Timeline of the National Football League

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This article is a timeline of the National Football League (NFL). It tracks the history of each of the league's 32 current franchises from the early days of the league, through its merger with the American Football League (AFL). The history of franchises that began as independent teams, or as members of the Ohio League, New York Pro Football League, and other defunct leagues are shown as well.

NFL timeline[edit]

1920–1931: Before the playoffs[edit]

1920[edit]

The American Professional Football Association is formed. The fourteen teams were mainly drawn from the Ohio League, Chicago Circuit, New York Pro Football League and other teams from the lower midwest. A $100 membership fee was charged. The Chicago Tigers folded after season.[1]

^ Team folded this season
1920 APFA teams
Akron Pros 0 Dayton Triangles
Buffalo All-Americans 0 Decatur Staleys
Canton Bulldogs 0 Detroit Heralds
Chicago Cardinals 0 Hammond Pros
Chicago Tigers ^ 0 Muncie Flyers
Cleveland Tigers 0 Rochester Jeffersons
Columbus Panhandles 0 Rock Island Independents

1921[edit]

Number of teams increased to 21. Four teams lasted only one season. Three other franchises folded.

1921 name changes
1920 name 1921 name
Decatur Staleys Chicago Staleys
Detroit Heralds Detroit Tigers
Cleveland Tigers Cleveland Indians
First season in APFA * Team folded this season ^ Only season in the league §
1921 APFA teams
Akron Pros 0 Columbus Panhandles 0 Minneapolis Marines*
Buffalo All-Americans 0 Dayton Triangles 0 Muncie Flyers ^
Canton Bulldogs 0 Detroit Tigers ^ 0 New York Brickley Giants *^
Chicago Cardinals 0 Evansville Crimson Giants * 0 Rochester Jeffersons
Chicago Staleys 0 Green Bay Packers* 0 Rock Island Independents
Cincinnati Celts *^ 0 Hammond Pros 0 Tonawanda Kardex *^
Cleveland Indians ^ 0 Louisville Brecks * 0 Washington Senators *^

1922[edit]

The APFA was renamed the National Football League. Four new franchises awarded.

1922 name changes
1921 team name 1922 team name
Chicago Staleys Chicago Bears


First season in NFL * Team folded this season ^
1922 NFL teams
Akron Pros 0 Dayton Triangles 0 Minneapolis Marines
Buffalo All-Americans 0 Evansville Crimson Giants ^ 0 Oorang Indians *
Canton Bulldogs 0 Green Bay Packers 0 Racine Legion *
Chicago Bears 0 Hammond Pros 0 Rochester Jeffersons
Chicago Cardinals 0 Louisville Brecks 0 Rock Island Independents
Columbus Panhandles 0 Milwaukee Badgers * 0 Toledo Maroons *

1923[edit]

A new and distinct Cleveland Indians franchise was formed. Two other teams joined the NFL, the Duluth Kelleys and the St. Louis All Stars. The St. Louis team folded after one season.

1923 name changes
1922 team name 1923 team name
Columbus Panhandles Columbus Tigers
First season in NFL * Team folded this season ^ Last season before hiatus, rejoined league later §
1923 NFL teams
Akron Pros 0 Cleveland Indians * 0 Hammond Pros 0 Racine Legion
Buffalo All-Americans 0 Columbus Tigers 0 Louisville Brecks ^ 0 Rochester Jeffersons
Canton Bulldogs § 0 Dayton Triangles 0 Milwaukee Badgers 0 Rock Island Independents
Chicago Bears 0 Duluth Kelleys * 0 Minneapolis Marines 0 St. Louis All Stars * ^
Chicago Cardinals 0 Green Bay Packers 0 Oorang Indians ^ 0 Toledo Maroons ^

1924[edit]

Before the season, the owner of the Cleveland Indians bought the Canton Bulldogs and "mothballed" it, taking the team's nickname and players to Cleveland for the season. The Canton Bulldogs had won the NFL championship in 1923, and won it again as the Cleveland Bulldogs in 1924.

