The NFL is one of the most entertaining and profitable sports events in the world. It rakes in billions every season and has been on a steady upward trend in the last couple of years. But how did it all start? The uninitiated might be tempted to think American Football was born in a dusty field somewhere in the United States. However, it goes so much deeper than that.
The Birth of American Football
American football, also known as gridiron football, is closely related to soccer and rugby – both of which came from England. They found their way to American Universities in the late 19th century. But it wasn’t until November 6, 1869, that the first inter-university sports event featuring a soccer-like game went down. The game was nothing similar to modern-day football, but it marked the beginning of college football. Later on, ‘the father of American football’ effected some notable changes that shaped the game forever.
When World War II started, football took a big hit as most athletic men lost their lives in battle, and the remaining ones were either injured or in a sorry state. That created a vacuum in the industry, which was responsible for bidding wars and steeply rising salaries for players. In 1920, people saw the need to regulate player transfers leading to the American Profession Football Association (APFA), which later changed its name to the National Football League (NFL).
The First Super Bowl
In 1960, the AFL opened its doors with eight franchises, offering higher salaries to players compared to the NFL. That created a “civil war” in the football industry. However, this rivalry changed for the better in 1966 when the two leagues held secret meetings that resulted in the AFL-NFL World Championships. This annual event would later become the ‘Super Bowl.’