2004 NFL season
The 2004 NFL season was the 85th regular season of the National Football League. With the New England Patriots as the defending league champions, regular season play was held from September 9, 2004 to January 2, 2005. Hurricanes forced the rescheduling of two Miami Dolphins home games: the game against the Tennessee Titans was moved up one day to Saturday, September 11 to avoid oncoming Hurricane Ivan, while the game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, September 26 was moved back 7½ hours to miss the eye of Hurricane Jeanne; the playoffs began on January 8, New England repeated as NFL champions when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24–21 in Super Bowl XXXIX, the Super Bowl championship game, at ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on February 6. Due to several incidents during the 2003 NFL season, officials are authorized to penalize excessive celebration; the 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty will be marked off from the spot at the end of the previous play or, after a score, on the ensuing kickoff.
If the infraction is ruled flagrant by the officials, the player are ejected. Due to several instances in one game during the 2003–04 playoffs, officials are instructed to enforce illegal contact, pass interference, defensive holding. Timeouts can be called by head coaches. In addition to the numbers 80–89, wide receivers will now be allowed to use numbers 10–19. A punt or missed field goal, untouched by the receiving team is dead once it touches either the end zone or any member of the kicking team in the end zone. A punt or missed field goal that lands in the end zone before being controlled by the kicking team could be picked up by a member of the receiving team and run the other way. Teams will be awarded a third instant replay challenge. Teams were only limited to two regardless of what occurred during the game; the one-bar facemask was outlawed. The few remaining players who still used the one-bar facemask at the time were allowed to continue to use the style until they left the league under a grandfather clause.
Ron Blum returned to line judge, Bill Vinovich was promoted to take his place as referee. Midway through the season, Johnny Grier suffered a leg injury, he was permanently replaced by the back judge on his crew, Scott Green, who had previous experience as a referee in NFL Europe. Baltimore Ravens – Added third alternative uniforms. Black. Cincinnati Bengals – New Uniforms. Indianapolis Colts – Grey facemask. Black shoes. Jacksonville Jaguars – New road uniforms. White uniforms, black numbers with gold and teal trim. New black pants with Jaguars logo on hip. New York Giants – Added third alternative uniforms. Red. Chicago Bears – Added third alternative uniforms. Orange. Metrodome, Minnesota Vikings – AstroTurf was replaced with a new FieldTurf field Arizona Cardinals – Dennis Green replaced Dave McGinnis Atlanta Falcons – Jim Mora, Jr. replaced Wade Phillips who replaced Dan Reeves, fired during the 2003 season Buffalo Bills – Mike Mularkey replaced Gregg Williams Chicago Bears – Lovie Smith replaced Dick Jauron Oakland Raiders – Norv Turner replaced Bill Callahan New York Giants – Tom Coughlin replaced Jim Fassel Washington Redskins – Joe Gibbs replaced Steve Spurrier Indianapolis clinched the AFC #3 seed instead of San Diego based on better head-to-head record.
N. Y. Jets clinched the AFC #5 seed instead of Denver based on better record in common games. St. Louis clinched the NFC #5 seed instead of Minnesota or New Orleans based on better conference record. Minnesota clinched the NFC #6 seed instead of New Orleans based on better head-to-head record. N. Y. Giants finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record. Dallas finished ahead of Washington in the NFC East based on better head-to-head record. Within each conference, the four division winners and the two wild card teams qualified for the playoffs; the four division winners are seeded 1 through 4 based on their overall won-lost-tied record, the wild card teams are seeded 5 and 6. The NFL does not use a fixed bracket playoff system, there are no restrictions regarding teams from the same division matching up in any round. In the first round, dubbed the wild-card playoffs or wild-card weekend, the third-seeded division winner hosts the sixth seed wild card, the fourth seed hosts the fifth.
