Every time a National Football record falls, or an event transpires that affects the league as a whole, a statistician dutifully documents it. The new record, or event, joins a long list of other memorable dates that dot the history of the National Football League.
The American Professional Football Association became a reality, according to “History of the NFL Timeline.” The League inauspiciously began with four teams and, in 1922; a name change gave birth to the National Football League. Within a month, 10 other teams joined the league.
The American Professional Football Association played its first game, and the Dayton Flyers defeated the Columbus Panhandle, 14-0. The fledgling league struggled in its infanthood, and in the next 12 years over 40 teams joined the Football Association, only to drop out.
The Akron Pros were the American Professional Football Associations first league champion, but only four of the original fourteen teams remained.
First, the Green Bay Packers, then the Chicago Bears joined the league. Today, the Packers are the National Football Leagues oldest franchise.
The American Professional Football Association’s legal name became the National Football League. (NFL)
In a move to curb turnover, the National Football League cancelled the contracts of 10 financially strapped teams. The move left only 12 teams in the league.
The drafting of college players began. Heisman Trophy Winner Jay Berwanger was the first player chosen. Rather than play professional football, he chose to pursue a career in plastics.
The National Broadcasting Company broadcast the first televised football game. In 1939, less than 1000 televisions were in New York City, so, no one took viewer statistics of the game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
World War 2 left a shortage of available players, and some in-state teams combined players in order to field a team. The NFL struggled, but survived the war.
Football became a reality on the west coast, when the St. Louis Rams moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Rams.
The Los Angeles Rams painted horns on their leather helmets, and were the first NFL team with a helmet logo.
The Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cleveland Browns 24-17, in the first NFL Championship game televised nationwide.
Norm Van Brocklin threw for 554 yards in a single game against the New York Yanks.
A game that helped propel the NFL up the sports popularity map was the 1958 Colts-Giants NFL Championship Game. The Colts won the game in overtime 23-17.
The legendary Vince Lombardi became head coach of the Green Bay Packers.
The American Football League challenged the supremacy of the National Football League, and with eight teams started a separate league. They gained credibility, when the American Broadcasting Company signed them to a five-year television contract.
The NFL owners elect Pete Rozelle to his first term as NFL Commissioner. He would hold the position for 29 years.
The Huston Oilers defeated the San Diego Chargers 24-16 to win the first AFL Championship game.
The NFL moved its corpo.rate headquarters to the Rockefeller Plaza, in New York City, to give them a more upscale platform to deal with the television and advertising industries.
With Vince Lombardi as their coach, the Green Bay Packers won the first of what would be five titles in the 1960’s.
Jim Brown, the immortalized star of the Cleveland Browns wins his record fifth consecutive league-rushing award. That record stood for 50 years.
Commissioner Pete Rozelle was the force behind the creation of NFL Properties, Inc. Today, the licensing and sale of the NFL insignia and logo is over a billion-dollar industry.
The NFL and AFL negotiate television contracts with NBC and CBS for over $64 million dollars.
Polls show football has surpassed football in popularity.
Effective in 1970, the NFL and AFL agreed to merge as one into the NFL. In addition, until the merger, the two league champions would meet each year in a championship game called the Super Bowl.
The Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10, in the inaugural Super Bowl. The site was the Los Angeles Memorial Stadium that was not filled to capacity, but the television audience was larger than any other audience to view a sports game.
On frozen tundra, otherwise known as Lambeau field the Green Bay Packer needed a last-minute touchdown to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, in the infamous playoff game known as the ice-bowl. The victory sent Green Bay to Super Bowl ll.
In Super Bowl ll, Lombardi’s Packers won their fifth championship in eight years, defeating the Oakland Raiders 34-14. After the game, Vince Lombardi announced his retirement.
The Joe Namath led New York Jets pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history as they defeated the Baltimore Colts, 16-7.
The AFL and NFL merge into two conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC ).
Super Bowl IV had a record crowd of 80,562 watches the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the Minnesota Vikings 23-7.
The Baltimore Colts defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V. Johnny Unitas, the storied, but past his prime Colt quarterback left the game in the first half with an injury. His replacement, Earl Morrill, led the Colts on a late in the game drive, and a field goal provided the margin of victory.
The NFL’s most famous catch of a tipped catch happened in the AFC playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Oakland Raiders. Remembered as the “immaculate reception,” Franco Harris caught the tipped pass from Terry Bradshaw, and ran it for a touchdown with time expiring, to win the game 13-7, and send the Steelers to the AFC finals.
