A Brief History
On November 3, 1956, future New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms was born, and while he played in the NFL from 1979 to 1993, it is unlikely he would recognize the NFL from the year of his birth!
Here are some of the major differences in the NFL between 1955 and today:
1955- The Cleveland Browns were NFL Champs and the league consisted of 12 teams with no playoffs, just a Championship game. The season was 12 games long.
2022- The Browns are abysmal in recent years, including this one, and the league boasts 32 teams. A whopping 14 teams will make the playoffs this season. The season drags on for 17 games.
1955- The first year face masks on helmets were mandatory, though players could apply for exceptions. Face masks were a single bar. Depending on the source, the last NFL mask-less players played in 1968.
2022- Face masks often resemble intricate cages of multiple horizontal and vertical bars and sometimes are augmented by clear shields.
What other changes can you think of?
Question for students (and subscribers): What are your favorite and least favorite changes in the NFL since 1955? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Horrigan, Joe. NFL Century: The One-Hundred-Year Rise of America’s Greatest Sports League. Crown, 2019.
National Football League. NFL 100. Harry N. Abrams, 2019.
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