The 1 and 2 seeds from each conference receive a bye in the first round. In the second round, the divisional playoffs, the number 1 seed hosts the worst surviving seed from the first round, while the number 2 seed will play the other team; the two surviving teams from each conference's divisional playoff games meet in the respective AFC and NFC Conference Championship games, hosted by the higher seed. Although the Super Bowl, the fourth and final round of the playoffs, is played at a neutral site, the designated home team is based on an annual rotation by conference; the Miami Dolphins were the first team to be eliminated from the playoff race, having reached a 1–9 record by week 11. * Indicates overtime victory The following teams and players set all-time NFL records during the season: The Colts led the NFL with 522 points scored. The Colts tallied more points in the first half of each of their games of the 2004 NFL season than seven other NFL teams managed in the entire season. Despite throwing for 49 touchdown passes, Peyton Manning attempted fewer than 500 passes for the first time in his NFL career.
The San Francisco 49ers record 42
1999 NFL season
The 1999 NFL season was the 80th regular season of the National Football League. The Cleveland Browns returned to the field for the first time since the 1995 season, while the Tennessee Oilers changed their name to "Tennessee Titans," with the league retiring the name “Oilers.” The return of the Browns increased the number of teams to 31, the first time the league had played with an odd number of teams since 1966. This required the NFL to give at least one team a bye each week. Under a new system, for ten weeks of the season, one team received a bye, for seven weeks of the season, three teams received a bye; this format would continue until the Houston Texans joined the NFL in 2002, returning the league to an number of teams. The start of the 1999 NFL Season was pushed back one week and started the weekend after Labor Day, a change from the previous seasons: due to the Y2K concerns, the NFL did not want to hold the opening round of the playoffs on Saturday January 1, 2000, did not want teams traveling on that day.
Week 17 games were held on January 2, 2000, the opening round of the playoffs would be scheduled for January 8 and 9, with the bye week before the Super Bowl removed to accommodate the one-week adjustment. The start of the season after Labor Day would become a regular fixture for future seasons, beginning in 2001; the final spot in the NFC playoffs came down to an exciting final day of the season. The Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers were both at 7–8, tied for the last spot in the playoffs with the Dallas Cowboys and tied in other tiebreakers; the Packers/Panthers tie would be broken by best net point differential in conference games. With both the Packers and Panthers playing at 1:00 PM Eastern on January 2, the two teams tried to outscore the other; the Packers beat the Arizona Cardinals 49–24, the Panthers beat the New Orleans Saints 45–13, with the result that the Packers finished ahead of the Panthers by 11 points. Dallas defeated the New York Giants that night to claim the final playoff spot.
The St. Louis Rams, who had had losing records for each of the past nine seasons dating back to their first tenure in Los Angeles, surprised the entire league by defeating the Tennessee Titans 23–16 in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome. Clipping became illegal around the line of scrimmage. A new instant replay system is adopted to aid officiating; the system mirrors a method used by the defunct USFL in 1985: In each game, each team has two challenge flags that can be thrown to start an official review of the play in question. Each challenge will require the use of a team's timeout. If the challenge is successful, the timeout is restored. Inside of two minutes of each half, during all overtime periods, all reviews will be initiated by a Replay Assistant; the Replay Assistant has an unlimited number of reviews, regardless of how many timeouts each team has left. And no timeout will be charged for any review by the Replay Assistant. All replay reviews will be conducted by the referee on a field-level monitor.
A decision will be reversed only. The referee has 90 seconds; the officials will be notified of a replay request or challenge via a specialized electronic pager with a vibrating alert. Each head coach would have a red flag to use as a backup to get the attention of the officials to challenge a play; the replay system will only cover the following situations: Scoring plays Pass complete/incomplete/intercepted Runner/receiver out of bounds Recovery of a loose ball in or out of bounds Touching of a forward pass, either by an ineligible receiver or a defensive player Quarterback pass or fumble Illegal forward pass Forward or backward pass Runner ruled not down by contact Forward progress in regard to a first down Touching of a kick Too many men on the fieldThe league added the following then-minor rule change that became significant in the playoffs a few years later: When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his hand starts a forward pass if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body.
