General population of the world in the past referred to ‘Football’ as Soccer. But with some changes in rules of the game, soccer has evolved into the game of football that is being played these days. Some participants who disliked introduction of certain rules into this game broke away from the traditional game of soccer and started playing ‘rugby.’ The game of rugby found its way into the U.S. in 1800s. According to new rules formed in 1876, the shape of the ball used in the game was changed from round to an egg-shape and the name of rugby was changed to football.
Professional football teams emerged in the beginning of the 20th century. Around 1920, more than 10 professional teams were formed across the United States. Team organizers met in Ohio to form the American Professional Football Association (APFA), which later became the National Football League (NFL). The NFL brought in further changes in rules as football began to take its strong position as an all-American past time. After the establishment of The National Football League (NFL) football has advanced in popularity with the world population. As football grew as a favorite sport with Americans, many more associations were formed. A notable league that almost equaled NFL was the American Football League (AFL).
In 1966, in a historic moment in football history, the leagues of NFL and the AFL merged while retaining the NFL name. Two major conferences the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC) were created within this new coalition. Champions from the NFL and the AFL star in the most popular Super Bowl of today. Super Bowl is a household favorite show in many American homes as well as around the world. Could you tell a country where Super Bowl is not broadcasted? It is watched in more than 150 countries around the world!
American football is famous not only in America but has its following abroad, too. American football is played by different continents in the world which includes Asia, Europe, North and South America, etc. The International Federation of American Football, the official international governing body of American Football oversees about forty-five member organizations. It has also sponsored a world cup of American football since 1999. The NFL vigorously promotes American football overseas:
o It deploys famous football players to other parts of the world as envoys.
o Pre-season games are held with these players in Mexico, Europe, Japan, etc.
o NFL has opened its offices in Mexico City to oversee and manage fans’ associations and special events. A Spanish language website has been published by the NFL targeted Mexican fans.
o In 1991, the National Football League backed a European league called the World League of Football. This later emerged as NFL Europe, a six-team league that serves as a spring developmental league for National Football League teams in the United States.
o Five of NFL Europe’s teams are based in Germany.
o Though Canada has its own Football League, the NFL does its part to reach out to Canadian fans.
Simple changes in ball game rules had given birth, growth and popularity to American football.
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