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Football Basics: The League

The National Football league as we know it today was formed in 1970 when the American Football League and the original National Football League merged to form one dominant league. Although the name of the league remained the National Football League, two conferences were created in order to reflect the leagues origins; the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). From that point on, the best teams from each conference would play in order to declare an NFL champion (later called the Super Bowl).

Presently, each conference is divided into four divisions: North, South, East and West. There are four teams in each division and therefore 32 teams in the NFL. The 32 nd team to join the NFL was the Houston Texans in 2002.



Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings


Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Washington Redskins


Arizona Cardinals

St. Louis Rams

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks



Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Pittsburgh Steelers


Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tennessee Titans


Buffalo Bills

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New York Jets


Denver Broncos

Kansas City Chiefs

Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers

An NFL team's regular season schedule consists of 16 games (8 home and 8 away) played over a course of 17 weeks (each team has one bye week). Each team plays the other three teams in their division twice (once at home and once on the road), and another ten non-divisional games. Of the non-divisional games, four are played against the teams in a particular division of the opposing conference.

The playoffs feature the best 6 teams in each conference, the four division winners and two wild card teams. The postseason is a single elimination format, one loss and a team is out of the tournament. Once a champion from each conference is crowned, the two remaining teams will do battle for the right to be called Super Bowl Champions.

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