If the player has tucked the ball into his body and loses possession, it is a fumble. This new interpretation of a forward pass would be known as the “Tuck Rule”, was repealed in 2013. Jerry Markbreit retired prior to the 1999 season, he joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge before being promoted to the referee in just his second year. To date, he is the only NFL referee to officiate four Super Bowl games: Super Bowl XVII, Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXIX. Jeff Triplette was promoted to referee to replace Markbreit. Baltimore Ravens – Brian Billick. Carolina Panthers – George Seifert. Chicago Bears – Dick Jauron. Cleveland Browns – Chris Palmer. Green Bay Packers – Ray Rhodes. Kansas City Chiefs – Gunther Cunningham. Philadelphia Eagles – Andy Reid. San Diego Chargers – Mike Riley.
National Football League Draft
The National Football League Draft called the NFL Draft or the Player Selection Meeting, is a one time event which serves as the league's most common source of player recruitment. The basic design of the draft is that each team is given a position in the drafting order in reverse order relative to its record in the previous year, which means that the last place team is positioned first. From this position, the team can either select a player or trade their position to another team for other draft positions, a player or players, or any combination thereof; the round is complete when each team has either selected a player or traded its position in the draft. Certain aspects of the draft, including team positioning and the number of rounds in the draft, have seen revisions since its first creation in 1936, but the fundamental method has remained the same; the draft consists of seven rounds. The original rationale in creating the draft was to increase the competitive parity between the teams as the worst team would, have chosen the best player available.
In the early years of the draft, players were chosen based on hearsay, print media, or other rudimentary evidence of a player's ability. In the 1940s, some franchises began employing full-time scouts; the ensuing success of their corresponding teams forced the other franchises to hire scouts. Colloquially, the name of the draft each year takes on the form of the NFL season in which players picked could begin playing. For example, the 2010 NFL draft was for the 2010 NFL season. However, the NFL-defined name of the process has changed since its inception; the location of the draft has continually changed over the years to accommodate more fans, as the event has gained popularity. The draft's popularity now garners prime-time television coverage. In the league's early years, from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s, the draft was held in various cities with NFL franchises until the league settled on New York City starting in 1965, where it remained for fifty years until 2015; the 2015 and 2016 NFL drafts were held in Chicago, while the 2017 version was held in Philadelphia and 2018 in Dallas.
The 2019 NFL Draft will be held in Nashville. In recent years, the NFL draft has occurred in early May; as background, Stan Kostka had a huge college career as a University of Minnesota running back, leading the Minnesota Gophers to an undefeated season in 1934. Every NFL team wanted to sign him. Since there was no draft back savvy Stan did the smart thing - he held out for the highest offer. While a free agent, Stan kept busy running for Mayor of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Although his political career did not take off, Stan's nine-month NFL holdout succeeded and he became the league's highest-paid player, signing a $5,000 contract with the NFL's team in Brooklyn, New York on August 25, 1935; as a response to the bidding war for Stan Kostka, the NFL instituted the draft in 1936. In late 1934, Art Rooney, owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, gave the right of usage of two players to the New York Giants because Rooney's team had no chance to participate in the post-season. After the owner of the Boston Redskins, George Preston Marshall, protested the transaction, the president of the NFL, Joe F. Carr, disallowed the Giants the ability to employ the players.
At a league meeting in December 1934, the NFL introduced a waiver rule to prevent such transactions. Any player released by a team during the season would be able to be claimed by other teams; the selection order to claim the player would be in inverse order to the teams' standings at the time. Throughout this time, Bert Bell, co-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, felt his team's lack of competitiveness on the field made it difficult for the Eagles to sell tickets and to be profitable. Compounding the Eagles' problems were players signed with teams that offered the most money, or if the money being equal, players chose to sign with the most prestigious teams at the time, who had established a winning tradition; as a result, the NFL was dominated by the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and Redskins. Bell's inability to sign a desired prospect, Stan Kostka, in 1935 led Bell to believe the only way for the NFL to have enduring success was for all teams to have an equal opportunity to sign eligible players.
