In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the popularity of American football around the world and the sport has never had a bigger following than today. In the same way soccer is gradually finding an audience in the USA, American football is growing and being exported overseas with regular matches being held on foreign soils – in particular, in London.
A game that embodies the spirit of the USA
For many people, nothing embodies the spirit and strength of the USA quite like American football and the sport has become the global emblem of a nation. As the National Football League (NFL) continues to grab the attention of populations internationally, here are some interesting facts about the USA’s sporting poster-boy:
In 2020, American football remains the favorite sport of the USA: In a recent poll by Gallup and census.gov, US football was found to hold top position as America’s favorite sport with 37% of respondents naming it their preferred game, eclipsing basketball in second place (11%) and baseball/softball in third (9%).
Likewise, American football holds number one spot in the US for TV viewing figures: The same poll also revealed impressive TV viewership figures for American football in the US with a reported following of almost 112 million. As you might expect, basketball came in second place (following 50.4 million) with baseball/softball coming third (followed by 40 million). Indeed, the game transcends just traditional TV viewership with multiple American football console and computer games produced each year.
Today’s National Football League has roots dating back to 1920: Today’s NFL started life back in 1920 under the original title of the American Professional Football Conference (APFC). The original league had just 14 teams. The APFC would soon be renamed to today’s more familiar NFL title in 1922.
The reason why the NFL is split into two conferences: As the popularity of the game grew across the US, another rival league formed. The American Football League started in 1960 and for six years the two main leagues competed against each other to grab their share of a growing audience. In 1966, the decision was taken to merge the two leagues together into the NFL we know today, comprised of two different conferences – the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC).
The National Football League is non-profit and pays no income tax: Despite the massive revenue generated by the NFL, the organization pays no income taxes and is a non-profit unincorporated body. The same cannot be said for the players who are often paid huge salaries. You can learn more about player wages and how they compare to other sports in this revealing feature on the cash lady website.
Teams compete through the season to win a chance to play in the Super bowl: A full American football season runs for 22 weeks in total, culminating in the final game called the Super Bowl where (in theory) the two winningest teams of the year compete for the coveted title of World Champion and are presented the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy. Although the NFL is only made up of US teams, they are regarded champions of the world since no other team around the world could present a realistic challenge to the US-based professionals.
A unique Vince Lombardi trophy is produced each year: The winners of the Super bowl are presented with a unique casting of the silver Vince Lombardi trophy. The prize takes four months to produce and has a reported value of around $50,000 (despite the actual cost of the silver used being closer to $1,700). The trophy is almost two feet tall and fashioned into the shape of a US football in the kick-ready position.
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