The NFL was officially established on August 20, 1920, making it more than a century old. However, it is important to note that the league underwent significant changes during its early years. Initially, the league was called the American Professional Football Association (APFA), consisting of just ten teams. It included franchises from various smaller football leagues that were already in existence at that time.
In 1922, the league changed its name to the National Football League (NFL) to reflect its national presence and aspirations of becoming the premier professional football organization in the United States. The first official NFL season under this new name was held in 1922, with 18 teams participating. Since then, the league has continued to grow and evolve.
To celebrate its 100th season, the NFL planned numerous events and initiatives throughout 2019, making it a year-long celebration. The league highlighted its rich history, iconic moments, legendary players, and remarkable growth over the past century. These celebrations allowed fans to reminisce about the highlights and milestones that have shaped the NFL into what it is today.
However, it is important to note that the NFL's actual centennial season was in 2019, not in 2020. This discrepancy arises from the fact that the league's first season, under the name APFA, took place in 1920. While it was a precursor to the NFL, the NFL itself considers its official founding year to be 1922. Therefore, the 2019 season marked 100 years of professional football in America since the establishment of the APFA.
In 2020, the NFL continued the celebration of its 100th season, featuring special events, documentaries, and promotions. This additional year allowed the league and its fans to further commemorate its rich history and the incredible journey it has undertaken from its humble beginnings to becoming a global sporting powerhouse.