What does NFL stand for? Meaning, when they started using the name and all the details

What does NFL stand for? Meaning, when they started using the name and all the details

Sospeter Itolondo
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:25 PM

It is one of the most impressive sporting leagues in the world, attracting millions of fans. It makes a lot of revenue to the tune of billions. The sport has gathered a lot of fans in recent years, with more and more people being curious about it. So, what does NFL stand for in American football? Read on to find out.

When did they start calling the NFL the NFL?
Tom Brady passes the ball during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp on August 06, 2022, at the AdventHealth Training Center at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Andrew Bershaw
Source: Getty Images

The sport was founded on the 6th of November 1869 when two college teams played it for the first time. The game evolved from soccer and rugby and was revolutionised by Walter Camp in 1880, later referred to as "The Father of American Football". Read on to learn more about the meaning behind NFL abbreviations.

What does NFL stand for?

The NFL is America's premier football league that generates a lot of revenue and interests a lot of fans. It has a yearly event called the Super Bowl, bringing hundreds of millions of fans.

So, what does the N in NFL stand for? The N in NFL stands for National, meaning it is a nationwide league. Only teams from the United States can participate in the League. Canada was considered at one point but would clash with the Canadian Football League, taking revenue from it.

A franchise opening in Europe has been an idea for the expansion of the NFL into an international league. The teams have played games in Europe before, and the market was analysed. In an interview, NFL boss Goodell said,

"We're trying to sort of see, could you have multiple locations in Europe where you could have an NFL franchise, because it would be easier as a division."

However, international players are accepted in the draft, with Canada, Nigeria and Australia taking the bulk of the athletes.

When did they start using the name NFL in American football?
Roger Goodell looks on before Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. Photo: Christian Peterson
Source: Getty Images

What does the F in NFL stand for? The F stands for football. In most parts of the world, football is referred to as the sport called soccer in the United States. Soccer involves a round ball played by the feet only. Football is the American sport under the NFL. The name is a source of contention among fans of the two sports pitting them against each other sometimes.

What does the L in NFL stand for? The L stands for League. A league is a group of teams cluttered together to perform a similar task or competition with an agreed set of rules. The League is among the most exciting in the world and generates billions of dollars in revenue, especially in events such as the Super Bowl.

When did they start using the name NFL in American football?

So, when did they start calling the NFL the NFL? The League was previously the American Professional Football Association and changed to the National Football Association on the 17th of September 1920 in Canton, Ohio, in the United States of America. However, the name was officially changed to the NFL in the 1922 season. That is also when the ranking was set to determine the winners.

What is the Super Bowl?

The Super Bowl is one of the most famous events in the world that marks the end of an NFL season. It involves teams from the two conferences, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference, battling it out for the Championship. The event has been held every year since its inception in 1967, and the winner gets the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The trophy is named after coach Vince Lombardi who won the first two Super Bowls.

Who has the most Super Bowls?
Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates as he is reflected in the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 07, 2021, in Tampa, Florida. Photo: Patrick Smith
Source: Getty Images

Who has the most Super Bowls?

Two teams are at the helm of the much coveted Super Bowl titles. Tom Brady's New England Patriots stand at the top with six Super Bowl titles, with the Pittsburgh Steelers having the same number of titles. The San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys come in second with five wins each.

Who is performing at the 2023 Superbowl?

Pop star Rihanna headlined the 2023 Super Bowl. She surprised everyone by doing a solo performance amid revealing the pregnancy of her second baby with famous rapper A$ap Rocky. However, fans are baffled to find out Rihanna will not make a single cent from her performance.

Who is performing at the 2023 Superbowl?
Rihanna performs during the Apple Music Super Bowl LVII Halftime Show at State Farm Stadium on February 12, 2023, in Glendale, Arizona. Photo: Kevin Sabitus
Source: Getty Images

She performed her hits, such as:

  • Better Have My Money
  • Where Have You Been?
  • Only Girl in the World
  • We Found Love
  • Rude Boy
  • Work
  • Wild ThoughtsUp
  • Pour It Up
  • All of the LightsTown
  • Run This Town
  • Umbrella
  • Diamonds

It was a mix of live performance and prerecorded vocals. It was an electrifying performance to some fans, while others described it as underwhelming.

What are the ten oldest NFL teams?

The NFL started in 1920, and teams kept joining as the League grew. Here are the ten oldest teams in the NFL:



Date of joining the NFL



Arizona Cardinals




Chicago Bears


17th September 1920


Green Bay Packers


11th August 1919


New York Giants


1st August 1925


Detroit Lions




Washington Commanders


9th July 1932


Pittsburgh Steelers


8th July1933


Philadelphia Eagles




Los Angeles Rams




Cleveland Browns


4th June 1944

Who had the longest career in the NFL?

Morten Andersen had the longest NFL career of all time. He played a record 382 games, spanning from 1982 to 2007. His career was so long that the League had 28 teams when he started and had expanded to 32 teams by the time he retired. The star athlete played for teams such as the Saints, the Falcons, the Giants, the Chiefs and the Vikings.

What does the F in NFL stand for?
Morten Andersen stands on the field as he receives his pro football hall of fame ring during an NFL game on December 17, 2017, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Sean Gardner
Source: Getty Images

What were the 14 original NFL teams?

Upon its inception in 1920 in a car dealership, the NFL had only 14 teams that had acquired membership. Most of them do not exist to this day. The 14 teams and the year they founded are:


Date founded

Akron Pros




Canton Bulldogs


Chicago Tigers


Cleveland Indians


Columbus Panhandles


Dayton Triangles

Moved to Brooklyn in 1929

Chicago Bears

Still running

Detroit Heralds


Hammond Pros


Muncie Flyers


Arizona Cardinals

Still running

Rochester Jeffersons


Rock Island Independents


So, what does the NFL stand for? NFL stands for the National Football League, and the American professional League for the American Football sports franchise. It hosts 32 teams currently and has two associations. It started in 1920, with the name professionally used as of 1922.

READ ALSO: A list of the past NFL MVP winners to date: Find out more here

Sports Brief also published a list of the past NFL MVP winners to date. The NFL MVP award is an annual award handed over to the most outstanding player at the end of each season. Players such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers boast multiple awards.

Who has the most NFL MVP awards? Click on the link above to learn more about the most coveted individual award in the NFL.

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