Although the rules for American football were first written in 1876, it was not until the early 1920s that the formation of the National Football League (NFL) was formalized. Originally, the league was known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) but has kept its name as the NFL ever since.
In years prior, restrictions on the trading of players and regulations of the game were in states of constant change and disorganization. Throughout the next few decades, the leaders of the NFL continued to modify the organization, standardizing the expectations from each team and its players.
By the 1930s, the NFL had decreased from 22 teams to a mere 10. However, popularity of the sport was on the rise. In the 1940s, a separate league was created named the American Football League (AFL). They instantly were in competition with the already exciting NFL. By the late 1960s, it was decided that there would be a merger between the NFL and the AFL under one league but with two separate conferences.
In present day, both leagues still exist as one and with two independent conferences. At the end of each season, the NFL’s and AFL’s champion teams compete in a World Championship game, known as the “Super Bowl.” As of 2015, the NFL has grown to a total of 32 teams worldwide with a following of millions.
Article Written by: Emma Rusnak