The 10 Biggest Changes in 100 Years of the NFL

By  //  September 20, 2019

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A new set of rules in 1933 meant the NFL had the desire to distinguish itself from the college game – which meant forward passes were allowed anywhere from behind the line, it was a decision which changed the face of NFL and made it what it is today.

No one would have thought the NFL will become such the high flying spectacle it is today when it first started almost 100 years ago in 1920.

Listed below with the help of our friends at Betway NFL are some of the major moments in the history of NFL which makes it what it is today.

Forward Pass

When NFL first started, it was virtually just a stop-start version of rugby. All a player needed to do is take the ball and run as fast as he can directly into a scrum and then repeat and rinse. It was that boring.

At the beginning the quarterbacks were only allowed to throw the ball FORWARD from inside five yards of the line of scrimmage, there was nothing like pass plays.

That however changed in the year 1933. A new set of rules meant the NFL had the desire to distinguish itself from the college game – which meant forward passes were allowed anywhere from behind the line, it was a decision which changed the face of NFL and made it what it is today.

On November 1, 2015, New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees equaled the NFL record of touchdown passes in a single game with seven in a famous a 52–49 Saints victory again New York Giants. In that game, he completed 39-of-50 passes for 505 yards to record his second career game with at least 500 passing yards.

However, in 1932, no quarterback could boast of throwing for more than 640 yards or nine touchdowns in a single match.

As all NFL fans would know, equivalence is very important in the sport. The game is so exciting and becoming increasingly popular because a team could go from the bottom to becoming a title contender in just a couple of seasons.

The Draft

As all NFL fans would know, equivalence is very important in the sport. The game is so exciting and becoming increasingly popular because a team could go from the bottom to becoming a title contender in just a couple of seasons.

That’s mainly thanks to the draft. Before the 1936 season, the transfer market was not regulated. Clubs would fight for the few amateur players available thereby leading to bidding wars which in turn leads to inflation in salaries of amateur players who could end up as flops.

But in a bid to ensure the rich teams do not always get the best players and to restore balance to the system, the NFL, in a move that changed the first of the sport, became the first major sports league to hold an annual draft.

During the draft, all the franchises in the NFL take turns to select amateur players, and what makes it even more interesting, is that the teams that finish at the bottom of the league standings make their picks first.

Although America is not known for rewarding failure, the annual draft season was a major move on the part of the NFL. Since then we have had other major sports league following the NFL model.

Racial Integration

In the beginning, segregation wasn’t outlawed hence until 1964, the NFL was mainly for the white players. Although in the first few years there were a couple of black players in the league, there were none between 1934 and 1946.

Kenny Washington, who initially played Negro league baseball, made history by becoming the first African-American to sign a contract with an NFL team in the modern (post-World War II) era. He signed for Los Angeles Rams.

Thanks to Washington and Los Angeles Rams’ bold move, the NFL now has 68 percent African-American in the league.

However, this is not to say the problem has been solved. Back in 2003, a new law known as the Rooney Rule mandated clubs to interview at least one candidate from a minority group whenever there is a head-coaching vacancy. There are only three black head coaches in the NFL as of the time of writing this article out of the 32 NFL franchises.

In the beginning, the NFL lacked organization and the schedules were just chaotic as teams could just arrange games against anyone, including teams who are not in the same league.

The Schedule

In the beginning, the NFL lacked organization and the schedules were just chaotic as teams could just arrange games against anyone, including teams who are not in the same league.

For this reason, the number of games each team played varied from team to team. While some teams played as many as 10 games, the Muncie Flyers, who finished last, could only manage one game which they actually lost.

Also, due to the lack of a proper schedule, there was no championship back then. Team owners just elected the overall winner at an end-of-season meeting.

However, during the 1936 season, the league reached a point where all the teams were required to play 12 games each and in 1978, the number of games each team played was increased to 16.

Although the polymer helmets are universal today, it was not so at the beginning. The NFL helmets from the 1920s were odd-looking and terrifying.

With just a layer of soft leather protecting the skull of the players, the players were prone to head injuries and all sort of injuries.

Although the polymer helmets were introduced in a bid to help improve the safety of the players, sadly we still have so many brain injuries such as the CTE in the game.

Just six years ago about 4,500 signed up to sue the league for concussion-related injuries, and as a result, the NFL has been making moves to ensure that helmet to helmet contact is outlawed.

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