The history of the National Football League (NFL) dates back to the 1920s, with the first official season taking place in the year 1920. That inaugural season featured 10 teams initially with a further four joining later in the year. Since that inaugural season, the league has seen its fair share of teams come and go with the league itself going from strength to strength.
In fact, fast forward 100 years and the NFL is the richest sports league on the planet with the league also possessing six of the 10 most expensive sports franchises in the world today.
Given that the popularity of the sport is largely confined to the borders of the United States, it is remarkable that a national league generates the type of revenue it does.
That said, the modern iteration of the league would not be possible were it not for a few pivotal moments, the most crucial of which was its merger with the American Football League (AFL)
The American Football League
Founded in 1960 by Lamar Hunt and Bud Adams following Hunt’s failure to bring an NFL team to Texas, the AFL represented a major challenger to the NFL. The AFL grew to feature 10 teams during its decade-long run, before ultimately merging with the NFL.
The NFL needed this merger as the AFL primarily focused on signing college athletes to its teams, as well as free agents, whether it be coaches or players. Given that the strategy of selecting college players reduced the NFL’s talent, a merger between the two leagues occurred in 1970.
This merger also led to the formation of the now synonymous conferences the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
Has a team ever switched from the NFC to the AFC?
The Seattle Seahawks are the only team in the league to have switched conferences with the Washington state-based team going from the AFC to the NFC in 2022.