The National Football League (NFL) is undoubtedly a stronghold. The NFL has existed for over a hundred years. That has inevitably translated into a wealth of fascinating history as it evolved. Apart from NFL odds, its journey to becoming one of the most popular sports in America is something all fans find intriguing.
Read on for interesting NFL facts you probably didn’t know, including the first black player in NFL history and why the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio.
NFL Games Were not Paused after JFK’s Assassination
When JFK was assassinated in 1963, the United States was in mourning. Despite this, then-commissioner Pete Rozelle decided to continue games scheduled for the following Sunday.
Though Rozelle later regretted his decision, he stated that he did so because football was “Mr. Kennedy’s game,” JFK would have wanted the games to continue after the tragedy.
Was this decision wrong? That depends on your perspective, but one could argue that we require a sense of camaraderie in times of sorrow, and football undoubtedly serves that purpose. We can also say that canceling the games would at least have shown honor to a great president. One shoe size truly doesn’t fit all.
NFL Players Once Played the Game Without Helmets
That might make you cringe, but until 1943, NFL players were not required to wear helmets while playing. Helmets were also not required in college gridiron (now known as NCAA) football until 1939, so if a player ever suffered a significant head injury while running, they could blame it on this rule.
Black Professional Footballers in the NFL
Fritz Pollard was the first African-American to play in the NFL during its early years in 1920. However, in the years following Fritz’s departure, the NFL owners imposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that prohibited drafting any additional black players.
UCLA talents Kenny Washington and Woody Strode joined the Los Angeles Rams when the Los Angeles Coliseum threatened to eject the Team unless it recruited an African-American player.
However, before the NFL’s formation in 1920, the first black professional footballer was Charles Follis, who played for Shelby Blues from 1902 to 1906.
Pro-Football Hall of Fame
There are three reasons why the Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio.
- The National Football League (The American Professional Football Association) was established in Canton, Ohio, on September 17, 1920.
- Canton residents launched a dedicated and well-organized campaign to obtain the site designation for their city in the early 1960s.
- The Canton Bulldogs went 25 games without losing between 1921 and 1923 (22 victories, three ties) and won two NFL championships (1922,1923). Their current unbeaten streak is the longest in NFL history. Like NFL lines, they were successful, contributing to the NFL’s decision to establish the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. NFL legend Jim Thorpe was a member of their Team at the time.
In 1961, the National Football League chose Canton as the designated site for the Hall of Fame. The original building’s construction began on August 11, 1962, and on September 7, 1963, the Hall officially opened its doors. The museum has expanded four times, from its original 19,000 square feet to its current 118,000 square foot football facility (1971, 1978, 1995, and 2012–2013).
The NFC and The AFC
The NFL has two conferences. The National Football Conference (NFC) and The American Football Conference (AFC).
The NFC is considered the most important conference because it has won more games than the AFC. The NFC has a more potent passing attack and well-rounded ground game, contributing to their success.
The Team With the Most Super Bowl Wins
The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers are the only teams to have won six Super Bowls.
The New England Patriots have had tremendous success over the last two decades as the Team has won back-to-back Super Bowls, most recently against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2018. In 1974, the Pittsburgh Steelers won their first championship.
Like Vegas NFL odds, the NFL is bound to make great strides in time continually, and we cannot wait to see how they evolve in the coming years.