NFL, National Football League

National Football LeagueNFL History

In 1920 the American Professional Football Association was formally organized to begin play in fall of 1920. The original teams were:

  • Canton Bulldogs
  • Cleveland Tigers
  • Dayton Triangles
  • Akron Professionals
  • Rochester (N.Y.) Jeffersons
  • Rock Island Independents
  • Muncie Flyers
  • Decatur Staleys
  • Chicago Cardinals
  • Hammond Pros

The Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Tigers, Columbus Panhandles and Detroit Heralds also joined the league prior to the 1920 season. The Chicago Tigers fold between the 1920 and 1921 seasons. In 1921 the league is reorganized, the Decatur team moving to Chicago and a number of new teams added. Teams that joined the APFA for the 1921 season were:

  • Green Bay Packers
  • Cincinnati Celts (played 1921 season only)
  • Minneapolis Marines
  • Evansville Crimson Giants
  • Tonawanda Kardex (AKA Lumbermen – played 1921 season only)
  • Washington Senators (played 1921 season only)
  • New York Brickleys Giants (played 1921 season only)
  • Louisville Brecks

Teams that folded between 1921 and 1922 seasons:

  • New York Brickleys Giants
  • Washington Senators
  • Tonawanda Kardex
  • Cleveland Tigers
  • Muncie Flyers
  • Cincinnati Celts
  • Detroit Heralds

In 1922 the APFA revises its name to the National Football League and the Chicago Staleys change their name to the Chicago Bears Teams that joined the NFL for the 1922 season were:

  • Milwaukee Badgers
  • Marion Oorang Indians
  • Racine Legion
  • Toledo Maroons

Teams that folded between the 1922 and 1923 seasons:

  • Columbus Panhandles
  • Evansville Crimson Giants

In 1923 the team rotation continued with

  • Columbus Tigers
  • Duluth Kelleys
  • St. Louis All-Stars (played only the 1923 season)
  • Cleveland Indians (played only the 1923 season)

joining the league and

  • Canton Bulldogs
  • Cleveland Indians
  • Louisville Brecks
  • Marion Oorang Indians
  • Racine Legion
  • St. Louis All-Stars
  • Toledo Maroons

leaving. In 1924 the Buffalo All-Americans changed their name to Buffalo Bisons and the following teams joined the league:

  • Cleveland Bulldogs
  • Frankford Yellow Jackets
  • Kansas City Blues
  • Kenosha Maroons (play 1924 season only)

Teams that folded between the 1924 and 1925 seasons:

  • Kenosha Maroons
  • Minneapolis Marines
  • Columbus Tigers

In 1925 the Kansas City Blues changed their name to the Kansas City Cowboys, the Canton Bulldogs re-entered the NFL after an inactive 1924 season, the Rock Island Independents leave the NFL for the rival AFL at end of the season and the Racine Legion goes inactive for 1925 season.

Teams that joined the NFL for the 1925 season:

  • New York Giants
  • Providence Steam Roller
  • Pottsville Maroons
  • Detroit Panthers

Teams that folded between the 1925 and 1926 seasons:

  • Cleveland Bulldogs
  • Rochester Jeffersons

In 1926 the Buffalo Bisons change their name to the Buffalo Rangers and the following teams joined the league:

  • Hartford Blues
  • Brooklyn Lions
  • Los Angeles Buccaneers
  • The Akron Pros change their name to the Akron Indians
  • The Racine Tornadoes (formerly the Racine Legion) re-enter the NFL
  • The Duluth Kelleys become the Duluth Eskimos
  • The Louisville Colonels (formerly the Louisville Brecks) re-enter the NFL as a road team out of Chicago

Teams that folded between the 1926 and 1927 seasons:

  • Kansas City Cowboys
  • Los Angeles Buccaneers
  • Buffalo Rangers
  • Detroit Panthers
  • Hartford Blues
  • Brooklyn Lions
  • Milwaukee Badgers
  • Akron Indians
  • Racine Tornadoes
  • Columbus Tigers
  • Canton Bulldogs
  • Hammond Pros
  • Louisville Colonels

In 1927 the teams that joined the NFL for the 1927 season:

  • Cleveland Bulldogs (playeded only the 1927 season)
  • New York Yankees

Teams that folded between the 1927 and 1928 seasons:

  • Buffalo Bison
  • Cleveland Bulldogs
  • Duluth Eskimos

In 1928 the Detroit Wolverines are granted an NFL franchise but play only the 1928 season and the New York Yankees fold at end of the season. In 1929 teams that joined the NFL:

  • Buffalo Bisons (played 1929 season only)
  • Minneapolis Red Jackets
  • Staten Island Stapletons
  • Orange Tornadoes
  • Boston Bulldogs (played only 1929 season)

Teams that fold between the 1929 and 1930 seasons:

  • Dayton Triangles
  • Buffalo Bisons
  • Boston Bulldogs

In 1930 teams that join the NFL:

  • Portsmouth Spartans
  • Brooklyn Dodgers
  • The Orange Tornadoes change their name to the Newark Tornadoes

Teams that fold between the 1930 and 1931 seasons:

  • Minneapolis Red Jackets
  • Newark Tornadoes

In 1931 the Cleveland Indians join the NFL (played 1931 season only) and the following teams folded:

  • Cleveland Indians
  • Providence Steam Roller

In 1932 the Frankford Yellow Jackets disband, the Boston Braves joined the NFL and the Staten Island Stapletons folded after the 1932 season. In 1933 the Boston Braves changed their name to the Boston Redskins and the following teams joined the league:

  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Cincinnati Reds
  • Philadelphia Eagles

