Football Association, now known as the NFL. 4 More teams joined the league later that year, making 14 starter teams in the league. There were fifteen co-owners, some of the names William Flanigan and Jim Thorpe.  

The original 14 teams in the NFL were the Akron Pros, Buffalo All-Americans, Canton Bulldogs, Chicago Cardinals, Chicago Tigers, Cleveland Tigers, Columbus Panhandles, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Detroit Heralds, Hammond Pros, Muncie Flyers, Rochester Jeffersons, and Rock Island Independents. The Chicago Cardinals and Decatur Staleys, now known as the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears, are still playing to this day.  

The oldest recorded and current NFL franchise is the Green Bay Packers, founded in 1919 by Curly Lambeau and George Whitney Calhoun, The current day Packers stadium is known as Lambeau Field, in memory of their founder. They officially joined the league after the first season in 1921, which also became the beginning of the Bears-Packers rivalry which they have over 200 games today.

The 1920 NFL was very different compared to the current day. The fields weren’t as clean to play in, there were no helmets to wear, the rules were different, popularity wasn’t as high; it was a different mindset. The first Super Bowl was just the champion of the NFL vs the champion of the AFL, the American Football League. Before then, there were just championship games, where the Packers won most of them.

On June 8, 1966, the NFL and AFL merger happened. But in 1970, the official merger happened and now the NFL is a league with two conferences. The AFL teams get put in the American Football Conference, also known as the AFC. The NFL teams get put in the National Football Conference, also known as the NFC. Throughout time teams have changed logos, names, cities, stadiums, but the NFL barely changed besides its shield logo and ruleset. Barely any teams emerged out of nowhere, with the latest being the Houston Texans in 2002. From the start, the NFL has been getting popular and popular throughout the seasons, and there’s no telling when it’s going to end.