Making it big from humble origins is the stuff American legends are made from. Whether in the realm of celebrity, business or sports, rags to riches stories appeal to people on an emotional level. On the other hand, great success achieved from a more privileged starting point is more often viewed dubiously.
By that standard, it's almost impossible to imagine the NFL having anything but the most auspicious beginnings. Similarly, it virtually defies belief to think of a time when the NFL wasn't a sports and entertainment juggernaut.
Nevertheless, when the NFL was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, professional football was a peripheral concern of sports fans. Professional football was viewed as something of a mercenary version of the "purer" college game that garnered more interest in the public.
The idea of forming an organized, professional football league had been in gestation for some time prior to 1920, having been suggested by Jim Thorpe and Leo Lyons, both of whom owned teams that barnstormed across different states.
To add some cohesion and organization to the pell-mell manner in which teams of the era played, the American Professional Football Conference was formalized in August of 1920 consisting mainly of teams from Ohio. Fittingly for such an obscure beginning, the deal was made at a Hupmobile dealership in Canton, Ohio.
Within a month the league changed its name to the American Football Association and two years later became the National Football League. The times were hazardous to the longevity of professional teams, as of the eleven teams that were included as part of the 1920 agreement, only four survived the first season. Only two of the charter teams remain today: the Arizona Cardinals (originally the Chicago Cardinals) and the Chicago Bears (originally the Decatur Staleys).
American professional football was now organized, but it still was far from prominent. Most of the early teams were from such smaller cities as Duluth, Minnesota; Pottsville, Pennsylvania; Racine, Wisconsin; Tonawanda, New York; and Evansville, Indiana.
In 1933, and annual championship game was established, and by 1934, most of the small town teams had either moved larger markets or been replaced by teams in bigger cities. On the field, the game continued to evolve into what we know today as innovators introduced new formations and plays which in turn led to a faster-paced and more entertaining game.
By the end of World War II, professional football was vying with college football for attention. And although the All-America Football Conference briefly rivaled the APFA, its demise contributed three teams to the older league: the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts and San Francisco 49ers.
The most serious threat to the NFL came with the formation of the AFL in 1959. For its first few season, the AFL operated independently of the NFL, but in 1966 a partial merger with the NFL was achieved, with a full merger to come later on. The agreement between the AFL and NFL called for a championship to be played between the two leagues. The first two championship games - Super Bowls I and II - seemed to reinforce the notion that the NFL was by far the superior league. This was reversed the following two season as AFL teams defeated favored NFL teams; in Super Bowl III, the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts, and in Super Bowl IV, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings.
The full merger between the leagues was completed in 1970, with all ten AFL teams and their statistics becoming part of the NFL. Since then there have been other rivals to the NFL such as the USFL, WFL and XFL, but none offered serious competition to the status of the NFL.
In addition to becoming the dominant professional football league, the NFL has created a huge market for sports paraphernalia. Hats, toys, footballs, jerseys and other NFL items are more popular than ever. The NFL experience even extends to fabric. At J&O Fabrics, we carry a large assortment of NFL fabrics in cotton, cotton flannel, fleece and vinyl.
Regardless of what attracts you to the NFL, your Sunday experience will be all the better with our 100% cotton NFL Fabrics. With these exclusive NFL fabrics you'll be ready for every jarring tackle, acrobatic reception and laser pass.
The NFL Fabrics are not suitable for childrens's sleepwear. All patterns have been licensed by the National Football League (NFL), and are for individual consumption only. Any other use of the NFL fabric is prohibited and illegal.
What You Can Use Our Football Flannels For
These designer NFL flannel fabrics are ideal for making blankets, pillows, gloves, hats, bedspreads, jackets, jacket linings, robes, slippers, shirts and other garments. Our NFL Flannel fabrics are also ideal for crafts.
Care Instructions for Our NFL Team Flannels
These 100% cotton flannels can be machine washed without bleach. They can be tumble dried on low. Use a warm iron if necessary.
Storing National Football League Flannels
Before storing your cotton flannels for an extended period of time it is important to have them properly laundered to prevent dust, soil and stains from attracting critters. Furthermore, avoid storing your fabrics in attics or basements; these places tend to be vulnerable to mold, mildew, insects and other threats. The best location in your home for storage is a cool, dry room out of direct sunlight. If using a closet, make sure there is sufficient air circulation to prevent mold growth.
Your NFL Flannel fabrics can be stored in bags of linen, cotton or muslin. Do not use plastic bags, cedar chests or cardboard boxes for storage. Fumes from polyurethane foam, cedar closets and acids in unvarnished wood and cardboard can damage your fabrics. Acid free tissue paper can also be employed in the storage of your NFL Flannel fabrics.