NFL History

American football changed in 1920, when a group of 14 men decided that the game needed to go professional with the meeting taking place in a car dealership in Ohio. After much discussion they created the American Professional Association (APFA). Two years later in 1922 the group of men renamed the league to the National Football League (NFL).  

The early days of the NFL saw teams such as Arkon Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Chicago Cardinals, Buffalo All-Americans, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Tigers (folded in 1921), Columbus Panhandles, Dayton Triangles, Green Bay Packers, Rock Island Independents, Toledo Maroons, Kenosha Maroons, Decatur Staleys, Detroit, Hammond Pros, Muncie Flyers, Racine Flyers and Rochester Jeffersons.  

While the NFL had been operating, by the time the 1960s rolled around there was a new American football league to rival the NFL as the American Football League (AFL) became a rival league in 1959 which saw the Boston Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Houston Oilers, Miami Dolphins, New York Titans (became the New York Jets in 1963), Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Texans (Kansas City Chiefs), Denver Broncos, Los Angeles / San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders compete in the AFL. 

The AFL lasted only 11 years, as by the time 1970 came the two leagues agreed to merge to create the NFL as we know it today with the following teams competing in the NFL; 

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Baltimore Ravens
  • Buffalo Bills
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Cincinnati Bengals
  • Chicago Bears
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Denver Broncos 
  • Detroit Lions
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts 
  • Kansas City Chiefs 
  • Los Angeles Chargers 
  • Los Angeles Rams 
  • Las Vegas Raiders 
  • Jacksonville Jaguars 
  • Miami Dolphins 
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New England Patriots
  • New Orleans Saints
  • New York Giants
  • New York Jets
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • San Francisco 49ers 
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Washington Football Team

NFL Dominant Decades

Since the American Football League and the National Football League merged to create one major league in 1970 there have been a few teams that have dominated the NFL landscape. 

The New England Patriots have been arguably the most dominant franchise in the modern era appearing in 11 Super Bowls since 1997 and winning six but it wasn’t until the 2001 season which sparked the modern dynasty, when they claimed their first Super Bowl title. 

The Patriots went back-to-back in the 2003 and 2004 seasons, and since the turn of the 2010’s they have had to wait every two years winning the Super Bowl in the 2014, 2016 and their most recent 2018 seasons. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the mid to late 1970s when they appeared in four Super Bowls and claimed four titles. San Francisco 49ers dominated a decade later and their reign spanned nine years from 1981 to 1989 winning four Super Bowl titles. The Dallas Cowboys were one of the teams to beat in the 1990s winning three Super Bowls from 1992-1995. 

While many teams may have appeared in three Super Bowls consecutively, no team since the merger in 1970 has gone on a three-peat, as many teams have only won back-to-back Vince Lombardi trophies. 

NFL Super Bowl

While the NFL and the AFL merged together in 1970 to create the league as we know it today, the Super Bowl has been around since 1966. Since the first addition of the Super Bowl in 1966 there have been many teams that have won it multiple times.

The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, in particular, lead the way as they have both been the dominant forces when it comes to clinching the Vince Lombardi Trophy as both of them have won it six times. 

The Dallas Cowboys have won it five times and so have San Francisco 49ers, while the Green Bay Packers have won it four times including the first two Super Bowls. The New York Giants have been the most successful team in the city and they have also won it four times. 

The Denver Broncos, Washington Football Team (formerly known as the Washington Redskins), Las Vegas Raiders (formerly known as the Oakland Raiders) have all won it three times. The Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts (were known as the Baltimore Colts from 1953-1984), Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens have all won it twice. 

Meanwhile a few teams have only lifted the biggest prize in the NFL just once such as was the case with the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. 

The Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills have appeared in the NFL’s biggest showpiece event four times but both have failed to win any of their chances on the big stage (the most any team has appeared in the Super Bowl without winning it). 

