Certain activities define the character of a nation. Likewise, the National Football League (NFL) defines the American character probably more than anything else. Conceived as the American Professional Football Association in 1920, it soon adopted the name National Football League in 1922. Undoubtedly the largest of all professional football leagues in America, NFL is made up of 32 teams coming from numerous American regions and cities.
With seeds in the American college football genre, NFL football is a direct descendant of rugby football. Rugby football, in its turn, was imported to the US from Canada in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In its infancy, it became synonymous with American college football with Montreal’s McGill University inviting Harvard University to Quebec to play the Canadian version of rugby football.
Meanwhile, professional American football was gaining momentum despite the renowned elite football college games. This was happening mainly on the East coast, while professional football was stealing the show in the Midwest. The American Professional Football Association was founded in Ohio with legendary athlete Jim Thorpe as President. It began with eleven teams and was not strictly a league. The main purpose was to end robbing other teams’ players to win a football game.
With the birth of NFL, rules became more stringent and laws began to be enforced. However, teams continued to trickle in and leave at the same pace. It was in the 1970’s and 1980’s that NFL football finally secured its position in the heart and culture of America as the most important football event of the nation. The Super Bowl, a name given to the final game in a NFL series, became an undeclared yet accepted national holiday.
What sealed the NFL football in every American’s heart was the cult it created. It was not only the game that mattered; it was the entire event, the entertainment, the TV coverage and everything that added to the glamour of the football series. To add further to the glitz, NFL introduced pre-season exhibition games. And to add a little more flavor the game, NFL o