1924 name changes
1923 team name 1924 team name
Buffalo All-Americans Buffalo Bisons
Cleveland Indians Cleveland Bulldogs
First season in NFL * Team folded this season ^ Last season before hiatus, rejoined league later §
1924 NFL teams
Akron Pros 0 Dayton Triangles 0 Kenosha Maroons *^
Buffalo Bisons 0 Duluth Kelleys 0 Milwaukee Badgers
Chicago Bears 0 Frankford Yellow Jackets * 0 Minneapolis Marines §
Cleveland Bulldogs 0 Green Bay Packers 0 Racine Legion §
Columbus Tigers 0 Hammond Pros 0 Rochester Jeffersons
Chicago Cardinals 0 Kansas City Blues * 0 Rock Island Independents

1925[edit]

The Canton Bulldogs were reactivated. Four other franchises were awarded. This was the final season for the Rochester Jeffersons.

1925 name changes
1924 team name 1925 team name
Kansas City Blues Kansas City Cowboys
First season in NFL * Last active season ^ Last season before hiatus, rejoined league later §
Team jumped to the AFL Rejoined the NFL **
1925 NFL teams
Akron Pros 0 Columbus Tigers 0 Frankford Yellow Jackets 0 New York Giants *
Buffalo Bisons 0 Cleveland Bulldogs § 0 Green Bay Packers 0 Providence Steam Roller *
Chicago Bears 0 Dayton Triangles 0 Hammond Pros 0 Pottsville Maroons *
Chicago Cardinals 0 Duluth Kelleys 0 Kansas City Cowboys 0 Rochester Jeffersons ^
Canton Bulldogs ** 0 Detroit Panthers * 0 Milwaukee Badgers 0 Rock Island Independents

1926[edit]

The league grew to 22 teams, a figure that would not be equaled in professional football until 1961, adding the Brooklyn Lions, the Hartford Blues, the Los Angeles Buccaneers, and the Louisville Colonels, with Racine Tornadoes re-entering.

1926 name changes
1925 team name 1926 team name
Racine Legion Racine Tornadoes
Duluth Kelleys Duluth Eskimos
Akron Pros Akron Indians
Buffalo Bisons Buffalo Rangers
First season in NFL * Rejoined the NFL † Last active season ^
1926 NFL teams
Akron Indians ^ 0 Duluth Eskimos
Brooklyn Lions *^ 0 Hammond Pros ^
Buffalo Rangers 0 Hartford Blues *^
Chicago Bears 0 Kansas City Cowboys ^
Chicago Cardinals 0 Los Angeles Buccaneers *^
Dayton Triangles 0 Louisville Colonels *^
Green Bay Packers 0 Milwaukee Badgers ^
Frankford Yellow Jackets 0 New York Giants
Canton Bulldogs ^ 0 Providence Steam Roller
Columbus Tigers ^ 0 Pottsville Maroons
Detroit Panthers ^ 0 Racine Tornadoes †^

1927[edit]

Prior to the season, the league decided to eliminate the financially weaker teams. As a result, the league dropped from 22 to 12 teams, and a majority of the remaining teams were centered around the East Coast instead of the Midwest, where the NFL had started. The New York Yankees were added from the American Football League and the Cleveland Bulldogs returned.

1927 name changes
1926 team name 1927 team name
Buffalo Rangers Buffalo Bisons
Rejoined the NFL † Merged from 1926 AFL *
Last active season ^ Last season before hiatus, rejoined league later §
1927 NFL teams
Buffalo Bisons
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Cleveland Bulldogs
Dayton Triangles
Duluth Eskimos ^
Green Bay Packers
Frankford Yellow Jackets
New York Giants
New York Yankees *
Pottsville Maroons
Providence Steam Roller

1928[edit]

The NFL drops to ten teams. Two teams had folded, the Buffalo Bisons sat out the season and the Cleveland Bulldogs moved and played as the Detroit Wolverines.

1928 name changes
1927 team name 1928 team name
Cleveland Bulldogs Detroit Wolverines
Last active season ^
1928 NFL teams
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Dayton Triangles
Detroit Wolverines ^
Frankford Yellow Jackets
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
New York Yankees ^
Providence Steam Roller
Pottsville Maroons

1929[edit]

The league increased back to 12 teams with the addition of two franchises, the Staten Island Stapletons, and the Orange Tornadoes. Two mothballed teams activated for the season. Minneapolis re-entered as the Red Jackets and the re-entry of the Buffalo Bisons.

