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On the evening of September 17, 1920, 14 men were packed together inside the Jordan and Hupmobile car dealership in the heart of Canton, Ohio, ready to make a deal. However, they were not looking for a new set of wheels when they arrived at Ralph Hay’s shop; rather, they were looking for a new professional football league that would rescue them from themselves.

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By 1920, professional football was still completely dominated by the collegiate game and was mostly a stronghold restricted to small industrial areas in the Midwestern United States. Even worse for the teams’ owners was that they were losing money due to the skyrocketing player prices and fierce bidding wars that took place whenever they stole players from other teams. The proprietors of these autonomous professional clubs yearned for a powerful league like the one that baseball had so that they could exert greater authority over the game and improve their financial situation.

An organisational meeting was held on August 20 at the showroom of Hay, the owner of the reigning Ohio League champion Canton Bulldogs. Hay had invited representatives from three other in-state teams to attend the meeting. At the meeting, they agreed on the general outline of a new association. According to the Canton Evening Repository, the objective of the new business enterprise would be “to increase the level of professional football in every manner possible, to prevent bidding for players between competing teams, and to achieve collaboration in the formulation of schedules.”

A deal was finally ready to be made after almost a month. Hay convened a meeting of representatives from eleven professional football clubs located in the states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and New York. The teams represented were the Cleveland Indians, Dayton Triangles, Decatur Staleys, Hammond Pros, Massillon Tigers, Muncie Flyers, Racine Cardinals, Akron Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Rochester Jeffersons, and Rock Island Independents. (Such was the lack of familiarity with the clubs that even the minutes of the meeting recorded a misunderstanding, stating that the Cardinals, who played their home games at Normal Park on Chicago’s Racine Avenue, were from the city of the same name in Wisconsin.) The football pioneers, including Jim Thorpe and George Halas, were unable to fit inside Hay’s office on that muggy night, so they perched on the running boards and fenders of the $3,000 automobiles on the showroom floor and grabbed chilled beer bottles from an iced bucket while they worked out a deal.

According to the meeting minutes that were put out on the letterhead of the Akron Professional Football Team, the first item of business was an unlucky one. Massillon withdrew from the league before it was even formally established, which was the first item of business. Following that, the gentlemen offered and seconded a motion to organize a confederation that would later be known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). The new league needed a president to oversee the organization and be its public face, and the selection was a decision that took little to no deliberation.

The representatives of the team voted unanimously to select Thorpe, who was 32 years old at the time. Thorpe was a star for the Canton Bulldogs, and despite being well past his prime, newspapers such as the Milwaukee Journal still referred to him as the “greatest athlete in the world.” In fact, the selection of the largest gate attraction on the gridiron received more ink in newspapers throughout the nation than the actual establishment of the APFA.

On September 26, 1920, at Douglas Park in Rock Island, Illinois, the first game featuring an APFA club took place. The local team, the Independents, dominated the contest and defeated the St. Paul Ideals by a score of 48 to 0. After a week had passed, the league finally saw its first head-to-head competitions, with Dayton prevailing over Columbus by a score of 14-0 and Rock Island routing Muncie by a score of 45-0.

Even though the dimensions of the gridiron were the same as they are now, professional football was played quite different back in 1920. Players were required to compete on both offense and defense, there was little opportunity for forward passes, and coaches needed to be allowed to provide instructions from the sidelines. Because money was so short, Halas had to carry equipment to write press releases to sell tickets, tape ankles, and play and coach for the Decatur team. In 1920, clubs planned their own opponents and were allowed to play nonleague and even college teams that counted toward their records. This was in contrast to the normal schedule of today, which consists of 16 games. The APFA did not keep official rankings since it did not have any defined rules. As a result, the number of games played by APFA clubs, as well as the quality of opponents scheduled for those games, fluctuated.

The Buffalo All-Americans, the Chicago Tigers, the Columbus Panhandles, and the Detroit Heralds joined the league before the season’s conclusion, bringing the total number of teams in the league up to 14. Despite the addition of these teams, the first season was a difficult one. The games didn’t get much attention from the crowd, and the press paid even less attention to them. The book “Pigskin: The Early Years of Pro Football” written by Robert W. Peterson, states that the average number of spectators at APFA games was 4,241. The teams were required to pay an entrance fee of one hundred dollars according to the regulations of the organization, but they have yet to do so. Muncie only participated in a single game before withdrawing from the competition before the season’s conclusion on December 19th.