At a league meeting on May 18, 1935, Bell proposed a draft be instituted to enhance the possibility of competitive parity on the field in order to ensure the financial viability of all franchises. His proposal was adopted unanimously that day, although the first draft would not occur until the next off-season; the rules for the selection of the players in the first draft were, that a list of college seniors would be assembled by each franchise and submitted into a pool. From this pool, each franchise would select, in inverse order to their team's record in the previous year, a player. With this selection, the franchise had the unilateral right to negotiate a contract with that player, or the ability to trade that player to another team for a player, or players. If, for any reason, the franchise was unsuccessful in negotiating a contract with the player and was unable to trade the player, the president of the NFL could attempt to arbitrate a settlement between the player and the franchise. If the president was unable to settle the dispute the player would be placed in the reserve list of the franchise and would be unavailable to play for any team in the NFL that year.
In the 1935 NFL season, the Eagles finished in last place at 2–9, thus securing themselves the first pick in the draft. The first NFL draft began at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia on February 8, 1936. Ninety names were written on a blackboard in the meeting room from; as no team had a scouting department, the lis
2006 NFL season
The 2006 NFL season was the 87th regular season of the National Football League. Regular season play was held from September 7 to December 31, 2006; the NFL title was won by the Indianapolis Colts, when they defeated the Chicago Bears 29–17 in Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium at Miami Gardens, Florida on February 4. End zone celebrations became more restricted. Players can not do any act in which they are on the ground. Players may still spike, or, dunk it over the goal posts. Dancing in the end zone is permitted as long as it is not a prolonged or group celebration; the Lambeau Leap, though, is still legal. Defenders were prohibited from hitting a passer in the knee or below unless they are blocked into him; this rule was enacted in response to the previous season's injuries to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger, Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Brian Griese. Down-by-contact calls could now be reviewed by instant replay to determine if a player fumbled the ball before he was down, who recovered it.
These plays could not be reversed once officials blew the whistle. The "horse-collar tackle" rule enacted during the previous 2005 season was expanded. Players are now prohibited from tackling a ball carrier from the rear by tugging inside his jersey, it was only illegal if the tackler's hand got inside the player's shoulder pads. To reduce injuries, defensive players cannot line up directly over the long snapper during field goal and extra point attempts; the 2006 season marked the debut of new officiating uniforms which are supposed to be more comfortable for officials to wear in extreme weather over the old polyester uniforms. The uniforms were designed by Reebok using a proprietary material technology to keep officials both warm and dry during the winter months of the season. On the shirt, the position and number are removed from the front pocket and the lettering and numbers on the back side were black-on-white and are smaller print and the sleeve shows the uniform number. Officials wore full-length black pants with white stripe during the winter months to stay warm, criticized by media.
This was the first major design overhaul since 1979, when the position name was added to the shirt, but abbreviated in 1982. Bernie Kukar and Tom White retired. Jerome Boger and Gene Steratore were promoted to referee. For the first time since Super Bowl IV at the conclusion of the 1969 season, the official NFL game ball was known as "The Duke" in honor of Wellington Mara, whose family owns the New York Giants. Son John is the current CEO of the team; the NFL first used "The Duke" ball in honor of Mara in 1941 after then-Chicago Bears owner George Halas and then-Giants owner Tim Mara made a deal with Wilson Sporting Goods to become the league's official supplier of game balls, a relationship that continued into its sixty-fifth year in 2006.“The Duke” ball was discontinued after the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, the merged league began using a different standardized ball made by Wilson. The only other time that "The Duke" ball name was used was during the two "Thanksgiving Classic" games in 2004. One side of the new 2006 "Duke" football featured the NFL shield logo in gold, the words "The Duke", the NFL commissioner’s signature.
