The largest professional football league in America is known as the National Football League (NFL) and includes more than thirty-two teams from all over the country. Today, the organization is one of the best in its class. Its formula of success is quite simple as it is about hiring smart, strong and tough people who enjoy what they do. Therefore, the objective of the following paper is to discuss the history of the NFL and how it has incorporated sports management that has become an integral part of development and success of this organization.
The year of its formation is 1920. The organization was initially named as the American Professional Football Association, which later adopted the name NFL in 1922. Initially, the roots of professional paying lead to 1892, when William "Pudge" Heffelfinger was paid around $500 for participation in a game. The next decades went with a high interest in professional football, especially in the Midwest. Jim Thorpe was the first president of the American Professional Football Association. With time, such professional players as Benny Friedman and Red Grange have joined the league, and the game’s popularity has only increased. By 1934, big city teams have replaced almost all small-town groups. After the World War II, the main focus was on attracting fans, which occurred after T formation that resulted in higher-scoring and faster-paced games. The expansion to 13 teams has happened in 1950, when the Cleveland Rams has moved to Los-Angeles where they have occupied the status of the first big-league sports franchise. The popularity has started to boost since then, and television has become the main attraction to many Americans. They could monitor the game of their favorite players such as Paul Hornung, Johnny Unitas and Bobby Layne at a championship in New York in 1958, which was considered one of the most-anticipated and attended events.
Thus, in 1960, the rival league that was known as American Football League has been created, which led to costly wars between the two organizations. However, the parties have reached a consensus and made a merger, the result of which was the National Football Conference and the Super Bowl title, which is now compared to the “world championship” in the professional football. Monday Night Football program was launched in the 1970’s, and it greatly contributed to even higher popularity of the NFL. The market was expanding, and the biggest challenge was in facing the newly formed competitor, the United States Football League of 80’s, which eventually had collapsed in 3 years.
The years passed, and the NFL has been gaining popularity and raising high profit, which provided the league with an opportunity to expand markets and ventures. The World League of American Football, which has later become known as NFL Europe was created in 1993 and included teams from Netherlands and Germany. The NFL-Channel was launched in 2003. It is an independent NFL cable-television channel, which is extremely popular in the United States.
Today the value of the NFL teams is around one billion dollars each, which is the highest price in the sphere of professional sports. Thus, making profits is not the only objective of the NFL since the management of the league is determined to be as strong as possible. The reason is that NFL is a not a private venture but a public organization. It has a solid structure and strict organizational code; it also issues a report every week, which is why proper sports management is one of its biggest strengths.
The skillful team players have been thriving under multiple coaches, equipment managers, and quarterbacks. A number of rules and regulations are perceived as an integral practice of sports management within NFL.
Big decisions depend on the owners of the best NFL teams, but the right of the final world does not belong to them. In fact, they do much smarter. They facilitate the process of proper decision-making by asking the right questions among the team players. The coach, who can assess the situation from the inside and make the right conclusions, says the final word.
Sports management is taken very seriously in the NFL as the league wants to remain the best of the best. Another best practice is about limiting the hires from outside as it has been done since 2000 with only one exception. The entry-level jobs do not follow these rules, and employees are offered the possibility to start from the very beginning. According to the philosophy of the NFL, their CEOs must know everyone perfectly, which is why the best candidates for those roles are people from the inside of the organization. Only those individuals can reinforce the success of the team as they have been together for a long time.
Despite the fact that NFL teams have replaced many coaches, there are still some that stay with the league since 1969, and it is an objective to be followed. Moreover, there are not many openings in employment sector, and the management tends to hold interviews even when there are no open vacancies since they search for persistent people who do not give up after sending a CV and getting no response. Finally, the incorporation of sports management in the NFL is not about seeking for Harvard graduates that would help reading the numbers but for the real professionals in the field, who understand the leagues or have a passionate desire to become a member of the big family (Clark, 2012). The NFL looks into business schools as it has already launched its NFL-Stanford Program in 2004, the aim of which is to train their executives according to the best principles of sports management (Stanford Graduate School of Business, 2004).
The contribution of the NFL into the American society is enormous
As it has been mentioned above, the league itself has created a separate culture of professional sports that is not only one the most popular in the world but also sets rules and best practices for all other teams. Having become America’s game Number One, football has eventually occupied almost all sports space on TV, and people are eagerly spending money to watch the games in a live mode. Moreover, the NFL’s management has put much emphasis on incorporating a culture that would look into safety, fairness, and sportsmanship. Since the culture of football is quite dangerous, it is as and it is up to the management to change the rules of game by giving more penalties for those who disobey and more rewards for those who deserve recognition (Gill & Wilkinson, 2012). Nevertheless, the NFL has managed to achieve its objectives, even though it was not that easy.
In conclusion, also it is important to mention that the NFL has created separate institutions that deal with charity issues and fund-raising for those who need help. Moreover, in spring 2014, the NFL has announced about its aspiration to fund a medical school research initiative that would be based in Harvard and would do the research on the health problems of the football players. The research has started to move forward (Darmody, 2014). It is not the first initiative if this league that is intended to manage health issues of the Americans, which is a sign of noble behavior. American society is definitely having many advantages because of the NFL organization creation. It helps to form professional players, best managers and develop the safe culture, as well as health-improving initiatives.
- Clark, K. (2012). Management secrets of the NFL. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10000872396390444301704577631663445804308
- Darmody, M. G. (2014). NFL players association will independently fund medical school research initiative. Retrieved from http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/3/14/harvard-nflpa-concussion-study/
- Gill, S. & Wilkinson, K. (2012). Column: How NFL can tackle culture change. USA Today. Retrieved from http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/story/2012-09-18/nfl-concussions-culture-change/57802046/1
- NFL. (n.d.). History of the National Football League. Retrieved from http://www.mmbolding.com/BSR/CFL_NFL_NFL_History.htm
- Stanford Graduate School of Business. (2005). NFL execs attend business school program. Retrieved from https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/stanford-gsb-experience/news-history/nfl-execs-attend-business-school-program