Do you fancy yourself as a major fan of the National Football League? In all likelihood, you probably believe you know the sport pretty well. That misconception will be shattered when you take a look at the startling facts mentioned below.
1. The NFL was not always known as the National Football League. The league, which was founded in 1920, was originally known as the American Professional Football Association. The name was officially changed to the NFL before the 1922 season.
2. The league started with just 14 teams. Only two original teams still remain. They include the Chicago Cardinals and the Decatur Staleys. Today, they are the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears respectively.
3. Olympic gold medalist, Jim Thorpe, was actually the first president of the APFA. Believe it or not, Thorpe was a jack-of-all-trades. He once played baseball, basketball and football.
4. Previously, there were no real playoffs. Instead, the team with the highest winning percentage was declared the victor.
5. In 1933, the NFL had only two African American players. Both were removed from the league at the end of the season. Joe Lillard had to be removed, due to his tendency to get into brawls.
6. The NFL has faced several rivals over the years. They include the American Football League and the All-America Football Conference. Nonetheless, the NFL has always prevailed over its competitors.
7. The National Football League is actually a trade association, which consists of and financed by 32 member teams. Until a few years ago, the league was classified as an unincorporated nonprofit association. Previously, the league was exempt from taxes, until they faced public criticism.
8. NBC, ESPN, Fox and CBS pay an estimated combined total of around 5 billion dollars a year for NFL content.
9. The NFL held its first draft in 1936. It took place in Philadelphia at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Unfortunately, no teams had scouts so they were forced to rely on unreliable media sources to make their picks.