The obverse side has a small NFL logo above the needle bladder hole, the conference names between the hole, the words "National Football League" in gold. As per the custom, specially branded balls were used for the first week of the 2006 season as well as for the Thanksgiving Day, conference championships, Super Bowl XLI and Pro Bowl games. Through week 11 of the season, all NFL games had been sold out, for the 24th time, all blackout restrictions had been lifted; the streak was ended by the Jacksonville at Buffalo game in Week 12. This was the first season that NBC held the rights to televise Sunday Night Football, becoming the beneficiaries by negotiating the new flexible-scheduling system. ESPN became the new home of Monday Night Football, replacing sister network American Broadcasting Company, who chose to opt out of broadcasting league games. Meanwhile, CBS and Fox renewed their television contracts to the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference packages, respectively.
This was the first season that the NFL used a “flexible-scheduling” for the last few weeks of the season, allowing the league flexibility in selecting games to air on Sunday night, in order to feature the current hottest, streaking teams. This was implemented to prevent games featuring losing teams from airing during primetime late in the season, while at the same time allowing NBC to rake in more money off of the higher ratings from surprise, playoff-potential teams that more fans would enjoy watching. Under the flexible-scheduling system, all Sunday games in the affected weeks tentatively had the start times of 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, except those played in the Pacific or Mountain time zones, which will have a tentative start time of 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. On the Tuesday 12 days before the games, the league moved one game to the primetime slot, one or more 1 p.m. slotted games to the 4 p.m. slots. During the last week of the season, the league could re-schedule games as late as six days before the contests so that all of the television networks will be able to broadcast a game that has playoff implications.
Starting September 18, fans were able to download highlights of their teams' games through Apple's iTunes Store. Each video costs US$1.99 each but fans have the chance of buying a "Follow Your
The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League as a member of the league's National Football Conference West division; the Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale; the team was established in Chicago in 1898 as an amateur football team and joined the NFL as a charter member on September 17, 1920. Along with the Chicago Bears, the club is one of two NFL charter member franchises still in operation since the league's founding; the club moved to St. Louis in 1960 and played in that city through 1987. Before the 1988 season, the team moved west to Tempe, Arizona, a college suburb east of Phoenix, played their home games for the next 18 seasons at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.
In 2006, the club moved to their current home field in Glendale, although the team's executive offices and training facility remain in Tempe. The franchise has won two NFL championships, both; the first occurred in 1925, but is the subject of controversy, with supporters of the Pottsville Maroons believing that Pottsville should have won the title. Their second title, the first to be won in a championship game, came in 1947, nearly two decades before the first Super Bowl, they returned to the title game to defend in 1948, but lost the rematch 7–0 in a snowstorm in Philadelphia. Since winning the championship in 1947, the team suffered many losing seasons, holds the longest active championship drought of North American sports at 70 consecutive seasons after Major League Baseball's Chicago Cubs ended their 108 year drought in 2016. In 2012 the Cardinals became the first NFL franchise to lose 700 games since its inception; the franchise's all-time win-loss record at the conclusion of the 2018 season is 560–762–40.
They have been to the playoffs ten times and have won seven playoff games, three of which were victories during their run in the 2008–09 NFL playoffs. During that season, they won their only NFC Championship Game since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, reached Super Bowl XLIII; the team has won five division titles since their 1947–48 NFL championship game appearances. The Cardinals are the only NFL team who have never lost a playoff game at home, with a 5–0 record: the 1947 NFL Championship Game, two postseason victories during the aforementioned 2008–09 NFL playoffs, one during the 2009–10 playoffs, one during the 2015–16 playoffs. From 1988 through 2012, the Cardinals conducted their annual summer training camp at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff; the Cardinals moved their training camp to State Farm Stadium in 2013. The stadium was the site of the 2015 Pro Bowl, unlike in past years, where it was held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii; the stadium played host to Super Bowls XLII and XLIX, will host Super Bowl LVII in 2023.
