The National Football League, as it exists today, is a far cry from its origins as a competition between two Pittsburgh athletic clubs, the Allegheny Athletic Association and the Pittsburgh Athletic Club in 1892. The former was the first fully professional team. In 1902, Philadelphia baseball teams joined forces to create professional football teams. They supported the Pittsburgh Stars by combining to form a professional football league.The first World Series of Football was a competition between New York (mainly players from the Philadelphia Phillies and Athletics), the Syracuse AC, the New York Knickerbockers, the Warlow AC, and the Orange AC. The next year, interest and support shifted from Pennsylvania to Ohio.
Organizational trends began in 1920. The Akron Pros, the Canton Bulldogs, the Cleveland Indians, and the Dayton Triangles met and formed the American Professional Football Conference. A month later, another meeting was held. Four states introduced several city teams, and the name of the of the organization was changed to the American Professional Football Association (APFA). By 1922, the APFA would be known as the National Football League and consist of eighteen teams.
The American Football League (AFL) was formed in 1959. The AFL and the NFL remained separate entities until merging in 1970. The NFL was then broken down into the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Both groups currently evenly split thirty-six teams into four divisions, north, east, west, and south.
Monday Night Football has been a staple of the season since 1970. Though games have been played on some Thursdays since 1986, Thursday Night Football is not scheduled under that moniker until 2006. Thanksgiving Day Games have been played since 1920, and the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions have played more Thanksgiving Day games than any other franchise.The Chicago Cardinals (presently in Arizona) and the Decatur Staleys (presently the Chicago Bears) are the only original teams left in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers hold the title of the only franchise to remain in the same city under the same name.
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