Others that have not won the major event are Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Chargers, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans (formerly known as the Houston Oilers and the Tennessee Oilers), Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

NFL All Star - Pro Bowl Game

The NFL Pro Bowl is the NFL’s version of the All Star game which sees the American Football Conference take on the National Football Conference during the Super Bowl weekend. 

The selection process is another interesting component to the Pro-Bowl as nearly everyone has a part to play. In order for a player to get picked to represent their conference they are voted in by their players, coaches and even fans vote through the official NFL website. 

One of the rules of the Pro-Bowl though, is that the players who are competing who play in the Super Bowl do not play in the Pro-Bowl, which means they have replacements for those players.  

Despite the festive fever floating around the NFL circles due to the Super Bowl weekend, the Pro-Bowl has in many times done the opposite effect. The Pro-Bowl has usually drawn criticism because of the lacklustre fanfare it creates because many big name players are usually not participating in the game due to injury concerns. This is one of the many reasons why it has not generated enough fanfare or even viewership on TV

That may have been the case back then, but the 2019 Pro-Bowl was stacked with talent as Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson played on the same team as well as star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson also sharing the same jersey. In the 2019 game the American Football Conference defeated the National Football Conference 38-33. 

Greatest NFL Player Of All Time

There have been many great players step foot in the NFL, however, it is hard to go past Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, John Elway, Vince Lombardi and Joe Montana. 

Many casual NFL fans or even people who have a passing interest in the game would have heard of Tom Brady who made a name for himself when he debuted for the New England Patriots in 2000. Brady would spend the next 19 years with the side helping them to six Super Bowls throughout that time. 

The 43-year-old is a six time Super Bowl winner with the New England Patriots, four time Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, four time NFL passing touchdowns leader, three time passing yards leader and made the NFL’s 100th Anniversary All Time-Team. Ahead of the 2020 season, Brady decided to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Peyton Manning is also another player that should be in contention when discussing the greatest of all time. He has played for two franchises the first he spent 13 years at the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2011. He then moved to the Denver Broncos for three seasons from 2012 to 2015. 

Manning has won two Super Bowls, an MVP in Super Bowl XLI, five time NFL MVP, twice named offensive player of the year, three time passing rating leader, three times NFL passing leader, four times most NFL passing touchdown leader. 

John Elway is another player worth considering a nomination for greatest of all time, as he helped put the Denver Broncos on the map in the 1980s and the 1990s. Elway played for one team throughout his whole career which spanned 15 years in the orange, having been a part of the team from 1983 to 1998. 

Elway had a stunning career at the Broncos being part of a two time winning Super Bowl team, being crowned a Super Bowl MVP in the XXXIII addition, being named the 1987 NFL MVP and ranked second in terms of passing yards with 51,475. 

Elway also threw 50,000 + yards becoming one of 10 NFL quarterbacks to acquire that feat, was named in the NFL All Decade Team for the 1990s and to top it all off he has the most passing yards in Broncos history.

Betting on the NFL

It wasn’t too long ago that you weren’t allowed to bet on the NFL, but now there are more ways to bet than ever, with the NFL also recently allowing sportsbooks to sponsor the league, with Caesars Entertainment becoming the first official casino sponsor. 

Here at SportsTips, we provide you with the best in depth analysis of the best NFL picks and parlays as well as expert NFL predictions for every game, every week. We also keep a close eye on the all important odds, if you want to know more about NFL odds, make sure you check out that page.

For an in-depth explanation on how NFL betting works, the most popular NFL markets and odds and payout examples, check out our NFL betting page! It is important to get all the necessary information before placing your NFL bets, you want to pick a winner right?!

NFL Teams FAQs

Who is predicted to win the Super Bowl?

After winning the Super Bowl last season it is no wonder that the current holders Kansas City are the favourites to go back-to-back paying +360 to claim Super Bowl LV. Baltimore Ravens are the second favorite to take the trophy going at +600, while Seattle Seahawks are the third team in line to claim it paying +800. 

How are the NFL Pro-Bowl teams picked? 

The good thing about selecting players for the NFL Pro-Bowl event is that everyone gets a say in who should be in the team from the coaches, players and even the fans have a bit of the action too. 