After the regular season was over, there were no playoffs, much alone a Super Bowl, and it took the league more than four months to even attempt to determine who the winner was. Voting was the primary method of selection in the APFA, just as it had been for many years in college football. On April 30, 1921, team representatives voted the Akron Pros, who finished the season undefeated with eight wins and three ties while yielding only a total of seven points, the champion despite protests from the one-loss teams in Decatur and Buffalo, who each had tied Akron and had more wins than Akron. The Akron Pros finished the season with eight wins and three ties while only allowing a total of seven points to be scored against them. The winning team was presented with a silver love cup that had been generously given by the sports goods manufacturer Brunswick-Balke-Collender. Although the players did not get rings set with diamonds, they got golden fobs in the form of footballs engraved with the words “World Champions.”

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When the club owners realized they needed a leader with stronger commercial acumen, they decided to replace Thorpe with Joe Carr, who owned the Columbus Panhandles. That same year (1922), the APFA changed its name to the National Football League. The National Football League struggled throughout the roaring 20s. While NFL clubs came and went, college football continued to reign supreme, attracting crowds of up to 100,000 fans at times. Pro football began to see a spike in popularity in 1925 when it did so with the signing of collegiate sensation Red Grange.
The inaugural season of the National Football League was so rapidly forgotten in the collective sports memory that the 1920 championship was classified in the league’s official record books as unresolved until the 1970s. The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Cup was only ever presented to the winner on that one occasion. Hence its current whereabouts are unclear. Despite this, the legacies of the two APFA teams have been carried on. The Racine Cardinals have relocated to Arizona, and the Decatur Staleys became the Chicago Bears the year after moving to Chicago in 1921. The Racine Cardinals are now known as the Arizona Cardinals. Carr is one of eleven former APFA players who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which opened its doors in 1963, not too far from the Canton automotive dealership responsible for the establishment of the NFL in 1920.

Teams in the NFL

The National Football League now consists of 32 different clubs. They are divided into the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. Each conference has four divisions, and each division consists of four teams.

NFL Playoffs and Regular Season

The NFL season that is now underway (2021) has seventeen games for each club, followed by one week off, known as a “bye week.” The playoffs are comprised of the top seven teams from each conference, with the top club receiving a bye in the first round of competition. The playoffs are comprised of a single round of elimination. In the Super Bowl, the two remaining teams compete against one another.

What is fantasy football?

The fantasy football game has recently gained much popularity among NFL fans. Fans of the game form their own leagues, often consisting of members of their own families and friends, and then select people for their own teams. Every participant in the draught selects athletes to fill various roles, such as quarterback and running back. Players get points each week based on several statistics, such as the number of yards gained and touchdowns scored. Whoever finishes the week with the most points overall is the winner.

How many players are there on each team?

There is a limit of fifty-three players that may be on the roster of each NFL club. On game day, only 45 of these players will be able to dress and participate. The drafting or negotiation of free-agent contracts is the two ways that teams acquire players. Free agents are players in the National Football League who do not presently have a contract with any of the 32 teams in the league. Sometimes this is due to the fact that they were not picked right out of college, and other times it is because their previous contract has ended.

How many NFL teams are there

The National Football League (NFL) is comprised of 32 different clubs, of which 16 compete in the National Football Conference (NFC) and 16 compete in the American Football Conference (AFC). Each of the conferences is further subdivided into four divisions: the East, the North, the South, and the West. There are four teams in each category.

What is the oldest NFL team?

The Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears are the two teams that are still in the league t this day.
The Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears are the only two clubs to make it into the first roster for the National Football League. It is remarkable that they have been able to continue their activities up to the present day. They have a history stretching back over a hundred years.

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Here is the list of teams and divisions they are in:

East

• Buffalo Bills
• Miami Dolphins
• New England Patriots
• New York Jets

North

• Baltimore Ravens
• Cincinnati Bengals
• Cleveland Browns
• Pittsburgh Steelers

South

• Houston Texans
• Indianapolis Colts
• Jacksonville Jaguars
• Tennessee Titans

West

• Denver Broncos
• Kansas City Chiefs
• Oakland Raiders
• Los Angeles Chargers
National Football Conference (NFC)

East

• Dallas Cowboys
• New York Giants
• Philadelphia Eagles
• Washington Commanders

North

• Chicago Bears
• Detroit Lions
• Green Bay Packers
• Minnesota Vikings

South

• Atlanta Falcons
• Carolina Panthers
• New Orleans Saints
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers

West

• Arizona Cardinals
• Los Angeles Rams
• San Francisco 49ers
• Seattle Seahawks