Roger Stabach, Dallas Cowboy quarterback, leads Dallas to an easy 24-3 win over the Miami Dolphins, in Super Bowl VI.
In Super Bowl VII, the Miami Dolphins became the only team in NFL history to complete an undefeated season, when they defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7.
The Miami Dolphins win back to back Super Bowls defeating the Minnesota Vikings 24-7, in Super Bowl VIII.
The Pittsburgh Steelers win their first ever NFL championship, in Super Bowl IX, defeating the Minnesota Vikings 16-6. This began an unprecedented and never duplicated dynasty. The Steelers would win four Super Bowls in the last half of the 1970’s.
The Dallas Cowboys are the next Pittsburgh Steelers victim, as the Steelers win Super Bowl X by the score of 21-17.
In Super Bowl XI, the Minnesota Vikings lose a record fourth Super Bowl to the Oakland Raiders, by the score 32-14.
The Minnesota Vikings give up an NFL one-game record 275 yards to Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton. The yardage would be a record for 23 years.
The Denver Broncos lost Super Bowl XII to the Dallas Cowboys, 27-10. The Broncos turned the ball over a record eight times.
The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XIII. Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a record four touchdown passes.
Coca Cola showed the classic advertisement, during Super Bowl XIII, of Pittsburgh defender “mean Joe Greene” giving his jersey to a young fan, in return for a bottle of Coke.
Super Bowl XIV is the Pittsburgh Steelers fourth Super Bowl championship. They defeated the Los Angles Rams, 31-19. Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw becomes the first player to win back-to-back Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Awards.
The Oakland Raiders defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, 27-10, to win Super Bowl XV.
Super Bowl XVI had an over 49 percent viewer rating. The crowd saw an exciting game as Joe Montana and San Francisco defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, 26-21.
Diana Ross sang at the half time of Super Bowl XVI. It was the first time well-known stars highlighted Super Bowl half times. The tradition continues.
The Washington Redskins defeated the Miami Dolphins 27-17, in Super Bowl XVII. It was Washington’s first NFL championship.
Super Bowl XVIII belonged to the Oakland Raiders, as they handily defeated the Washington Redskins 38-9.
Super Bowl XIX was a day for the San Francisco 49ers offense. In winning his second Super Bowl Joe Montana threw for 331 yards, ran for 59, Roger Craig scored three touchdowns, and the 49ers accounted for a record 537 total yards. Dan Marino and the Miami Dolphins were on the wrong end of a 38-16 score.
The Chicago Bears displayed total superiority in all categories as they demoralized the New England Patriots 46-10, in Super Bowl XX. Led by the their charismatic quarterback Jim McMahon, defensive standouts Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, and William “The Fridge” Perry led the way. Perry played on offense for one play in the third quarter, and scored a touchdown on a one-yard bull-rush.
In Super Bowl XXI, Phil Simms and the New York Giants were victorious over the Denver Broncos by a score of 39-20. Simms completed an amazing 88 percent of his passes that day.
The 1987 season included the first ever NFL Players Association strike The players went on strike for three games, being replaced by players who had never been able to make it in the pro’s. The players wanted free agency and a larger cut of league revenues. After the third game, though, players began crossing the picket line and came back to play. Solidarity was gone, and the games resumed. The players came back to the game without a new contract, or union. No new agreement was official until 1993, but each year the NFL had a season.
John Elway and the Denver Broncos lost Super Bowl XXII to Doug Williams and the Washington Redskins, 42-10. Williams threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns in the blowout.
Super Bowl XXIII saw the San Francisco 49ers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16. Joe Montana led the 49ers to a late score to win the game. Jerry Rice was the games MVP catching 11 passes for a record 215 yards.
Willie Anderson set a receiving record of 336 yards in a game against the New Orleans Saints.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle resigns, and Paul Tagliabue becomes the new Commissioner. Rozelle served for 29 years, and Tagliabue served for 17 years.
The Denver Broncos lost another Super Bowl XXIV blowout, this time 55-10 by the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers won their fourth Super Bowl tying the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only other team to win four Super Bowls. Joe Montana won his third Super Bowl MVP award, and after the game his living legend coach, Bill Walsh resigned.
As time expired in Super Bowl XXV, Buffalo Bills field goal kicker Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal, and the New York Giants won 20-19.
Jim Kelly threw four interceptions, and star running back Thurman Thomas ran for 13 yards, as the Washington Redskins defeated the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI.
