The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. The league currently consists of thirty-two teams from the United States. The league is divided evenly into two conferences – the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference has four divisions that have four teams each, for a total of 16 teams in each conference. The NFL is an unincorporated 501(c)(6) association, a federal nonprofit designation, comprising its 32 teams.
The regular season is a seventeen-week schedule during which each team plays sixteen games and has one bye week. The season currently starts on the Thursday night in the first full week of September and runs weekly to late December or early January. At the end of each regular season, six teams from each conference (at least one from each division) play in the NFL playoffs, a twelve-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the championship game, known as the Super Bowl. This game is held at a pre-selected site which is usually a city that hosts an NFL team.
The NFL is the most attended domestic sports league in the world by average attendance per game, with 66,960 fans per game in 2010–11. Although not as frequently as the other major professional sports leagues in the United States, the NFL still is not immune to labor disputes, such as the players' strikes of 1982 and 1987, and more recently a lockout in 2011, though the latest did not result in the cancellation of any regular-season games.
George William Hoey (born November 14, 1946) is a former American football defensive back, punt returner and kickoff returner. He played college football for the University of Michigan Wolverines (1966–1968) and professionally in the National Football League (NFL) for the Arizona Cardinals (1971), New England Patriots (1972–1973), San Diego Chargers (1974), Denver Broncos (1975), and New York Jets (1975). In high school, Hoey was an All-State halfback. At the University of Michigan, College Football Hall of Fame halfback Ron Johnson was in Hoey's class, and Hoey was therefore used principally as a defensive back. Hoey is most remembered for his work as a punt returner at Michigan. He led the Big Ten Conference in punt return yards in 1967 and 1968, and still holds Michigan's modern era (post-1949) records for most punt return yards in a game (140), most return yards per punt in a season (24.3) and most return yards per punt in a career (17.1). Hoey was also a record-setting sprinter on Michigan's track and field team. In five seasons in the NFL, Hoey was principally a kickoff returner. In 1971, he set a St. Louis Cardinals club record with six kickoff returns for 206 yards, including one for 103 yards and a touchdown. He had 534 kickoff return yards in his career. Since 1993, Hoey has worked in administration at the University of Colorado. He worked first in academic services for the athletic department. After controversies in the late 1990s concerning eligibility of University of Colorado athletes, Hoey accepted a position in the school's career services department providing career counseling to student athletes.