American Football

  • Professional Football begins

    Representatives of four Ohio football teams—the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, and Dayton Triangles—meet in a Canton automobile showroom to form a new professional football league. Initially called the American Professional Football Association, the organization will eventually be renamed the National Football League.
  • Flyers Over Panhandles

    In the first matchup between NFL teams, the Dayton Flyers defeat the Columbus Panhandles by the score of 14-0.
  • Akron Pros

    The undefeated Akron Pros—led by star running back Fritz Pollard, one of the league's two black players—are named champions of the NFL's inaugural season. Only four of the fourteen teams that began the season are still playing by season's end.
  • Green Bay Packers

    The Green Bay Packers join the NFL. In a league with high franchise turnover, the Packers will eventually become the oldest surviving franchise.
  • Teams Struggle

    In the NFL's first dozen years of existence, more than 40 different teams will join the league, only to quickly drop out or go out of business entirely.
  • NFL Begins

    The American Professional Football Association officially renames itself the National Football League.
  • First nfl draft

    The NFL holds its first annual draft of college players. The first player selected, Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger, chooses to pursue a career in plastics manufacturing instead of pro football and never plays a down in the NFL.
  • First Helmet Logo

    The Los Angeles Rams become the first NFL team to wear a helmet logo, painting rams' horns onto their leather hats.
  • NFL Championship Televised

    For the first time, the NFL Championship Game is televised nationwide.
  • vince lomardi named packers coach

    Vince Lombardi is named head coach of the Green Bay Packers, who won just one game the previous season.
  • AFL

    Texas oilmen Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams, rebuffed in their attempts to acquire NFL franchises for Houston and Dallas, announce plans to form a new football league to rival the NFL. Their new league, called the American Football League (AFL), will begin play in 1960 with eight teams.
  • First AFL chanmpionship

    The Houston Oilers defeat the San Diego Chargers to win the first AFL Championship.
  • Football Beats Baseball as Favorite Sport

    For the first time, more people polled in a national survey choose pro football than baseball as their favorite sport.
  • college competition

    Ferocious competition between the NFL and AFL to sign the best players coming out of college football results in out-of-control bidding wars for top talent. Highly coveted University of Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, chosen in both leagues' drafts, opts to join the AFL's New York Jets after being offered the largest contract to date in pro football history.
  • AFL-NFL Merger Agreed

    NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announces that the NFL and AFL have reached an agreement to merge into a single league by 1970. In the meantime, the two leagues' champions will meet each January in a new AFL-NFL World Championship Game. That game quickly becomes known as the Super Bowl.
  • First Super Bowl

    The NFL's Green Bay Packers easily defeat the AFL's Kansas City Chiefs to win the first Super Bowl. More than 32,000 tickets go unsold for the game, held in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, but the game draws more television viewers than any previous sporting event.
  • NFC and AFC

    The AFL-NFL merger takes full effect as the AFL formally goes out of existence and the NFL assumes its modern two-conference structure. Most old NFL teams form the National Football Conference (NFC), while the old AFL clubs (plus a few NFL teams moved over to maintain numerical balance) form the American Football Conference (AFC).
  • Super Bowl VII

    The Miami Dolphins defeat the Washington Redskins 14-7 to win Super Bowl VII and cap a perfect 17-0 season—the only undefeated season in modern NFL history.
  • Super Bowl VIII

    Playing in their third consecutive Super Bowl, the Miami Dolphins crush the Minnesota Vikings to win their second of back-to-back championships. Miami wins 24-7 behind the dominant play of MVP running back Larry Czonka, who rushes for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Super Bowl IX

    The Pittsburgh Steelers win their first championship since joining the NFL in 1933, defeating Minnesota in Super Bowl IX. The Steelers defense absolutely throttles the Minnesota attack, holding the Vikings to just 119 yards total offense; Minnesota's only points come from a blocked kick. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris rushes for a Super Bowl record 158 yards and one touchdown. The victory marks the beginning of a late-'70s Steelers dynasty that will yield an unprecedented four
  • Super Bowl X

    In one of the more exciting Super Bowls of all time, the Pittsburgh Steelers win their second consecutive championship by holding on to defeat the Dallas Cowboys by a score of 21-17. Steelers wideout Lynn Swann wins game MVP honors after amassing 161 receiving yards on just four catches, which include a pair of acrobatic highlight-reel plays as well as a game-clinching 64-yard bomb in the fourth quarter.
  • Super Bowl XI

    Heartbroken Minnesota Vikings fans watch their team lose the Super Bowl for the fourth time in eight years, 32-14 to the Oakland Raiders. Oakland wins its first NFL championship by rolling up a record-breaking 429 yards of total offense against the Vikings' overmatched defense.
  • Super Bowl XII

    The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Denver Broncos 27-10 to win their second NFL championship in Super Bowl XII. The Cowboys' defense, led by co-MVP linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White, forces a record-breaking eight Denver turnovers en route to Dallas's easy victory.
  • Super Bowl XIII

    Pittsburgh quarterback Terry Bradshaw throws for 318 yards and a record-setting four touchdowns to lead the Steelers to a 35-31 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII. The Steelers become the first NFL team to win three Super Bowls.
  • Football Strike

    The NFL Players Association—the union representing pro football players—goes out on strike, hoping to force the NFL into allowing free agency and guaranteeing players a higher proportion of league revenues. The strike will last nearly a month, during which the league will play three weeks' worth of games, as scheduled, with teams made up of amateur "replacement players" while the regular pros march picket lines outside half-full stadiums. By the third week of the strike, solidarity within the pl
  • Roger Goodell Named Commissioner

    The NFL selects Roger Goodell, its own Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since 2001, to succeed Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner. Goodell has worked for the NFL since 1982, when he talked his way into a job as an administrative intern at league headquarters. The early years of Goodell's reign will be marked by a strong crackdown by the league against various acts of off-field misconduct by its players.