PEOPLE

 

Roger Goodell

.       NFL Commissioner since 2006

.       Began working for NFL right out of college in 1982

.       His leadership has led to crackdown on off-field misconduct by players

 

Vince Lombardi

.       Coach of Green Bay Packers during the 1960s

.       Regarded as one of NFL's most successful coaches of all time

.       Emphasized grueling training and complete commitment to team

.       Retired in 1968 after back-to-back Super Bowl wins; NFL named championship trophy in his honor

 

Joe Namath

.       Quarterback for the New York Jets in the 1960s and 1970s

.       Led Jets to stunning upset victory over Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, 1969

.       Threw more interceptions than touchdowns during career, but remembered for bold confidence

 

Fritz Pollard

.       First black football star, led team to very first NFL championship, 1920

.       Also NFL's first black head coach, beginning in 1921

.       Only black player for the Akron Pros, one of original NFL franchises

 

Jackie Robinson

.       First African American to play professional baseball (Brooklyn Dodgers)

.       Before joining Dodgers, played many other sports, including football

.       Is said to have been better at football than baseball

.       Only chose to play baseball because the NFL allowed no black players in early 1940s, while Negro League allowed blacks to play pro baseball; later moved from Negro League to Major League Baseball after NFL desegregated

 


Pete Rozelle

.       Commissioner of NFL, 1960 to 1989

.       Most instrumental figure in building the NFL into a wealthy and powerful force in American sports entertainment

.       Fostered lucrative relationships between NFL and major network TV

 

Johnny Unitas

.       Regarded as first great quarterback in the post-WWII NFL

.       First player to throw for more than 40,000 yards

.       Most admired for performance in 1958 NFL Championship, "The Greatest Game Ever Played," an exciting overtime contest that helped popularize the NFL as a spectator sport

 

 

EVENTS

 

1920 NFL Founded

.       Formed in Canton, Ohio by representatives from four semipro football clubs

.       Called their new organization the American Professional Football Association (renamed the National Football League in 1922)

.       Began as poorly organized and underfunded small-town league in Great Lakes region

 

1933 NFL Segregated

.       Washington Redskins owner George P. Marshall convinced other owners to institute segregationist policy

.       1933 policy instituted to appease racially prejudiced white fans, players, coaches, and executives

.       NFL remained all-white until 1946, when black players Woody Strode and Kenny Washington joined the LA Rams

 


1958 NFL Championship Game

.       Called "The Greatest Game Ever Played"

.       Baltimore Colts defeated New York Giants in overtime

.       One of the first NFL matchups broadcast to large national television audience

.       A thrilling game that helped popularize the NFL as a spectator sport

 

1960 Pete Rozelle Elected Commissioner

.       NFL needed new leader after death of longtime Commissioner Bert Bell

.       League's owners voted to install Rozelle, a young LA Rams executive

.       Marked beginning of rapid rise of NFL as pop culture phenomenon

 

1967 Super Bowl I

.       Held in Los Angeles in January; tickets sold poorly, but millions tuned in to watch on TV

.       Called "AFL-NFL World Championship Game"; not "Super Bowl" until 1969

.       NFL's Green Bay Packers crushed AFL's Kansas City Chiefs in lopsided game

.       Hinted at future success of televised Super Bowl games

 

1969 Super Bowl III

.       First championship game to be referred to officially as "Super Bowl"

.       Pitted heavily favored NFL Baltimore Colts against underdog AFL New York Jets

.       Jets quarterback Joe Namath led his team to a shocking victory

.       Proved that in football's winner-take-all final game, anything can happen

.       Widely considered to be the greatest Super Bowl ever

 

1982 Super Bowl XVI

.       San Francisco 49ers won their first NFL championship, beating Cincinnati Bengals

.       Blizzards across U.S. forced more Americans than usual to stay home, generating highest TV ratings ever

.       First Super Bowl to feature a major recording star, Diana Ross, during pre-game entertainment

 


1984 Super Bowl XVIII

.       Game that launched Super Bowl TV advertising as its own genre

.       Apple Computer revealed legendary sci-fi ad for its new Macintosh products

.       Proved that high-concept, big-budget ads shown during Super Bowl could really pay off

 

 

GROUPS

 

National Football League (NFL)

.       Founded in 1920

.       Called American Professional Football Association until 1922

.       Merged with the American Football League in 1970

.       After merger, split into two conferences (AFC and NFC)

.       Today is most profitable sports organization in U.S.

 

American Football League (NFL)

.       Founded in 1960 to compete against the NFL

.       Unlike NFL, favored less-traditional, high-scoring version of the game

.       Merged into NFL in 1970

 

 

CONCEPTS

 

Broadcast Rights

.       Exclusive rights of TV network to broadcast an event

.       TV networks purchase these rights

.       NFL began selling these rights to major networks in 1960s

.       Money from these deals key to NFL's growth

 

Desegregation

.       Process of racially integrating previously segregated places, businesses, or organizations

.       Woody Strode and Kenny Washington, who joined the LA Rams in 1946 when the NFL was an all-white league, desegregated modern professional football

.       Jackie Robinson, who joined the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 when MLB was all-white, desegregated professional baseball

Franchise Fee

.       Fee paid by a team to a sports league in order to join the league

.       When NFL was founded in 1920, original franchise fee was $100

.       None of the first teams in the early NFL could afford to actually pay the fee

 

Super Bowl

.       Name for NFL's championship game, held once a year, in January or February

.       Name coined by Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, 1966; name inspired by the Super Ball, a bouncy children's toy

.       Originally known as "AFL-NFL World Championship Game"

.       Today, most popular annual event in American pop culture

 

 

PLACES

 

Canton, Ohio

.       Site of the Hupmobile auto dealership where the owners of four Ohio football clubs met in 1920 to found the NFL

.       Now site of Pro Football Hall of Fame

 

Green Bay, Wisconsin

.       Home of the Green Bay Packers, the only small-town team from the NFL's Great Lakes roots to survive into the modern era