The NFL was officially started on September 17, 1920. Various enterprising men came together and formed what was then called the American Professional Football Association (AFPA). Two years later, it was renamed the National Football League (NFL), with football quickly becoming this country’s favorite sport. Jim Thorpe was the first president of the NFL as well as being a professional player himself. He added a lot of popularity and credibility to the sport. Ryan Grigson, who is now the personnel manager for the Cleveland Browns, felt it was time to take a proper look at the NFL’s history, however.
Ryan Grigson’s Take on the NFL History
While the AFPA was started in 1920 and became the NFL by 1922, pro football began in 1892, when William Heffelfinger, a Yale student, paid against the Allegheny Athletic Association and was paid $500 for this, then a hefty sum. This game took place on November 12, 1892 and was the start of professional football. However, for many years, it was played almost exclusively in Pennsylvania, before moving on to Ohio and other Midwestern states and, finally, the rest of the country.
Initially, there were a number of problems faced by the sport, not in the least getting professional recognition, controlling the players, and having real rules in place. This all improved when the AFPA was formed. 11 different teams (franchises) were represented at the first meeting of the AFPA and, by September 26, 1920, they had agreed on their first game. This took place at Rock Island, IL’s Douglas Park between the Independents and the St Paul Ideals. The following week, the first true league game took place.
Today, two of the original teams that made up the first 11 AFPA franchises still exist. They are the Decatur Staleys, who became the Chicago Bears after a move to Chicago; and the Chicago Cardinals, who became the Arizona Cardinals after they moved to Arizona.
People like Ryan Grigson understand the important role the development of the NFL has played in the overall development of this country. Football is truly a national sport, but also one that is linked to many other things. While the ultimate aim for any football fan is to play in the NFL, even those who don’t make it that far are sometimes able to gain an education thanks to their football skills, albeit only if they also perform well academically at high school and in university. As such, it is a sport that has a strong focus on education, which is something to be applauded.
Where the NFL will head is anybody’s guess. What is known, however, is that they will forever play an important role in all that makes America great. From entertainment to education, from social events to geographical pride, football brings all of it together and the NFL makes it all possible in a way that allows everybody to enjoy it. Ryan Grigson, meanwhile, is part of the executive team of football, which means he works behind the scenes to make great changes.