1929 name changes
1928 team name 1929 team name
Minneapolis Marines Minneapolis Red Jackets
Pottsville Maroons Boston Bulldogs
First season in NFL * Rejoined the NFL ** Last active season ^
1929 NFL teams
Boston Bulldogs ^
Buffalo Bisons **^
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Dayton Triangles
Frankford Yellow Jackets
Green Bay Packers
Minneapolis Red Jackets **
New York Giants
Orange Tornadoes *
Providence Steam Roller
Staten Island Stapletons *

1930[edit]

Prior to the season, Brooklyn businessmen William B. Dwyer and John C. Depler bought the Dayton Triangles, moved it, and renamed it the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Orange Tornadoes relocated to Newark. The Portsmouth Spartans entered as a new team.

1930 name changes
1929 team name 1930 team name
Orange Tornadoes Newark Tornadoes
Dayton Triangles Brooklyn Dodgers
First season in NFL * Last active season ^
1930 NFL teams
Brooklyn Dodgers
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Frankford Yellow Jackets
Green Bay Packers
Minneapolis Red Jackets ^
New York Giants
Newark Tornadoes ^
Providence Steam Roller
Portsmouth Spartans *
Staten Island Stapletons

1931[edit]

The league decreased to 10 teams due to financial hardships caused by the Great Depression. While the Cleveland Indians joined as an expansion team, the league lost the Minneapolis Red Jackets and the Newark Tornadoes. Even the Frankford Yellow Jackets had to fold midway through the season.

First season in NFL * Last active season ^
1931 NFL teams
Brooklyn Dodgers
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Cleveland Indians *^
Frankford Yellow Jackets ^
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
Providence Steam Roller ^
Portsmouth Spartans
Staten Island Stapletons

Early playoff era[edit]

1932[edit]

The Boston Braves (now Washington Redskins) enfranchised.

First season in NFL * Team folded this season ^
1932 NFL teams
Boston Braves*
Brooklyn Dodgers
Chicago Bears
Chicago Cardinals
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
Portsmouth Spartans
Staten Island Stapletons^

1933[edit]

  • Three new teams enfranchised:
    • Cincinnati Reds
    • Philadelphia Eagles
    • Pittsburgh Pirates (now Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • League split into Eastern and Western Divisions
  • First season in history of the league no team folds or suspends operations
1933 name change
1932 team name 1933 team name
Boston Braves Boston Redskins
First season in NFL *
1933 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Boston Redskins Chicago Bears
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Cardinals
New York Giants Cincinnati Reds*
Philadelphia Eagles* Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Pirates* Portsmouth Spartans

1934[edit]

  • Portsmouth Spartans moved to Detroit; renamed the Lions
  • Cincinnati Reds cease operations during season, and are replaced by the St Louis Gunners for the final 3 games.
1934 name change
1933 team name 1934 team name
Portsmouth Spartans Detroit Lions
First and last season in NFL † Last active season ^
1934 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Pirates Green Bay Packers
Boston Redskins Cincinnati Reds ^
St. Louis Gunners

1935–1936[edit]

  • Neither Cincinnati Reds nor St. Louis Gunners return for 1935 season.
19351936 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Pirates Green Bay Packers
Boston Redskins

1937–1939[edit]

  • Cleveland Rams (now Los Angeles Rams) enfranchised
  • Boston Redskins move to Washington, D.C.
1937 name change
1936 team name 1937 team name
Boston Redskins Washington Redskins
1937 is first season in NFL *
19371939 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Cleveland Rams*
Pittsburgh Pirates Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins Green Bay Packers

The 1940s: World War II mergers[edit]

1940–1942[edit]

1940 name change
1939 team name 1940 team name
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Steelers
Team mothballed after season, rejoined league 1944 §
19401942 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Cleveland Rams §
Pittsburgh Steelers Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins Green Bay Packers

1943[edit]

  • Philadelphia and Pittsburgh merge to form "Phil-Pitt"
Two teams merge for season †
1943 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Brooklyn Dodgers Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Phil-Pitt Steagles Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins Green Bay Packers

1944[edit]

  • Boston Yanks enfranchised.
  • Cleveland Rams resume operations.
  • Steagles end merger, Eagles resume operations
  • Steelers merge with Cardinals to form "Card-Pitt"
1944 name change
1943 team name 1944 team name
Brooklyn Dodgers Brooklyn Tigers
First season in NFL * Rejoined the NFL ** Two teams merge for season †
1944 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Boston Yanks * Chicago Bears
Brooklyn Tigers Card-Pitt
New York Giants Cleveland Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins Green Bay Packers

1945[edit]

  • Card-Pitt splits into Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Brooklyn Tigers merge with Boston Yanks, named simply "The Yanks"
Two teams merge for season †
1945 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
The Yanks Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Cleveland Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins Green Bay Packers