The franchise's inception dates back to 1898, when a neighborhood group gathered to play in the Chicago South Side, calling themselves Morgan Athletic Club. Chicago painting and building contractor Chris O'Brien acquired the team, which he relocated to Normal Field on Racine Avenue; the team was known as Racine Normals until 1901, when O'Brien bought used jerseys from the University of Chicago. He described the faded maroon clothing as "Cardinal red" and the team became the Racine Street Cardinals; the team became in 1920 a charter member of the American Professional Football Association, which two years was rechristened to National Football League. The team entered the league as the Racine Cardinals, however the name was changed in 1922 to Chicago Cardinals to avoid confusion with the Horlick-Racine Legion, who entered the league the same year. Except for 1925, when they were awarded the championship after the Pottsville Maroons were suspended, the Cardinals experienced only minimal success on the playing field during their first 26 seasons in the league.
During the post-World War II years, the team reached two straight NFL finals against the Philadelphia Eagles, winning in 1947 – eight months after Charles Bidwill's death – and losing the following year. After years of bad seasons and losing fans to the cross-town rivals Chicago Bears, by the late 1950s the Cardinals were bankrupt, owner Violet Bidwill Wolfner became interested in a relocation. Due to the formation of the rival American Football League, the NFL allowed Bidwill to relocate the team to St. Louis, where they became the St. Louis Cardinals. During the Cardinals' 28-year stay in St. Louis, they advanced to the playoffs just three times, never hosting or winning in any appearance; the overall mediocrity of the Cardinals, combined with a then-21-year-old stadium, caused game attendance to dwindle, owner Bill Bidwill decided to move the team to Arizona. Not long after the 1987 NFL season, Bidwill agreed to move to Arizona on a handshake deal with state and
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves; the offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, otherwise they turn over the football to the defense. Points are scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal; the team with the most points at the end of a game wins. American football evolved in the United States, originating from the sports of association football and rugby football; the first match of American football was played on November 6, 1869, between two college teams and Princeton, under rules based on the association football rules of the time.
During the latter half of the 1870s, colleges playing association football switched to the Rugby Union code, which allowed carrying the ball. A set of rule changes drawn up from 1880 onward by Walter Camp, the "Father of American Football", established the snap, the line of scrimmage, eleven-player teams, the concept of downs; the sport is related to Canadian football, which evolved parallel and contemporary to the American game, most of the features that distinguish American football from rugby and soccer are present in Canadian football. American football as a whole is the most popular sport in the United States; the most popular forms of the game are professional and college football, with the other major levels being high school and youth football. As of 2012, nearly 1.1 million high school athletes and 70,000 college athletes play the sport in the United States annually all of them men, with a few exceptions. The National Football League, the most popular American football league, has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world.
In the United States, American Football is called "football". The terms "gridiron" or "American football" are favored in English-speaking countries where other codes of football are popular, such as the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia. American football evolved from the sports of rugby football. Rugby football, like American football, is a sport where two competing teams vie for control of a ball, which can be kicked through a set of goalposts or run into the opponent's goal area to score points. What is considered to be the first American football game was played on November 6, 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton, two college teams; the game was played between two teams of 25 players each and used a round ball that could not be picked up or carried. It could, however, be kicked or batted with the feet, head or sides, with the ultimate goal being to advance it into the opponent's goal. Rutgers won the game 6 goals to 4. Collegiate play continued for several years in which matches were played using the rules of the host school.
Representatives of Yale, Columbia and Rutgers met on October 19, 1873 to create a standard set of rules for all schools to adhere to. Teams were set at 20 players each, fields of 400 by 250 feet were specified. Harvard abstained from the conference, as they favored a rugby-style game that allowed running with the ball. After playing McGill University using both Canadian and American rules, the Harvard players preferred the Canadian style having only 11 men on the field, running the ball without having to be chased by an opponent, the forward pass and using an oblong instead of a round ball. An 1875 Harvard–Yale game played under rugby-style rules was observed by two impressed Princeton athletes; these players introduced the sport to Princeton, a feat the Professional Football Researchers Association compared to "selling refrigerators to Eskimos." Princeton, Harvard and Columbia agreed to intercollegiate play using a form of rugby union rules with a modified scoring system. These schools formed the Intercollegiate Football Association, although Yale did not join until 1879.
