• Chicago Bears

    The Chicago Bears played their home games at Wrigley Field on Chicago's North Side through the 1970 season.
  • Los Angeles Rams

    Quarterback Roman Gabriel played eleven seasons for the Los Angeles Rams dating from 1962 to 1972. He was voted the MVP of the entire NFL in 1969, for a season in which he threw for 2,549 yards and 24 TDs while leading the Rams to the playoffs.
  • San Francisco 49ers

    On draft day, the 49ers traded its first two picks for New England's first-round choice, the 16th selection overall, and selected Jerry Rice from Mississippi Valley State.
  • Miami Dolphins

    In 1972 the Dolphins completed the only fully undefeated season in the NFL, winning all 14 regular season games, two playoff games and Super Bowl VII, defeating the Washington Redskins 14–7.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4


National Football LeagueThe National Football League is a professional American football league composed of 32 teams divided equally between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The highest level of professional football in the world, the NFL runs a 17 week regular season from the week after Labor Day to the week after Christmas, with each team playing sixteen games and having one bye week. Out of the league's 32 teams, six, four division winners and two wild-card teams from each conference compete in the NFL playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The champions of the Super Bowl are awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy. Most games are played on Sunday afternoons; some games are also played on Mondays and Thursdays during the regular season. There are games on Saturdays during the last few weeks of the regular season and the first two playoff weekends.

See how each National Football League team came to be in their city, their nickname and their facility.


NFL League Formation

Although the league did not maintain official standings for their 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the American Professional Football Association awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 (8 wins, 0 losses, and 3 ties) record. The following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans. In 1922, the American Professional Football Association changed its name to the National Football League (NFL).

Pete Rozelle Commish

By day eight, Leahy supporters Wellington Mara and Paul Brown realized that their candidate would not be able to win and they offered Los Angeles Rams general manager Pete Rozelle, who had been able to keep peace among his team's feuding partners, as a compromise candidate. He received eight votes to Leahy's one and three abstentions and was elected Commissioner. Rozelle gained the support of the four anti-Leahy owners by pledging to move the league office from Philadelphia to New York City instead of the West Coast. When Rozelle took office there were twelve teams in the NFL playing a twelve game schedule to frequently half-empty stadiums, and only a few teams had television contracts. The NFL in 1960 was following a business model that had evolved from the 1930s. NFL sources credit Rozelle with originating gate and television profit-sharing. However, it was the rival American Football League which initiated both concepts at its formation in 1959. The revenue sharing was a major factor in stabilizing the AFL and guaranteeing the success of its small-market teams. Rozelle recognized the value of such an arrangement, and following the lead of the rival AFL, Rozelle negotiated large television contracts to broadcast every NFL game played each season. In doing so, he not only deftly played one television network against the other, but also persuaded NFL team owners — most notably Carroll Rosenbloom of the Baltimore Colts and George Preston Marshall of the Washington Redskins to agree to share revenues between teams, as the American Football League (AFL) had done since its inception. His business model, which emulated that of the AFL, was essentially a cartel that benefited all teams equally, from revenue sharing to the player draft.

The Start of Super Bowls

The game, the Super Bowl, was held four times before the merger, with the NFL winning Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, and the AFL winning Super Bowl III and Super Bowl IV. After the league merged, it was split into two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC), consisting of most of the pre-merger NFL teams, and the American Football Conference (AFC), consisting of all of the AFL teams as well as three pre-merger NFL teams.

American Football League Merge

A new professional league, the fourth American Football League (AFL), began play in 1960. The upstart AFL began to challenge the established NFL in popularity, gaining lucrative television contracts and engaging in a bidding war with the NFL for free agents and draft picks. The two leagues announced a merger on June 8, 1966, to take full effect in 1970.

Paul Tagliabue New Commissioner

On March 22, 1989, Pete Rozelle announced that he would retire as commissioner as soon as a successor was elected. Many owners wanted Rozelle to be succeeded by two equally responsible chiefs; a president that would oversee the business aspects of the game, and a commissioner responsible for maintaining the game's integrity. A six-owner search committee consisting of Wellington Mara, Lamar Hunt, Art Modell, Robert Parins, Dan Rooney, and Ralph Wilson was formed to find candidates for the job and the firm of Heidrick & Struggles was hired to assist in the search. The committee narrowed the candidates to six finalists; New Orleans Saints general manager and minority owner Jim Finks, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority President and CEO Robert E. Mulcahy III, former Green Bay Packers defensive end and businessman Willie Davis, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Paul G. Kirk, and league attorney Paul Tagliabue. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jack Kemp was considered for the job, but chose to remain in his cabinet post. Although committee chairman Mara had said they would present the owners with three or four candidates, the committee unanimously endorsed Finks and reached an agreement with him on a five-year contract. Although Finks ran unopposed for the job at the July 7 owners meeting, a group of eleven newer owners abstained from voting, which prevented Finks from receiving the nineteen votes necessary to become Commissioner. This group did not object to Finks' candidacy, but abstained on principal because they wanted more of a voice in the selection process, felt that they had not given enough information on the search process from the committee, were upset that the committee only recommended Finks despite promising several candidates, and were upset by the fact that the committee had begun contract negotiations with Finks before he was even elected to the post.

Roger Goodell Commish

Goodell's selection as Commissioner following the retirement of Paul Tagliabue came as no surprise, but it was not a fait accompli. Tagliabue initiated a substantive, wide ranging search for his successor, appointing a committee headed by owner Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Goodell was one of five finalists, joining Gregg Levy, Frederick Nance, Robert Reynolds, and Mayo Shattuck III. With 22 votes from the owners being needed to make a choice, Goodell, who oddsmakers had installed as a prohibitive 2:5 favorite to be selected, only garnered 15 votes to Levy's 13, with three votes scattered among the other candidates and the Oakland Raiders abstaining. On the second and third ballots, Goodell and Levy were the only candidates to receive votes (Goodell 17, Levy 14). Goodell increased his lead to 21–10 after the fourth ballot, falling one vote shy of election, but on the fifth round of voting two owners swung their votes to him to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority (Goodell 23, Levy 8). The Oakland Raiders abstained from the voting in each round. Goodell was chosen on August 8, 2006, to succeed Paul Tagliabue and assumed office on September 1—the date Tagliabue set to leave office.