This year, the NFL season is 18 weeks long. Here’s why that is, and what it means for fans and players.
The NFL’s History
The National Football League was created in 1920, and since then, the number of games played in a season has varied. In the beginning, there were only 10 games in a season. The NFL expanded to 12 games in 1961, then 14 games in 1978. Currently, there are 16 games in a season. So, why are there 18 weeks in the NFL this year?
The NFL’s founding in 1920
In August of 1920, representatives from four professional American football teams – the Decatur Staleys, the Chicago Cardinals, the Racine Cardinals, and the Canton Bulldogs – met in Canton, Ohio to form the American Professional Football Association. This new league would eventually be known as the National Football League (NFL).
At this meeting, these representatives agreed on a few key points that would shape the NFL as we know it today. One was that there would be a championship game played between the top teams at the end of each season. Another was that player transactions would be allowed between teams in order to ensure that every team had a chance to be competitive.
The NFL has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1920. What started as a league with only four teams has now grown to 32 teams across the United States. The NFL has become one of the most popular sports leagues in America, with an average of 18 million viewers tuning in to watch each week during the regular season.
Why are there 18 weeks in the NFL this year? This is because the NFL wanted to add two more playoff teams (for a total of 14) while also keeping its 16-game regular season schedule. This means that each team will play 16 games in 17 weeks, with one bye week built into their schedule.
The NFL’s first game in 1922
The National Football League (NFL) was established in 1922, when it was simply known as the American Professional Football Association (APFA). The APFA was formed by 11 teams in order to standardize the rules of professional football.
The NFL’s first game was played on October 3, 1922, between the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Cardinals. The Bears won 9-7. In its first season, the NFL had 14 teams. By its second season, the league had grown to 22 teams.
In 1932, the NFL introduced a playoff system to determine its champion. The first NFL playoff game was played on December 18, 1932, between the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans (now known as the Detroit Lions). The Bears won 19-16.
The NFL continued to grow in popularity and by 1960, it had grown to include 13 teams in two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. In 1970, the NFL merged with the American Football League (AFL), which added another 10 teams to the league.
The NFL’s Development
The National Football League (NFL) is the most popular and well-known American football league in the world. The NFL was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) with ten teams from four states. The league has since grown to 32 teams, divided equally into the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
The NFL’s first championship game in 1923
In the 1920s, professional football was a loose knit collection of football clubs from Canton, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown and Columbus. In an effort to make the sport more organized and enhance its credibility, a championship game was proposed.
The first NFL championship game was played on December 18, 1923. The game featured the Akron Pros, who went 8-0-3 in the regular season, against the Chicago Bears. The Bears had gone 9-3 in the regular season and were heavy favorites against Akron. The game was close, with Chicago winning by a score of 6-0
This title game became known as the NFL Championship Game until 1960 when it was renamed the AFL-NFL World Championship Game after the two leagues merged. This name would be used until 1970 when it was renamed the Super Bowl.
The NFL’s first playoff game in 1932
The first playoff game in NFL history was the 1932 NFL Playoff Game, a contest between the Chicago Bears and the Portsmouth Spartans to decide the NFL championship. The teams had tied for first place in the league standings with 6-1-6 records (a win was worth two points, a tie was worth one point, and a loss was worth zero points), so a playoff game was needed to decide who would be the league’s champion for that season.
The NFL’s Modern Era
The National Football League’s regular season has been 16 games long since 1978. That might change soon, as the NFL is considering expanding the regular season to 18 games. This would mean two more games for each team, and more revenue for the league. But is it worth it?
The NFL’s first Super Bowl in 1967
The NFL’s first Super Bowl in 1967 was a watershed moment for the league. The game, which featured the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs, was a resounding success, with more than 60,000 fans in attendance and over 51 million viewers glued to their TVs. In the years that followed, the Super Bowl quickly became the most watched event on television, culminating in its current status as America’s biggest sporting event.
While the NFL has undergone a number of changes since its inception, one of the most notable is the length of its season. In 1967, the NFL season consisted of 14 games, with each team playing two games per week. However, in 1978, the league expanded to 16 games and added two bye weeks for each team. In response to concerns about player safety, the NFL further expanded its season to 17 weeks in 1993. And finally, in 2002, the league added a seventh week of playoffs, resulting in the 18-week season we have today.
While there are a number of factors that have contributed to the lengthening of the NFL season, one of the most important is television. The increased revenues from television contracts have allowed the NFL to grow exponentially in recent years. In fact, according to Forbes magazine, the NFL is now the most valuable sports league in America, worth an estimated $63 billion. As such, it’s no surprise that television plays such a big role in shaping the length and structure of the NFL season.
The NFL’s current structure
The NFL’s modern era began in 1933 with the formation of the first professional football league, the NFL. The league has undergone several structural changes since then, the most recent being the expansion of the regular season from 16 games to 17 games in 2021.
The NFL currently consists of 32 teams divided into two conferences, the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). Each conference is further divided into four divisions, and each division is made up of four teams.
The regular season consists of 17 weeks, during which each team plays 16 games and has one bye week. The bye week is scheduled so that each team has a break between games at roughly the same point in the season.
At the end of the regular season, the top team in each division automatically qualifies for the playoffs. In addition, six wildcard teams (the three best non-division-winning teams in each conference) also qualify for the playoffs. The playoffs are a single-elimination tournament that culminates with the Super Bowl, which is currently played on the first Sunday in February.