Football was first professionalized in 1892 when two guys named Pudge Heffelfinger and Ben “Sport” Donnelly received a large sum of cash to pay for the Allegheny Athletic Association of the Western Pennsylvania Senior Independent Football Conference, in the 1890s.
Professional football was primarily a regional sport in the early part of the 20th century. It revolved around a single state or region with only limited play outside state lines. There were no national leagues or tournaments for the professional game, and they tried so many times, and it didn’t work, and the fans lost interest.
Finally, it worked, and the National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920 in Canton, Ohio, as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), and there were Fourteen teams that started.
There were five teams from Ohio (Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Tigers, Columbus Panhandlers, and Dayton Triangles), four teams from Illinois (Chicago Tigers, Decatur Staleys, Racine Cardinals, and Rock Island Independents), two from Indiana (Hammond Pros and Muncie Flyers), two from New York (Buffalo All-Americans and Rochester Jeffersons), and the Detroit Heralds from Michigan. Of these original franchises, only two remain, the Cardinals and the Bears.
Football got off to a slow start for the fans, but it moved ahead of Baseball as the fans’ favorite in 1965, during the emergence of the NFL’s challenger. Right now, in 2021, American Football is the most popular spectator sport to watch in the United States.
There have been many things that have happened since the NFL was created in 1920. The first NFL Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967, and it was called Super Bowl 1; the game was between the Green Bay Packers, and the Kansas City Chiefs, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. In the first-ever Super Bowl, the Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. There have been 55 Super Bowls since the first one, and there have been so many different winners each year.
The last Super Bowl that was played was Super Bowl 55 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, and the game featured the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs won last year’s Super Bowl 31-9. The Buccaneers are favorites to win the Super Bowl this year, but some other teams are looking good right now like the Arizona Cardinals.
In the 2016 season, there was the National Anthem controversy. How it all started was during a preseason game San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat and later knelt during the national anthem. He did it in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, and he referenced a series of African-American deaths caused by law enforcement. Inspired by Kaepernick, other NFL players decided to kneel or conduct various silent protests during the national anthem.
The protests received highly polarized reactions, with some praising him and his stand against racism and others (in particular, right-wing politicians and media figures) denouncing the protests. All players are still required to stand for the anthem on the field. In May 2018, the NFL prohibited players from kneeling during the national anthem demonstrations. There’s now an option for players and personnel to wait in the locker room until after the anthem is over.
In June of 2020 The New York Times wrote that “the NFL hads wrestled with the issue of race, noting that three-quarters of NFL players are African-American, and nearly every NFL team owner is white.
Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, put out a statement where he said, “I apologize for not listening to the concerns of African-American players.” The New York Times didn’t believe Goodell because he rejected Kaepernick.
Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated wrote, “Mainstream white America is going to reconsider Kaepernick at some point. Collin Kaepernick is a free agent and hasn’t paid since he was on the San Fransisco 49ers in 2016.
Right now, in 2021 Currently, there are only two minority NFL owners. Shahd Kahn, a Pakistani American who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Kim Pegula, who is Asian American and co-owns the Buffalo Bills. There are only three minority offensive and defensive coordinators in the NFL.
The NFL is now made up of 32 teams, with the AFC and the NFC conferences. I asked my mom what her favorite NFL team was, and she said, “my favorite NFL team is the Miami Dolphins, and I grew up watching Nick Buoniconti, Bob Griese, and that whole Miami Dolphins Era. My favorite team is the Miami Dolphins, my brother’s favorite team is the Miami Dolphins, and my dad’s favorite team is the Philadelphia Eagles. What is your favorite NFL team?