Yale player Walter Camp, now regarded as the "Father of American Football", secured rule changes in 1880 that reduced the size of each team from 15 to 11 players and instituted the snap to replace the chaotic and inconsistent scrum. The introduction of the snap resulted in unexpected consequences. Prior to the snap, the strategy had been to punt. However, a group of Princeton players realized that, as the snap was uncontested, they now could hold the ball indefinitely to prevent their opponent from scoring. In 1881, both teams in a game between Yale-Princeton used this strategy to maintain their undefeated records; each team held the ball. This "block game" proved unpopular with the spectators and fans of both teams. A rule change was necessary to prevent this strategy from taking hold, a reversion to the scrum was considered. However, Camp proposed a rule in 1882 that limited each team to three downs, or tackles, to adva
National Football League
The National Football League is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided between the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, the highest professional level of American football in the world; the NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, held in the first Sunday in February, is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC; the NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. The NFL agreed to merge with the American Football League in 1966, the first Super Bowl was held at the end of that season. Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world and is the most popular sports league in the United States.
The Super Bowl is among the biggest club sporting events in the world and individual Super Bowl games account for many of the most watched television programs in American history, all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U. S. television broadcasts by 2015. The NFL's executive officer is the commissioner; the players in the league belong to the National Football League Players Association. The team with the most NFL championships is the Green Bay Packers with thirteen; the current NFL champions are the New England Patriots, who defeated the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII for their sixth Super Bowl championship. On August 20, 1920, a meeting was held by representatives of the Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles at the Jordan and Hupmobile auto showroom in Canton, Ohio; this meeting resulted in the formation of the American Professional Football Conference, a group who, according to the Canton Evening Repository, intended to "raise the standard of professional football in every way possible, to eliminate bidding for players between rival clubs and to secure cooperation in the formation of schedules".
Another meeting was held on September 17, 1920 with representatives from teams from four states-Akron, Canton and Dayton from Ohio. The league was renamed to the American Professional Football Association; the league elected Jim Thorpe as its first president, consisted of 14 teams. The Massillon Tigers from Massillon, Ohio was at the September 17 meeting, but did not field a team in 1920. Only two of these teams, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, remain. Although the league did not maintain official standings for its 1920 inaugural season and teams played schedules that included non-league opponents, the APFA awarded the Akron Pros the championship by virtue of their 8–0–3 record; the first event occurred on September 26, 1920 when the Rock Island Independents defeated the non-league St. Paul Ideals 48–0 at Douglas Park. On October 3, 1920, the first full week of league play occurred; the following season resulted in the Chicago Staleys controversially winning the title over the Buffalo All-Americans.
On June 24, 1922, the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. In 1932, the season ended with the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans tied for first in the league standings. At the time, teams were ranked on a single table and the team with the highest winning percentage at the end of the season was declared the champion; this method had been used since the league's creation in 1920, but no situation had been encountered where two teams were tied for first. The league determined that a playoff game between Chicago and Portsmouth was needed to decide the league's champion; the teams were scheduled to play the playoff game a regular season game that would count towards the regular season standings, at Wrigley Field in Chicago, but a combination of heavy snow and extreme cold forced the game to be moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which did not have a regulation-size football field. Playing with altered rules to accommodate the smaller playing field, the Bears won the game 9–0 and thus won the championship.
Fan interest in the de facto championship game led the NFL, beginning in 1933, to split into two divisions with a championship game to be played between the division champions. The 1934 season marked the first of 12 seasons in which African Americans were absent from the league; the de facto ban was rescinded in 1946, following public pressure and coinciding with the removal of a similar ban in Major League Baseball. The NFL was always the foremost pro