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Most people probably know what the National Football League (NFL) is: the primary professional football organization in America and in the world. In the 1910s, when the league was first formed, it was a regionally-based Midwestern organization. By the time the NFL was first officially founded in 1920 in Canton, Ohio, some of the first teams to become members included the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and New York Giants. Today, there are 32 teams, which are divided into two categories—the National Football Conferences and the American Football Conference—each with four-team divisions. As followers of the sport know, 16 games make up every season schedule, between divisional games and intra and inter conference games.
Surely, there are many reasons why people love football. It is a team sport, requiring collaboration and sportsmanship. Instead of following key players, fans can root for an entire team throughout a season. Similarly, tactics take on a whole new meaning in football compared to most other sports. This means that coaches play a more integral role in the game. Speakers line players’ helmets to get feedback and direction throughout the game. However, for those who are not deeply invested in the sport itself, football has a certain something that keeps people coming back for more. It is a full-blown entertainment experience. Cheer teams rev up crowds. Dance squads perform carefully rehearsed numbers. Marching bands navigate the field like a musical maze. Pep bands align their tunes with the game’s ups and downs. Food stands offer tasty treats from hotdogs to tacos to cold beers.
The annual Super Bowl Sunday epitomizes these additional entertainment features with incredible half-time shows; people from around the world turn on their televisions even if only to see the new commercials and awe-inspiring artistry. Though there is much debate about which halftime shows have been the best, Bruno Mars’ performance at Super Bowl XLVIII, the Rolling Stones’ performance at Super Bowl XL, Bruce Springsteen’s performance at Super Bowl XLIII, Katy Perry’s performance at Super Bowl XLIX, Beyoncé’s performance at Super Bowl XLVII, Michael Jackson’s performance at Super Bowl XXVII, Prince’s performance at Super Bowl XLI, and U2’s performance at XXXVI are some of the most outstanding. From the highly meme-able left shark alongside Katy Perry or the heartfelt post-9/11 patriotism shining through U2/s performance, these moments have become cultural touchpoints.
Whether you are in it for the sport or the other elements of entertainment, the NFL’s presence cannot be understated. Remember that the tickets for highly-coveted games go quickly, so purchase your seats today.