The NFL was founded in1920 as the American Professional Football Association with owners of already established teams creating the league. The league only contained 10 teams, with only two of those teams still members of the league today. The Decatur Staleys (now Chicago Bears) and the Chicago Cardinals (now Arizona Cardinals).
The league renamed itself to the National Football League a couple years later and has kept that name ever since. The league continued to grow and iterate on its rules and organizational structure. In 1933, after the success of the previous years improvised ‘championship’ game, the NFL split the league into two divisions with the winner of each division playing in a championship game against each other to crown an overall winner. Whilst the sport was growing and become popular is suffered from the impact of WW2 and the tolls that had on player rosters and the US as a whole. The league was also plagued with the exclusion of black players for a time as racial tensions in the US grew and a few of the Leagues owners pushing their bigoted views on race and specifically black people.
The NFL faced multiple competitors during the 1930s and 1940s but through mergers and absorbing teams they created a monopoly on professional football. It wasn’t until 1960 with the fourth American Football League started to become popular, competing for TV contracts and players. The two leagues would announce a merger in 1966 that would take effect in 1970 and create a single league with two divisions. The NFC (National Football Conference) that contains most of the pre-merger NFL teams and the AFC (American Football Conference) that would contain the pre-merger AFL teams and 4 pre-merger NFL teams. The winners of each division would face each other in a championship game, called the Super Bowl. This format stuck and the two conferences and the Super Bowl final still form the basis of the league, but now the two divisions have been split into 8 divisions, with four in each conference.
The NFL is the most popular sports league in North American and is also one of the biggest globally. Its Super Bowl Final garners a massive global audience, and now multiple of the regular season games are played abroad. The league continues to push for growth, both nationally in the US as well as globally, and increase its audience and revenue. This has lead to various changes including; expanding the number of teams in the league, increasing the number of regular season games and also increasing the number of teams that get into the playoffs. In recent years with the success of the London Games (official regular season NFL games played in London) there has been talk and even proposed plans to create a London based NFL franchise, and have for a while now been talks of franchises in Mexico and Canada.
This idea of a London/UK based team is the inspiration for my project, to create an NFL franchise based instead in St Helens, my home town. To create from the ground up an identity and personality for a new team that both fits in well with the NFL and its identity as well as St Helens the place its based.
I’m Aidan Moore, a Graphic Design student at University Centre St Helens.
Any questions or queries, get in touch in the following ways.
Based in St Helens, Merseyside, UK