32-team NFL approaches 100th anniversary in 2019
Did you know that the NFL will be celebrating its 100th birthday in 2019?
The National Football League has gone through significant changes within the past half century or so.
It wasn’t until 1964 the the NFL allowed home teams to wear white jerseys. Prior to that season, NFL mandated that the home team must wear colored tops. Also that year, the league rosters went from 37 to 40 active players. Can you imagine a team playing with 40 active now?
Through the years, there have been notable firsts and changes. Here are just a few leading up to the 32-team league we have today:
1967 – The Saints came into existence and played in what was called the Capitol Division from ’67-69 along with the Cowboys, the Redskins and the Eagles.
1969 – The Philadelphia Eagles were the first team to play home games on artificial turf at Franklin Field.
1971 – The Boston Patriots renamed the New England Patriots after moving to Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium.
1973 – No one was allowed to wear jersey numbers 0 or 00. It was also decided quarterbacks would only wear numbers No. 1- Nos. 19, running backs No. 20-49, centers/linebackers Nos. 50-59, defensive linemen Nos. 60-79 and wide receivers/tight ends Nos. 80-89.
1978 – The regular season schedule expands from 14 games to 16 games. The highest paid QB was Fran Tarkenton, who earned $360,000 per season. O.J. Simpson was the highest paid player pulling down $733,400 per year. Also in ’78, offensive linemen were permitted to extend their arms and open their hands during pass blocking.
1980 – Players were no longer allowed to strike an opponent in the head, face or neck.
1982 – A 57-day strike by the players shortened the season from 16 games to 9. A 16-team ‘Super Bowl Tournament’ replaced the usual playoff format for the postseason.
1995 – The NFL expanded to 30 teams, adding Carolina and Jacksonville.
1996 – Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens.
1997 – The Houston Oilers moved to Tennessee and became Titans.
1999 – The Browns rejoined the NFL in the form of an expansion franchise in Cleveland.
2002 – The expansion Houston Texans started play as the NFL’s 32nd franchise.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…