1946–1948[edit]

  • Brooklyn Tigers cease operations
  • Boston Yanks resume normal operations
  • Cleveland Rams move to Los Angeles
1946 name change
1945 team name 1946 team name
Cleveland Rams Los Angeles Rams
Last active season was 1948 ^
19461948 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Boston Yanks ^ Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers
Washington Redskins Los Angeles Rams

1949[edit]

  • Boston Yanks cease operations
  • New York Bulldogs enfranchised from the remains of the Boston Yanks
First season in NFL *
1949 NFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
New York Bulldogs * Chicago Bears
New York Giants Chicago Cardinals
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers
Washington Redskins Los Angeles Rams

The 1950s: AAFC merger[edit]

1950[edit]

  • Eastern Division renamed to American Conference
  • Western Division renamed to National Conference
  • San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, and the first Baltimore Colts all enfranchised from now-defunct All-America Football Conference. The Colts fold after the 1950 season.
  • New York Bulldogs change name to New York Yanks, move to National Conference
  • Chicago Cardinals move to American Conference
1950 name change
1949 team name 1950 team name
New York Bulldogs New York Yanks
Teams merge from AAFC ** Last active season ^
1950 NFL teams
American Conference National Conference
Chicago Cardinals Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns ** New York Yanks
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers **
Baltimore Colts ** ^

1951[edit]

  • The New York Yanks fold after the 1951 season.
Last active season ^
1951 NFL teams
American Conference National Conference
Chicago Cardinals Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns New York Yanks ^
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers

1952[edit]

  • Dallas Texans enfranchised with the remains of the now-defunct New York Yanks, but fold after one season.
First and last season in NFL *
1952 NFL teams
American Conference National Conference
Chicago Cardinals Chicago Bears
Cleveland Browns Dallas Texans *
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers

1953–1959[edit]

  • American Conference renamed the Eastern Conference
  • National Conference renamed the Western Conference
  • A second and distinct Baltimore Colts team enfranchised from the remains of the Dallas Texans
1953 is first season in NFL *
19531959 NFL teams
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Chicago Cardinals Baltimore Colts *
Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers

The 1960s: NFL and AFL[edit]

1960[edit]

  • American Football League (AFL) begins operations with eight teams as a rival to the NFL.
  • Dallas Cowboys enfranchised by NFL
  • Chicago Cardinals move to St. Louis
1960 name change
1959 team name 1960 team name
Chicago Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals
First season in NFL *
1960 AFL teams
Eastern Division Western Division
Boston Patriots Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills Dallas Texans
Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
Titans of New York Los Angeles Chargers
1960 NFL teams
Eastern Conference Western Conference
Cleveland Browns Baltimore Colts
New York Giants Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles Detroit Lions
Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers
St. Louis Cardinals Los Angeles Rams
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers
Dallas Cowboys *

1961–1962[edit]

  • NFL enfranchises the Minnesota Vikings
  • Los Angeles Chargers move to San Diego
  • Dallas Cowboys move to Eastern Division
1961 name change
1960 team name 1961 team name
Los Angeles Chargers San Diego Chargers
1961 is first season in NFL *
19611962 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Boston Patriots Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills Dallas Texans
Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
Titans of New York San Diego Chargers
19611962 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Cleveland Browns Baltimore Colts
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings*
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers

1963–1965[edit]

  • Dallas Texans move to Kansas City; renamed the Chiefs
  • Titans of New York renamed New York Jets
1963 name change
1962 team name 1963 team name
Titans of New York New York Jets
Dallas Texans Kansas City Chiefs
19631965 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Boston Patriots Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills Kansas City Chiefs
Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets San Diego Chargers
19631965 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Cleveland Browns Baltimore Colts
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears
New York Giants Detroit Lions
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers
Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Rams
St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings
Washington Redskins San Francisco 49ers

1966[edit]

  • Atlanta Falcons enfranchised by NFL
  • Miami Dolphins enfranchised by AFL
  • First AFL-NFL championship game played.
First season in NFL * First season in AFL **
1966 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Boston Patriots Denver Broncos
Buffalo Bills Kansas City Chiefs
Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
Miami Dolphins ** San Diego Chargers
New York Jets
1966 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Atlanta Falcons * Baltimore Colts
Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears
Dallas Cowboys Detroit Lions
New York Giants Green Bay Packers
Philadelphia Eagles Los Angeles Rams
Pittsburgh Steelers Minnesota Vikings
St. Louis Cardinals San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins

