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  • League Conception Date

    League Conception Date
    The NFL was founded on August 20, 1920 as the American Professinal Football Confrerence.The name was changed a month later to the American Professional Football Assocaition.
  • Inaugural President

    Inaugural President
    Jim Thorpe was hired as first president of the league. The league consisted of 14 teams, only 2 (Decatur Staleys and Chicago Cardinals), know as the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals remain today.
  • First Game

    First Game
    The Dayton Flyers defeat the Columbus Panhandles 14-0 in the first NFL matchup.
  • NFL is born

    NFL is born
    The APFA changes their name to the National Footbal League (NFL).
  • Survival of the Fittest

    Survival of the Fittest
    The NFL, hoping to eliminate rampant turnover in financially weak franchises, decides to eliminate all but its most economically stable teams. The move cuts the number of franchises from 22 to 12, and permanently moves the league's center of gravity from small Midwestern towns to large Eastern cities.
  • First Championship

    First Championship
    In the 1932 season the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans ended in a tie. The league quckly decided to play a playoff game to determine an outright winner. The Bears won the game 9-0, winning the first NFL championship.
  • NFL First Official Season

    NFL First Official Season
    The NFL plays its first official season ending with a championship game. The league consisted of ten teams:
    New York Giants
    Chicago Bears
    Green Bay Packers
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Chicago Cardinals
    Philadelphia Eagles
    Boston Redskins
    Brooklyn Dodgers
    Cincinnati Reds
    Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans
  • First NFL Draft

    First NFL Draft
    The NFL holds its first annual draft of college players. The first player selected, Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger.
  • First Televised Game

    First Televised Game
    An NFL game airs on television for the first time, with NBC producing a local broadcast of a game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Eagles. Since fewer than 1,000 TV sets are known to exist in New York at the time, it is unclear whether anyone actually watches the broadcast.
  • War Takes Players

    War Takes Players
    With many of the NFL's players and fans overseas in military service, the league struggles to survive through World War II.
  • West Coast Team

    West Coast Team
    The Cleveland Rams move to Los Angeles, bringing the NFL to the West Coast for the first time.
  • First Afircan-Americans

    First Afircan-Americans
    The Los Angeles Rams sign former UCLA stars Kenny Washington and Woody Strode, who will become the first African-Americans to play in the NFL in the modern era, ending 13 years of whites-only football in the league.
  • Passing Record

    Passing Record
    In a game against the New York Yanks, Los Angeles Rams quarterback Norm Van Brocklin sets an NFL passing record that by throwing for a staggering 554 yards.
  • First Televised Championship

    First Televised Championship
    For the first time, the NFL Championship Game is televised nationwide. The DuMont Network purchase the right to air the game for $95,000.
  • Pete Rozelle

    Pete Rozelle
    After 23 rounds of inconclusive balloting, the NFL's owners elect young Rams executive Pete Rozelle to serve as NFL Commissioner. Rozelle will hold the post for 29 years.
  • AFL Formed

    AFL Formed
    The American Footbal Conference (AFL) is formed consisting of 8 teams:Dallas Texans
    Los Angeles Chargers
    Boston Patriots
    New York Titans
    Denver Broncos
    Houston Oilers
    Buffalo Bills
    Oakland Raiders
  • Antitrust Exemption

    Antitrust Exemption
    The NFL wins a special antitrust exemption from Congress, authorizing the sale of league-wide television broadcast rights and the distribution of resulting revenues in equal shares to all league teams. Almost immediately, Commissioner Pete Rozelle negotiates the NFL's first national TV deal, in which CBS agrees to pay the league $4.65 million a year for exclusive broadcast rights.
  • NFL Inc.

    NFL Inc.
    NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle creates NFL Properties, Inc. to manage the licensing of league logos and symobls.
  • Televsion Deals

    Televsion Deals
    The NFL and AFL both negotiate lucrative new television deals. NBC offers the AFL $36 million for five years, while CBS gives the NFL $28.2 million for two years.
  • NFL-AFL Merger

    NFL-AFL Merger
    The NFL and AFL announce a merger prior to the 1966 season that will take full effect in the 1970 season. All 9 AFL teams join league. National and American Conferences are formed. Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore volunteer to join AFL. New line-up reads: NFC
    New York Giants
    Chicago Bears
    Green Bay Packers
    Detroit Lions
    Dallas Cowboys
    Washington Redskins
    Los Angeles Rams
    Sa Francisco 49ers
    Minnesota Vikings
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Philadelphia Eagles
    Atlanta Falcons
  • NFL-AFL Merger/Cont.