In order to get selected to play in the NFL Pro-bowl, the coaches and players vote for who they think should represent their chosen conference (the American Football Conference or the National Football Conference). The fans also have a say as they can vote on who they want in the two Pro-Bowl teams via the NFL website, whoever has the most votes gets picked. 

Who has the first pick in the NFL draft?

At the moment the New York Giants have the first pick in the 2021 NFL draft, however, with live pick trading throughout the draft and even before the draft it does mean that the number one pick could end up elsewhere. 

How many picks are in the NFL draft?

There are a total of 32 picks in the NFL draft, with the Super Bowl champions getting the last pick. 

How do you read NFL odds?

There are multiple different types of displaying and reading odds, including American, fraction and decimal odds. For information on different odd types, how to read odds and how to do the math on how much money you might win, check our understanding betting odds article on our betting guides page

How to bet on the NFL playoffs? 

Sports Tips will provide you with current odds, spreads, over / under totals and all the NFL information you need before making any bets. There are multiple different betting agencies available to bet on NFL games including PointsBet, FanDuel and DraftKings among others, however as of June 10th there are only 18 states with legalised sports betting. If you want to know which sportsbooks are available in your state, check out our sportsbook review page.

How to watch the NFL playoffs?

There are many ways to watch the NFL regular season and the NFL playoffs. You can watch both on CBS, Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network. With the increasing popularity of streaming services becoming available it means you can watch the NFL wherever you go. 

You can watch the NFL on the go via NFL Game Pass, CBS All Access, Fox Sports App, NBC Sports App, ESPN App, Amazon Prime Video. Many other clubs also provide their own services to their live games such as on their app and websites. 

How many games are there in the NFL playoffs?

There are three games during the NFL playoffs excluding the Super Bowl. The NFL playoffs consist of three games before the Super Bowl. The first of the playoffs matches is the wildcard playoffs, then the divisional, conference and then the Super Bowl.

How do the NFL playoffs work?

Traditionally the playoffs have consisted of 12 teams but in 2020 the league has expanded it to 14 teams. The way it works is 14 teams will compete with seven teams from each conference, this includes the eight divisional winners plus the six wildcard teams. The six wildcard teams are three teams that have the best record but didn’t win their division. 

As normal they use a seeding system based on each team’s performance throughout the regular season. Like normal the team who is seeded #1 will get the bye in the first week of the playoffs. 

The first round of the playoffs will see the franchises who are seeded 2-7 playoff against each other which includes the three divisional winners from each conference playing the wildcard teams. The divisional round sees the top seed in each conference play against the lowest seed who won their wildcard playoff match the week previously. 

After the divisional round comes the championship game which consists of four teams from the divisional round and then the two winners from the championship game square off against each other in the Super Bowl. 

What does the NFL stand for?

The NFL stands for National Football League. 

Who has the most NFL Super Bowls?

There are a few teams that have won the Super Bowl multiple times, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots have won the most Super Bowls as they both have won it six times. 

When is the NFL Pro-Bowl Game?

The NFL Pro-Bowl is held the week before the Super Bowl. The Pro-Bowl will be on January 31, 2021 for the 2020 NFL season. 

When does the NFL regular season start?

The NFL season starts in early September. Despite COVID-19 impacting many sporting leagues around the world, the 2020 NFL season started on its proposed date of September 10. 

How long is an NFL game?

An NFL game typically lasts 3 hours and 12 minutes, which consists of four 15 minute quarters. 

When do the NFL playoffs start?

After the regular season is completed the attention then turns to the playoffs. The playoffs typically start in early January. The playoffs for the 2020 season start on January 9, with the Super Bowl being played on February 7. 

How many games are there in an NFL season?

During the regular season the NFL consists of 16 games over a 17 round season with each team having a bye once. 

What does spread mean in betting in the NFL?

The spread is the amount of points that the sportsbooks think the favourites should win the game by. The bigger the favourite is for the game, the bigger their points spread is they have to cover to win the spread bet.