When asking Americans what the biggest sport is in the country, they’ll immediately say football or the National Football League (NFL). This sport also happens to be one of the most physical and rigorous sports in the country, beating basketball and baseball by a long stretch.
While it is a completely different sport to European football, which features the actual use of the ‘foot’ to maneuver the ball, it is where a kicker flails the ball past a few yards to hit the endzone. In fact, Americans describe European football with a completely different name called ‘soccer,’ which infuriates a lot of European fans.
Nevertheless, nobody can deny that American football is one of the most exhilarating sports in the world. Its biggest league is the National Football League (NFL), and betting on the teams at bookies like Sportsbet.io is a wonderful experience.
How did the NFL begin, and why should you bet on it right now? Here is everything you need to know about American football and why the NFL is worth watching:
Start of the 20th century: Walter Camp and How Football was Invented
At first, football was formerly known as gridiron football which describes the vertical yard lines that make up the entire field. In the late 19th century, players from Princeton and Rutgers played in the first intercollegiate football tournament in New Brunswick.
There was a man who is often regarded in history as the father of American football. Walter Camp was famously responsible for the transition from rugby-type gameplay into a sport everyone knows today as modern football.
During his undergraduate years at Yale, he played as a halfback and team captain for his university team, which was equivalent to a head coach at that time. More importantly, he was the centerpiece of the rules board of the newly organized Intercollegiate Football Association (IFA).
The Inception of the American Professional Football Association
In 1920, the American Professional Football Association was founded under the Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio. There were eleven teams in total wherein they competed in an interregional tournament. A year later, there were official standings that required teams to be in specific rankings that determined their postseason matchups.
The organization also adopted a new name during the same year and turned into the National Football League, which is a moniker that is still used today. Things looked to progress from that point but didn’t last, as 1926 marked the rise and fall of the league entirely.
After failing to acquire the contract of Red Grange, his manager broke away from the NFL and formed the American Football League (AFL). This became a big problem for the NFL because they were the only direct competitor after struggling to gain audiences in the country.
It seemed for a while that the NFL would remain an experiment until, by some miracle, people slowly gained confidence in the league, which boosted its popularity. Then, in the 50s, the NFL started to gain a lot of traction that carried over throughout the 80s, where it peaked its fame.
The Merging of the AFL and NFL
Since the NFL was incredibly popular, the AFL merged and formed a super league that retained its name, the NFL. This benefited both parties because the AFL can piggyback from the NFL’s success while the latter can take a few features that are absent without the AFL.
For instance, the AFL has an entertaining wider-open passing offense that makes the games much more exciting to watch and play. Also, player names at the back of the football jerseys were also something the AFL proudly invented. With the two merging in the 60s, the sport continued to grow in popularity throughout the 70s and 80s, when it truly reached its prime and peak.
The NFL today
Not even COVID-19 can stop the NFL from entertaining fans watching at home. The NFL today is bigger than ever. With players like Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes leading the charge, the only goal now is to be global.
There’s no question that it’s the United States’ biggest sport, and it’s not even close. Halftime shows are now the biggest highlight of sporting events, and world-class singers get invited to entertain during break times when football players regroup for the second half. So if you are interested in the NFL, be sure to visit sites like Sportsbet.io to start betting on the different games.