In 1934 the NFL splits into two divisions, the Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit and are renamed the Detroit Lions. The Cincinnati Reds are allowed to move to St. Louis and became the St. Louis Gunners, folding after 1934 season

Eastern Division

Boston Redskins
Brooklyn Dodgers
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Pirates

Western Division

Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Cincinnati Reds
Green Bay Packers
Portsmouth Spartans

1n 1937 the Cleveland Rams are awarded an NFL franchise in the Western Division and the Boston Redskins moved to Washington. In 1941 the Pittsburgh Pirates are renamed the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1943 the Cleveland Rams suspend operations and the Eagles and Steelers merge for one season to the Phil-Pitt Steagles. In 1944 the Cardinals and Steelers merge, renamed the Card-Pitt. In 1944 the Brooklyn Dodgers were renamed the Brooklyn Tigers, the Boston Yanks are granted an NFL franchise and added to the Eastern Division. In 1945 the Brooklyn Tigers and the Boston Yanks. In 1946 the Cleveland Rams moved to Los Angeles and the Brooklyn team was formally disbanded. In 1949 the Boston Yanks move to New York and become the New York Bulldogs. The new AAFC dissolves after the 1949 season and the Browns, 49ers and Colts move into the NFL for the 1950 season.

In 1950 the New York Bulldogs change their name to the New York Yanks, the Baltimore Colts folded after the season was over and the NFL realignes it's divisions.

 

American Conference

Chicago Cardinals
Cleveland Browns
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
Pittsburgh Steelers
Washington Redskins
San Francisco 49ers

National Conference

Baltimore Colts
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Los Angeles Rams
New York Yanks

In 1952 the New York Yankees folded, the NFL sells the assets of the Yanks to a Dallas group to become the Dallas Texans, folding mid season and playing the rest of their season as a road team. In 1953 the NFL moves the Dallas Texans franchise to Baltimore Colts.

In 1959 the Ameican Football League (AFL) is formally organized with the following charter members. A franchise in the Twin Cities is added before play beings in 1960:

 

Eastern Division

Boston Patriots
Buffalo Bills
Houston Oilers
New York Titans

Western Division

Dallas Texans
Denver Broncos
Los Angeles Chargers

In 1969 the Dallas Cowboys franchise is awarded by the NFL to begin play 1960. Twin Cities is also awarded a franchise by the NFL, which is later named the Minnesota Vikings and begins play in 1961. Because of this the AFL Minnesota team is withdrawn. The Oakland Raiders are awarded an AFL franchise into the Western Division to replace Minnesota. The same year Chicago Cardinals move to St. Louis and the AFL starts league play.

In 1961 the Los Angeles Chargers moved to San Diego, the AFL approves expansion into Atlanta and Chicago. In 1963 the New York Titans are renamed the Jets and the Texans move to Kansas City and are renamed the Chiefs, In 1965 the NFL awarded Atlanta a new franchise to begin play in the Eastern Conference in 1966. Miami is awarded a franchise by the AFL and is named the Dolphins, beginning play in the Eastern Division in 1966. In 1966 the NFL and AFL effectively merge with plans to go to a 2 conference 4 division setup in 1970 or later. New Orleans is awarded a franchise by the NFL, to be later named the Saints and to begin play in the Eastern Conference in 1967. Atlanta is moved to the Western Conference. For the 1967 season, the conferences will be split up as follows:

Eastern Conference
   
Capitol Division

Dallas Cowboys
New Orleans Saints
Philadelphia Eagles
Washington Redskins

Century Division

Cleveland Browns
New York Giants
Pittsburgh Steelers
St. Louis Cardinals

Western Conference
   
Central Division

Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

Coastal Division

Atlanta Falcons
Baltimore Colts
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers

In 1967 the Cincinnati Bengals franchise was awarded by the AFL to begin play in the Western Division in 1968. In 1970 the NFL and AFL merge their schedules and go to the current two conference, six division format. The AFL becomes the AFC with the Steelers, Browns and Colts moved there from the NFL. The rest of the NFL becomes the NFC. This results in the following alignment.

 

American Conference
     
East Division Central Division West Division
     
Baltimore Colts
Boston Patiots
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns
Houston Oilers
Pittsburgh Steelers

Denver Broncos
Kansas City Cheifs
Oakland Raiders
San Diego Chargers

National Conference
     
East Division Central Division West Division
     
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Philadelphia Eagles
St. Louis Cardinals
Washington Redskins
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings

Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints
Los Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ers

In 1971 the Boston Patriots move to Foxboro and are renamed the New England Patriots. In 1974 Tampa Bay is awarded a franchise by the NFL and begins play in 1976 in the AFC West and switch to the NFC Central in 1977 while Seattle is awarded a franchise by the NFL and begins play in 1976 in the NFC West and switch to the AFC West in 1977. In 1982 the Oakland Raiders move to Los Angeles. In 1984 the Baltimore Colts move to Indianapolis, In 1988 the St. Louis Cardinals move to Phoenix. In 1993 the Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars are awarded an NFL franchises to begin play in 1995. In 1994 the Phoenix Cardinals are renamed the Arizona Cardinals. In 1995 the Los Angeles Rams are moved to St. Louis and the Los Angeles Raiders move back to Oakland. In 1996 the Cleveland Browns move to Baltimore to begin play in 1996 as the Baltimore Ravens. In 1997 the Houston Oilers move to Memphis and become the Tennessee Oilers. In 1998 Cleveland is granted a franchise, to be named the Cleveland Browns, and will begin play in 1999. The Tennessee Oilers move from Memphis to Nashville and the New England Patriots announce their intention to move to Hartford.

In 2002 the Houston Texans started play.

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