Troy Aikman threw for four touchdowns, and the Dallas defense forces nine Buffalo turnovers. The Dallas Cowboys defeat Buffalo 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII.
In Super Bowl XXVIII Dallas wins its fourth Super Bowl, and Buffalo loses a record fourth in a row by the score 30-13.
The Los Angeles Raiders move their franchise to back to Oakland, and the Los Angeles Rams move to St. Louis, leaving Los Angeles without a professional football team.
San Francisco quarterback Steve Young’s patience paid of as Joe Montana retired, and he took over the team. He leads them to Super Bowl XXIX and throws six touchdown passes, breaking Joe Montana’s record of five, while defeating the San Diego Chargers 49-26. With the victory, San Francisco becomes the first team to win five Super Bowls.
Super Bowl XXX saw the Dallas Cowboys win their fifth Super Bowl, defeating the Pittsburg Steelers 27-17.
The Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre defeat the New England Patriots 35-21, in Super Bowl XXXI. For the first time in Super Bowl history, a special team’s player wins the MVP award. Green Bay Packers Desmond Howard wins the award with 244 return yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter that sealed the game.
The Denver Broncos finally get a Super Bowl win, as they defeat the Green Bay Packers 31-24, in Super Bowl XXXII. Terrell Davis rushes for 157 yards, and three touchdowns.
John Elway retires on top, as his last game is a victory over the Atlanta Hawks, 34-19, in Super Bowl XXXIII. He also was the MVP of the game.
Super Bowl XXXIV was Kurt Warner day. The former Arena Football Player won the MVP award when he threw for 414 yards, and two touchdowns, as the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23-16. The game clock was running out when Rams linebacker Mike Jones tackled Titan receiver Kevin Dyson at the Rams one-yard line, to preserve the victory.
The Giants Offense forgot to show up, and Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV 34-7. The Ravens had four sacks and forced five turnovers, as the Giant offense could only muster 152 yards of total offense.
Adam Vinitieri kicked a late 48-yard field goal, and the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI 20-17. The Rams offense outgained the Patriots 427-267, but three Ram turnovers let to 17 of New England’s 20 points.
On a short run in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, Emmitt Smith breaks Walter “Sweetness” Peyton’s rushing record. The 109 yards he gained in that game, brought his record-breaking career total to 16,728 yards.
Super Bowl XXXVII brings the first Super Bowl game win to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they defeat the Oakland Raiders 48-21,
Jamal Lewis, running back for the Baltimore Ravens, sets a one game record rushing for 295 yards against the Cleveland Browns.
Adam Vinatieri kicked a 41 yard field goal with four seconds left, as the New England Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29, in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The New England Patriots defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 to win Super Bowl XXXIX. It is the Patriots third Super Bowl win in four years.
Super Bowl XL is the fifth title for the Pittsburgh Steelers, tying them with Dallas and San Francisco. They defeat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.
Paul Tagliabue retires after seventeen years as Commissioner, and Roger Goodell becomes the next Commissioner.
Arguably, the greatest receiver in NFL history Jerry Rice retires. When he retired, he held the NFL record in total receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.
Peyton Manning finally gets his Super Bowl win, and he is the MVP of Super Bowl XLI. He and the rest of the Indianapolis Colts defeat the Chicago Bears 29-17.
After putting together what was probably the NFL’s most dominant season, in which Tom Brady threw for a record 50 touchdowns, the New England Patriots lose Super Bowl XLII 17-14 to the New York Giants. The Giants score a touchdown with only 35 seconds remaining to win the game. Eli Manning, the quarterback for the Giants, completed five passes in that last-minute drive.
Brett Favre retires as the Green Bay Packer quarterback after 17 years in the league. He retires with the
remarkable record of 253 consecutive starts. However, a few months later he decides he wants to still play, but the Packers have already moved on with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, so, Favre moves on to the Minnesota Vikings.
Super Bowl XLIII becomes the Pittsburgh Steelers record sixth Super Bowl win, when they defeat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-23. The Cardinals came back from a 20-7 deficit to lead with two-minutes left in the game. However, Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field, and with 35 seconds left threw a touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes to win the game.
With only 3:12 left in Super Bowl XLIV, New Orleans Saints’ cornerback Terry Porter intercepted a Peyton Manning pass, and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. This gave the Saints a 31-17 lead, which was the final score.
Will your favorite team, or players, make the “list” this year?”
History of the NFL : History of the NFL Timeline: shmoop.com