The National Football League (NFL) is an American professional league comprising 32 professional football clubs. The 32 teams are divided equally among two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) and each conference have four division of four teams. The league has 18 weeks regular season where each team will play 17 Weeks and have a one-week bye.
This league has a regular season where games are played within eighteen weeks, thus, every team plays seventeen games. The eighteen weeks run from early September to early January every year. Upon completion of the league, the best seven teams from each conference advance to the playoffs where eliminations will follow until the finals known as the Super Bowl. The finals of the Super Bowl comprise two winning teams from both the NFC and AFC.
History of NFL
The NFL was initially known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA), before changing its name in 1920. During this time, champions were determined through standings on the league table, before playoffs were introduced in 1933. The NFL merged with the AFL, (now the AFC) in the year 1966. The first super bowl was then played in the following year to determine the best team between the two conferences. This culture of the Super Bowl has remained since then.
The NFL properties were also established in 1963 as the licensing firm of the National Football League. This firm has helped the league earn billions of dollars part of which has been used in charity funds created by the same firm. Through NFL properties, partnerships and television contracts were agreed upon and boosted the league to further expand by adding four teams.
Today, the NFL is the most popular and most watched league game in Northern America. It has recorded the highest average attendance of fans at 67,591. It is also the wealthiest sports professional league in revenue to date and with the most valuable teams in the United States.
Before the Super Bowl era, Green Bay Packers were the most dominant team in the history of the NFL with 13 championships, nine before the super bowl championship. After the super bowl was introduced, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers won the most titles, both at six titles.
The Corporate side of the NFL
The NFL was initially exempted from paying taxes until 2015 when they decided to do away with tax-exempt status due to heavy criticism from the public. This prompted all the amounts from partnerships, television rights, game tickets, and licensing from all 32 teams taxable.
The NFL is a trade association made up of all 32 teams and funded by the teams too. The league has a top management team comprising the commissioner, secretary, and treasurer. Every conference also has a president who has few powers but acts more during ceremonies and giving awards.
After every five years, elections are undertaken where a new commissioner is voted in after gaining two-thirds of the votes. The commissioner is responsible for appointing the secretary and the treasurer. The two presidents of the two conferences are also elected after gaining 10 votes of the conference members.
Some of the duties and responsibilities of the commissioner include:
- Negotiating contracts
- Hiring league employees
- The welfare of the league
- Solve disputes in the league
- Punish rogue members of the league by either fines or suspension.
Revenue and Finance
The NFL is funded by three fundamental sources: the NFL enterprises, NFL ventures, and NFL television contracts. The enterprises include the network and the ticketing, ventures include merchandise. All teams are funded equally regardless of performance, although most teams have discrete financial statements.
On the other hand, the distribution of funds equally ensures that all teams have the same level playing field thus no team may dominate the rest due to higher financial budgets. As of 2020, the television contract distributed $255 million to each team. Most teams use these amounts to buy players, appoint coaches and develop their teams accordingly.
Teams and television
The NFL is divided into two conferences, each conference has 16 teams from all 32 teams. In addition, each conference is further broken down into four divisions, each division comprising of four teams. A 55-man roster is allowed from each team every regular season with only 48 allowed to actively play. All teams in the NFL are based in the United States.
The divisions are North, South, East, and West. The teams include:
Television contracts in the United States with the NFL comprise five main broadcasters. These include ABC, CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC. All these networks air live NFL games. However, the super Bowl championship final rights are rotated on a three-year basis between Fox, CBS, and NBC. Currently, their contracts run until 2022.