    NFL-AFL Merger/Cont.
    Cleveland Browns
    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Baltimore Colts
    Miami Dolphins
    Kansas City Chiefs
    New York Jets
    Oakland Raiders
    San Diego Chargers
    Denver Broncos
    Houston Oilers
    Boston Patriots
    Buffalo Bills
  • First Super Bowl

    First Super Bowl
    The Green Bay Packers, coached by Vince Lombardi, win the first Super Bowl, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
  • New Orleans Saints

    New Orleans Saints
    The NFL expands from 15 to 16 teams with the addition of the New Orleans Saints in 1967. They joined the seven-member western conference.
  • Ice Bowl

    Ice Bowl
    In the famous "Ice Bowl" game, held on the frozen tundra of Green Bay's Lambeau Field, the Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 on a last-minute touchdown to win a return trip to the Super Bowl.
  • Jets Upset Colts

    Jets Upset Colts
    In the greatest upset in Super Bowl history, the AFL's New York Jets defeat the NFL's Baltimore Colts—who enter the game as 18-point favorites—by a shocking final score of 16-7. The Jets' victory alleviates fears that AFL teams cannot compete with NFL franchises on the field.
  • AFC and NFC

    AFC and NFC
    The AFL-NFL merger takes full effect as the AFL formally goes out of existence and the NFL begins using 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 equal number of teams) form the American Football Conference (AFC).
  • "Immaculate Reception"

    "Immaculate Reception"
    Franco Harris's "Immaculate Reception" gives the Pittsburgh Steelers an implausible last-second victory over the Oakland Raiders in the AFC Playoffs.
  • Perfection

    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.
  • Coke AD

    Coke AD
    During the broadcast of Super Bowl XIII, Coca-Cola airs one of the most popular Super Bowl ads of all time, showing fearsome Pittsburgh linebacker "Mean" Joe Greene and a young fan "having a Coke and a smile" in a stadium tunnel after a game.
  • Super Bowl XVI

    Super Bowl XVI
    The San Francisco 49ers win their first NFL championship in the highest-rated Super Bowl broadcast of all time. 49.1% of all American households with televisions watch the game, in which MVP quarterback Joe Montana leads San Francisco to a 26-21 win over Cincinnati.
  • Halftime Concert

    Halftime Concert
    Super Bowl XVI, includes the first Super Bowl musical performance by a major recording industry superstar: Motown's own Diana Ross. Ross's performance will kick off a new era in elaborately produced pregame and halftime entertainment.
  • New Commssioner

    New Commssioner
    After 29 years in office, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announces his retirement. Rozelle's successor, Paul Tagliabue, will serve until 2006.
  • Super Bowl XXVIII

    Super Bowl XXVIII
    The Buffalo Bills lose to the Dallas Cowboys 30-13 for the second straight year. This marks the fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss for the Bills.
  • Patriots Thriller

    Patriots Thriller
    The New England Patriots win their first of three Super Bowls in the early 2000s, defeating the St. Louis Rams on a last-second 48-yard field goal by kicker Adam Vinatieri. The Rams' high-octane offense outgains the Pats in total yardage, 427-267, but three untimely St. Louis turnovers lead to 17 of New England 20 points in the Patriots' narrow 20-17 victory.
  • Roger Goodell

    Roger Goodell
    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.
  • Media Coverage

    Media Coverage
    The NFL signed contracts with CBS, NBC, Fox, and ESPN all running through the 2022 season. The contract with ESPN is worth 1.9 billion while the other three networks will pay a combined total of 3 billion per year.
  • Super Bowl XLVII

    Super Bowl XLVII
    The Seattle Seahawks dominate the Denver Broncos with a crushing defeat of 43-8 in the most recent Super Bowl.
  • Thursday Night Football

    Thursday Night Football
    The New York Giants defeat the Washington Redskins 45-14. Eli Manning throws for 300 yards with 4 TD in the most recent NFL event.
  • NFL Today

    NFL Today
    Today the NFL is the most popular league in the United States. Appealing to both men and women at an almost equal split the NFL earns over 9 billion a year. The Super Bowl is the highest earining televised sports event in the world earning 1.2 billion for the NFL. A Super Bowl commercial costs over a million dollars to air. The NFL has faced many controversial issues over the past few months involving domestic abuse and drug related problems.