National Football League

National Football League
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2021 NFL Draft
National Football League logo.svg
FormerlyAmerican Professional Football Conference (1920)
American Professional Football Association (1920–1921)
SportAmerican football
FoundedSeptember 17, 1920 (1920-09-17)
Inaugural season1920
CommissionerRoger Goodell
No. of teams32
CountryUnited States[A]
Headquarters345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154
Most recent
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(2nd title)
Most titlesGreen Bay Packers
(13 titles)[B]
TV partner(s)CBS
NFL Network
Telemundo Deportes
International: Broadcasters

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues, the highest professional level of American football in the world.[3] The NFL's 18-week regular season runs from early September to early January, with each team playing 17 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, seven teams from each conference (four division winners and three wild card teams) advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the second Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC. The league is headquartered in New York City.

The NFL was formed in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) before renaming itself the National Football League for the 1922 season. After initially determining champions through end-of-season standings, a playoff system was implemented in 1933 that culminated with the NFL Championship Game until 1966. Following an agreement to merge the NFL with the rival American Football League (AFL), the Super Bowl was first held in 1967 to determine a champion between the best teams from the two leagues and has remained as the final game of each NFL season since the merger was completed in 1970.[4] Today, the NFL has the highest average attendance (67,591) of any professional sports league in the world[5] and is the most popular sports league in the United States.[6] The Super Bowl is also among the biggest club sporting events in the world,[7] with the individual games accounting for many of the most watched television programs in American history and all occupying the Nielsen's Top 5 tally of the all-time most watched U.S. television broadcasts by 2015.[8] The NFL is the wealthiest professional sports league by revenue,[9] and the sports league with the most valuable teams.[10]

The Green Bay Packers hold the most combined NFL championships with 13, winning nine titles before the Super Bowl era and four Super Bowls afterwards. Since the creation of the Super Bowl, the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots both have the most championship titles at six.
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  1. ^ "NFL Champions 1920–2018 – Football History". NFL Enterprises. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  2. ^ "All-Time Team Records" (PDF). 2019 Official National Football League Record and Fact Book. NFL Enterprises. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Jozsa, Frank P. (2004). Sports Capitalism: The Foreign Business of American Professional Leagues. Ashgate Publishing. p. 270. ISBN 978-0-7546-4185-8. Since 1922, [the NFL] has been the top professional sports league in the world with respect to American football
  4. ^ Gulizia, Anthony; Willis, Jeremy (August 14, 2019). "How the NFL took over America in 100 years". Retrieved January 25, 2020.
  5. ^ "NFL is world's best attended pro sports league". ABS-CBN News. Agence France-Presse. January 6, 2013. Archived from the original on October 6, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2013.
  6. ^ "Pro Football is Still America's Favorite Sport". Harris Interactive. January 26, 2016. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved June 11, 2016.
  7. ^ Harris, Nick (January 31, 2010). "Elite clubs on Uefa gravy train as Super Bowl knocked off perch". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on November 19, 2012. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  8. ^ "Super Bowl XLV Most Viewed Telecast in U.S. Broadcast History". Nielsen Company. February 7, 2011. Archived from the original on February 8, 2011. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Garcia, Ahiza (April 29, 2018). "Premier League revenues hit record high $6.4 billion". CNNMoney. Retrieved May 28, 2020.
  10. ^ Cite error: The named reference Forbes 2 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).