The National Football League (NFL) is the biggest Professional American Football League, with 32 participating US teams, divided into two conferences: The American Conference (AFC) and the National Conference (NFC). Each conference is brokered into four divisions with four teams each, labeled East, West, North and South.
During the season, each team plays 16 games in a seventeen-week period between the months of September and January. At the end of the regular season, the best six teams of each conference play the “play off”, that is an elimination tournament with one game per round that culminates with the NFL championship final, the Super Bowl. This game is played in a pre-selected city that hosts a team or an important University team. One week later, selected All-star players from both conferences meet in the Pro Bowl, currently held in Hawaii.
Created in 1920 as “American Association of Professional Football” (it adopted the name of National Football League in 1922), the NFL is one of the four big US professional leagues. Besides, it is the competition with the highest audience levels around the world (67,593 spectators per game), well ahead of the second sports league, the German football Bundesleague (35,000 spectators).
The huge NFL popularity out break came out during the 60´s and 70´s, shortly after the NFL’s final ended in extension and the birth of the American Football League (AFL, later taken over by the NFL). Before the 70´s, the most popular American football version was played at universities. Many players, however, stood out by playing in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after graduating, given that they were better paid there than in their own country.
The league has headquarters in two cities. The main office is in New York and due to the popularity of the NFL in the southern and southeastern states, there is a second office in Nashville.
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the NFL, the American football professional league of the Unites States. The Super Bowl TV broadcast is often the event with the largest audience of the year in that country.
The Super Bowl final (Super Bowl Sunday or Super Sunday), held on a Sunday in February, is the major sports event in the United States, and one of the most important worldwide. The sports fest is a show, publicity and consumption fest as well.
Some data about the mega-event:
It is the sports event with the largest audience in North America, and one of the most seen sports events in the planet, with 135 million average spectators in over 130 countries and broadcasted in 31 different languages. The FIFA World Cup final that in 2002 had around 1,100 million spectators beats it, however.
A Half advertising minute costs some US$ 2.5 million.
During the event Americans consume around 5% of the overall amounts of beer sold in the USA.
Artists like Sting, Paul McCartney, U2, Shania Twain, Phil Collins, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and Britney Spears are invited to the previous show and to halftimes.
Super Bowl has been held ever since 1967 as the game between the NFL winner and the AFL winner, something that has changed since the Super Bowl IV when the NFL took over the old rival football league. The first championship game was played in Los Angeles Memorial Stadium in January 1967 between Green Bay Packers, NFL champions, and Kansas City Chiefs, AFL champions. In that game the Packers took the lead in the game so called “First World Championship Game AFL vs. NFL”. The first MVP in that game was Bart Starr, Packers’ quarterback.
The Super Bowl trophy for the 1969 III edition was baptized Vince Lombardi Trophy in honor of Vince Lombardi, the first Head coach to win it (with the Green Bay Packers), who also won the second championship with the same team as well as many others in the old NFL.
The New York Jets were the first AFLs to win the Super Bowl in the 1969 edition after defeating the Baltimore Colts.
The Super Bowl was the first in which the MVP of the game belonged to the losing team: Chuck Howley, Line Backer of the Dallas Cowboys who were defeated by the Baltimore Colts after O’Brien afforded them triumph by scoring a field goal in the fourth half of the game.
Miami Dolphins become the first team to win a season unbeaten with a 14-0 score , defeating the Washington Redskins in the 1973 VII edition in Los Angeles.
The XII edition was the first to be played in a close stadium, the New Orleans Loussiana Super Dome, where the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Denver Broncos in 1978.
The Raiders are the first team to win the Super Bowl playing for two different cities: in the XI and XV edition playing for Oakland and in 1984 playing for Los Angeles in the XVIII edition.
Joe Montana, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers is the player with most (3) MVPs (Most Valuable Player), and 4 Super Bowl victories with the same team.
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