The American Professional Football Association is formed. The fourteen teams were mainly drawn from the Ohio League, Chicago Circuit, New York Pro Football League and other teams from the lower midwest. A $100 membership fee was charged. The Chicago Tigers folded after the season.
Before the season, the owner of the Cleveland Indians bought the Canton Bulldogs and "mothballed" it, taking the team's nickname and players to Cleveland for the season. The Canton Bulldogs had won the NFL championship in 1923, and won it again as the Cleveland Bulldogs in 1924.
Prior to the season, the league decided to eliminate the financially weaker teams. As a result, the league dropped from 22 to 12 teams, and a majority of the remaining teams were centered around the East Coast instead of the Midwest, where the NFL had started. The New York Yankees were added from the American Football League and the Cleveland Bulldogs returned.
The league increased back to 12 teams with the addition of two franchises, the Staten Island Stapletons, and the Orange Tornadoes. Two mothballed teams activated for the season. Minneapolis re-entered as the Red Jackets and the re-entry of the Buffalo Bisons.
Prior to the season, Brooklyn businessmen William B. Dwyer and John C. Depler bought the Dayton Triangles, moved it, and renamed it the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Orange Tornadoes relocated to Newark. The Portsmouth Spartans entered as a new team.
The league decreased to 10 teams due to financial hardships caused by the Great Depression. While the Cleveland Indians joined as an expansion team, the league lost the Minneapolis Red Jackets and the Newark Tornadoes. Even the Frankford Yellow Jackets had to fold midway through the season.
Houston Oilers announce that they will move to Nashville and are renamed the Tennessee Oilers. They play the 1997 season in Memphis and the 1998 season at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville while a new stadium is built in Nashville.
The National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) with ten teams from four states, all of whom existed in some form as participants of regional leagues in their respective territories; it took on its current name in 1922. The NFL was the first professional football league to successfully establish a nationwide presence, after several decades of failed attempts. Only two teams currently in the NFL, the Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears) and the Chicago Cardinals (now the Arizona Cardinals), are founding members. The Green Bay Acme Packers, founded in 1919 (joined the NFL in 1921, now the Green Bay Packers) are the oldest NFL franchise within continuous operation in the same location.
League membership gradually stabilized throughout the 1920s and 1930s as the league adopted progressively more formal organization. The first official championship game was held in 1933. The NFL stopped signing black players in 1927 but reintegrated in 1946 following World War II. Other changes followed after the war; the office of league President evolved into the more powerful Commissioner post, mirroring a similar move in Major League Baseball. Teams became more financially viable, the last team folding in 1952 and the league absorbing teams from the briefly more successful All-America Football Conference in 1950, two of which survive to the present day. By 1958, when that season's NFL championship game became known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played", the NFL was on its way to becoming one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States.
The rival American Football League was founded in 1960. It was very successful, and forced a merger with the older NFL that resulted in a greatly expanded league and the creation of the Super Bowl, which has become the most-watched annual sporting event in the United States. The league continued to expand to its current size of 32 teams. A series of labor agreements during the 1990s and increasingly large television contracts have helped keep the league one of the most profitable in the U.S., and the only major league in the U.S. since 1990 to avoid a work stoppage that resulted in the loss of regular-season games.
Throughout the years, a number of teams in the National Football League (NFL) have either moved or merged.
In the early years, the NFL was not stable and teams moved frequently to survive, or were folded only to be resurrected in a different city with the same players and owners. The Great Depression era saw the movement of most surviving small-town NFL teams to the large cities to ensure survival. Franchise mergers were popular during World War II in response to the scarcity of players. Few of these relocations and mergers were accompanied with widespread controversy.
Franchise moves became far more controversial in the late 20th century when a vastly more popular NFL, free from financial instability, allowed many franchises to abandon long-held strongholds for perceived financially greener pastures. Despite a Pete Rozelle promise to Congress not to relocate franchises in return for a law exempting the league from certain aspects of antitrust laws, making possible the AFL–NFL merger, several franchises have relocated in the years since the merger and the passage of the law (Public Law 89-800) which sanctioned it.
While owners invariably cited financial difficulties as the primary factor in such moves, many fans bitterly disputed these contentions, especially in Baltimore, St. Louis, and Cleveland, each of which eventually received teams some years after their original franchises left. However, Los Angeles, the second-largest media market in the United States, did not have an NFL team from 1995 to 2015. The league had started actively promoting a return to Los Angeles no later than 2006, and in January 2016, the NFL gave the St. Louis Rams approval to move back to Los Angeles. A year later, the San Diego Chargers also relocated to the city, while the Oakland Raiders are scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas in 2019 or 2020.
Within the United States, the San Diego–Tijuana market is currently the largest metropolitan area (and only one with over 3 million residents) without an NFL franchise. The only other city to be seriously considered in the country in recent times was San Antonio, Texas, which the Raiders seriously considered as a relocation candidate in 2014 before choosing Las Vegas instead. Speculation on future relocation has mainly been centered around two larger cities outside the United States: Toronto, Canada (q.v. National Football League in Toronto) and London, England, United Kingdom (q.v. Potential London NFL franchise), the latter of which would be the first attempt by one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada to place a team outside North America.
Additionally, with the increasing suburbanization of the U.S., the building of new stadiums and other team facilities in the suburbs instead of the central city became popular from the 1970s on, though at the turn of the 21st century a reverse shift back to the central city became somewhat evident.
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