The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. The league currently consists of thirty-two teams from the United States. The league is divided evenly into two conferences—the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference has four divisions that have four teams each, for a total of 16 teams in each conference. The NFL is an unincorporated 501(c)(6) association, a federal nonprofit designation, comprising its 32 teams.
The regular season is a seventeen-week schedule during which each team plays sixteen games and has one bye week. The season currently starts on the Thursday night in the first full week of September and runs weekly to late December or early January. At the end of each regular season, six teams from each conference (at least one from each division) play in the NFL playoffs, a twelve-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the championship game, known as the Super Bowl. This game is held at a pre-selected site which is usually a city that hosts an NFL team.
The NFL is the most attended domestic sports league in the world by average attendance per game (16 a season), with 67,394 fans per game in 2011–12.
Read more about National Football League: History, Official Rules and Notable Rule Distinctions, Season Structure, Player Contracts and Compensation, NFL Draft, Banned Substances Policy, Video Games, Management, Uniform Numbers, Awards, Cheerleading, Concussions and Brain Safety
Famous quotes containing the words national, football and/or league:
“Being a gentleman is the number one priority, the chief question integral to our national life.”
—Edward Fox (b. 1934)
“People stress the violence. Thats the smallest part of it. Football is brutal only from a distance. In the middle of it theres a calm, a tranquility. The players accept pain. Theres a sense of order even at the end of a running play with bodies stewn everywhere. When the systems interlock, theres a satisfaction to the game that cant be duplicated. Theres a harmony.”
—Don Delillo (b. 1926)
“Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
Forward the Light Brigade!”
—Alfred Tennyson (18091892)