The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league comprised of 32 clubs divided evenly between the NFC and the AFC (AFC). The NFL was founded in 1920 by David Baker, George Preston Marshall, Albert R. "Crum" Davis, and James E. Sullivan.
There are currently 32 teams in the NFL, all but one of which are based in the United States. The exception is the Oakland Raiders, who play their home games at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. They moved from Los Angeles in 1973 after three seasons as the Los Angeles Rams' replacement team.
The current format for the NFL season was established in 1994 when the league eliminated several rules differences between its two divisions to create more competitive balance. The regular season now consists of 16 games played over 17 weeks, followed by the NFL Playoffs that determine who will go to the league's championship game. The postseason begins with four divisional rounds followed by the NFL Championship Game.
Each club is owned by a large corporation or group of individuals called owners or partners. Only one owner can represent his or her team in public appearances and events without violating league policy. Other owners may have children or other relatives who might be given authority to act on their behalf in certain situations.
The NFC is the NFL division that was once the NFL itself. Both have 16 teams apiece. Following the merger of the AFL and NFL in 1970, ten AFL and three NFL clubs created the AFC. Following the merger of the NFL and AFL in 1970, 13 NFL clubs created the NFC. The two conferences remain separate although they may share some staff members and this may lead to cross-pollination of players.
The NFC has had more recent success than its counterpart; since 2002, every champion from each conference has been even. The Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful team in NFC history with 12 championships, while the Atlanta Falcons are tied with the San Francisco 49ers for most championship titles with 9. The NFC also has had more recent playoff failures; since 2002, every champion from both conferences has made the playoffs while all 10 AFC champions have done so. The New England Patriots are the most successful franchise in NFC/AFC history with 18 victories. They are followed by the Green Bay Packers with 17 wins and Oakland Raiders with 16 wins.
In addition to these two leagues there is another major league that uses the National Football League name but is not affiliated with either conference: The American Football League (1961-1969). This third league had a different structure than its counterparts but included several former NFL players among its original teams. The AFL's presence in 1969 has no official connection with the NFL and therefore cannot be called a "division" of the league.
The NFL used a six-division model for 32 years. However, when the league expanded to 32 clubs in 2002, the system was changed to the current eight-division structure. The American Football Conference (AFC) has four divisions. The National Football Conference (NFC) has four divisions as well, with one division containing two teams from the same city.
In addition, the winners of each division will qualify for the playoffs, while the remaining teams play a series of tiebreaker games to determine which team finishes last in their division. If two teams are tied at the end of the season, then the next highest winning percentage will determine who makes the playoffs. For example, if Team A wins its division with a percentage of.500 or lower, and Team B wins its division with a percentage of 1.000, then both teams would make the playoffs under this system.
The new format was developed in an effort by the NFL to balance out the number of teams that make it into the postseason. Under the old format, the number of teams that made it into the playoffs depended on how far you went in the playoffs. If you got past the first round, then you were guaranteed a spot in the following year's playoffs. But if you didn't, then that could potentially mean no postseasons at all for that franchise.
As you may be aware, the NFL is separated into two conferences (the NFC and the AFC). Each conference is organized into four divisions (North, South, East, and West), each with four teams. The top club in each division qualifies for the playoffs at the end of the season. Teams play every other team within their division during the regular season, with the exception of wild cards and crossover games.
In addition to division winners, the NFL also names two other teams -- one from each conference -- as champions. These champions are determined by a combination of record and site bias. For example, if one team dominates its division and another wins its conference, that team will usually get the No. 1 seed. The only time this did not happen was in 2014 when the Seattle Seahawks won the NFC West despite having a losing record. They received the second seed because they were from the south division.
Each week, we'll take a look at how the teams are divided up in the NFL and who our favorite players are on each team.
Here's how the NFL works: There are 16 teams in the league this year, which is divided equally between the National Football League (NFL) North and NFL South divisions. Within each division, there are four teams who make the playoffs, and these teams are known as the "conference champion" since 2012.
The National Football League currently consists of 32 clubs. The Arena Football League, formed in 1987, is the second. Jim Foster started the AFL, which now has 15 clubs. It's defined as "arcade," or indoor American football. The first season was played without any other NFL teams present; it began on February 3 and ended after only one week when the Miami Dolphins joined as an expansion team.
The AFL replaced the United States Football League which had numerous teams across the country. The USFL was founded by Howard Schnellenberger who also created the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. Schnellenburger became famous for coaching football at UM while running his league. When the USFL broke away from the NFL to form its own circuit, the NFL felt the need to have a direct competition for their moneybags players so they created the AFL. The first game was played between the Boston Breakers and the San Antonio Stars. The Breakers won that first game 29-6!
There were originally 24 teams in the AFL but two teams left after one season: the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. These are the only two teams that haven't yet been revived (for now).
The AFL continues to grow and has recently added several new teams including two California franchises: the Los Angeles Avengers and the Oakland Raiders.