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National Football League (NFL)
The NFL is the most successful sports league in America. It has been around since 1920, when it was originally called the American Professional Football Association. The current name was adopted in 1922. The NFL has 32 teams, divided into two conferences (AFC and NFC) for regular season play. Each conference has four divisions within it: East, Central, West and South Divisions). Each team plays 16 games per season: eight games at home or away against their opponents within their division; four games against teams from another division within their conference (four intra conference games); one interconference game that pit together two conference teams against each other in another city across town from where they play home away matchups between two opponents within their own conference (two intra conference matchups).
The Most Iconic Players in the NFL
If one were to ask who was the greatest player in baseball, the vast majority would say either Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Ted Williams, or Hank Aaron. With basketball, it’s Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, or Bill Russell. For hockey, it’s Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, or Mario Lemieux. For most sporting associations, it’s clear who the standout players and fans tend to agree.
When it comes to the NFL, however, it’s a different situation. While names like Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Johnny Unitas, and Joe Montana tend to pop up, none of these carries the weight of consensus as Michael Jordan does in the NBA. It may be because roles in football are so structured and inflexible, or it may be that success in the NFL is dependent on team dynamics it is difficult to think of a successful quarterback, for example, without considering the exceptional running backs and receivers and strong blockers that make his job possible. So it’s almost impossible to crown a Greatest of All Times among league players.
Getting NFL fans to agree upon anything is a stretch, even in the same franchise. The NFL inherits all of the diverseness and differences that can be found in the states and regions its teams represent. As such, getting a diehard Jets fan to agree with someone else who the greatest Jets player was is just as likely as getting the two to agree who has the best pizza in New York. It may be, ultimately, a good thing and a sign of the league’s strength that there is no consensus on who is the most iconic player; the NFL is a constellation of stars all great and unique in their own ways, working together to create something more exceptional than any one player can create on their own.
This speaks to the fact that both the NFL is a game where there are no individuals and that there’s something in the league for every fan, regardless of how he or she looks at it.
Every NFL Team’s Biggest Rival
Rivalry is a key component of league play. In soccer or baseball, a strong rivalry helps to bring context and meaning to a contest either for a key place in the post season or just a pre-season match up. Whether fueled by bad blood between the teams, players, coaches, and owners, marketing conflicts because of geographic proximity, or simply because of a twist of fate such as being in the same division a well contested rivalry can transform an average game into essential viewing, worthy of all the heated arguments and physical scuffles that come with it.
The granddaddy of all NFL rivalries is between the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers it started in 1921, making it the longest continuous rivalry in all of professional football. This rivalry started by a feud between the teams’ founders and fueled by market overlap has produced 22 league or conference championships, five Super Bowl appearances and 59 Hall of Famers.
Every fan, however, has an opinion of the greatest rivalry. Fanatics asked 3,000 fans which team they consider the biggest rival of their favorite team. Surprisingly, a few boogeymen emerged as perennial league “bad guys.” What makes a rival? For many, it’s a memorable opponent in the NFL that is likely to make fans root and boo for a team on the mere mention of its name.