1967[edit]

  • NFL Eastern Conference divided into Capitol and Century Divisions
  • NFL Western Conference divided into Coastal and Central Divisions
  • New Orleans Saints enfranchised by NFL
  • Atlanta Falcons move to Western Conference
First season in NFL *
1967 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Buffalo Bills Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Kansas City Chiefs
Boston Patriots Oakland Raiders
New York Jets San Diego Chargers
Houston Oilers
1967 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Capitol Century Central Coastal
Dallas Cowboys Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints* New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings Baltimore Colts

1968[edit]

  • Cincinnati Bengals are enfranchised
  • New York Giants move to Capitol Division
  • New Orleans Saints move to Century Division
First season in AFL **
1968 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Buffalo Bills Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Kansas City Chiefs
Boston Patriots Oakland Raiders
New York Jets San Diego Chargers
Houston Oilers Cincinnati Bengals **
1968 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Capitol Century Central Coastal
Dallas Cowboys Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants New Orleans Saints Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings Baltimore Colts

1969[edit]

  • New York Giants move to Century Division
  • New Orleans moves to Capitol Division
1969 AFL teams
Eastern Western
Buffalo Bills Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Kansas City Chiefs
Boston Patriots Oakland Raiders
New York Jets San Diego Chargers
Houston Oilers Cincinnati Bengals
1969 NFL teams
Eastern Western
Capitol Century Central Coastal
Dallas Cowboys Cleveland Browns Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New Orleans Saints New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings Baltimore Colts

The 1970s: AFL–NFL merger[edit]

1970[edit]

  • AFL and NFL merge
    • AFL Eastern and Western Divisions become AFC East and AFC West, respectively
    • AFC Central formed.
    • NFL Century Division teams split up between AFC Central and NFC East
    • NFL Capitol Division becomes nucleus of NFC East
    • NFL Central Division becomes NFC Central
    • NFL Coastal Division becomes nucleus of NFC West
  • Houston moves from AFL East to AFC Central
  • Cincinnati moves from AFL West to AFC Central
  • New Orleans moves from NFL Capitol to NFC West
  • Cleveland moves from NFL Century to AFC Central
  • New York Giants move from NFL Century to NFC East
  • Pittsburgh moves from NFL Century to AFC Central
  • St. Louis moves from NFL Century to NFC East
  • Baltimore moves from NFL Coastal to AFC East
1970 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Baltimore Colts Cincinnati Bengals Denver Broncos
Boston Patriots Cleveland Browns Kansas City Chiefs
Buffalo Bills Houston Oilers Oakland Raiders
Miami Dolphins Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers
New York Jets
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons
New York Giants Detroit Lions Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals Minnesota Vikings San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins

1971–1975[edit]

  • Boston Patriots are renamed New England Patriots.
19711975 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Colts
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals

1976[edit]

  • Seattle Seahawks are enfranchised
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers are enfranchised
First season in NFL *
1976 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Colts Tampa Bay Buccaneers *
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals Seattle Seahawks *

1977–1981[edit]

  • Seattle moves from NFC West to AFC West
  • Tampa Bay moves from AFC West to NFC Central
19771981 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Colts Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 1980s and 1990s[edit]

1982–1983[edit]

  • Oakland Raiders move to Los Angeles.
19821983 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Baltimore Colts Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1984–1987[edit]

19841987 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
St. Louis Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1988–1993[edit]

  • St. Louis Cardinals move to Phoenix
19881993 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Phoenix Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1994[edit]

  • Phoenix Cardinals renamed Arizona Cardinals
1994 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Los Angeles Raiders
New York Jets Houston Oilers San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Los Angeles Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1995[edit]

  • Carolina Panthers enfranchised
  • Jacksonville Jaguars enfranchised
  • Los Angeles Raiders move back to Oakland
  • Los Angeles Rams move to St. Louis
First season in NFL * Team deactivated until 1999 §
1995 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Cleveland Browns § Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Jacksonville Jaguars * San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Houston Oilers Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears St. Louis Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carolina Panthers *

1996[edit]

  • Cleveland Browns franchise deactivated
  • Baltimore Ravens enfranchised with remains of deactivated Cleveland Browns
First season in NFL *
1996 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens* Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Jacksonville Jaguars San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Houston Oilers Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears St. Louis Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carolina Panthers

1997–1998[edit]

  • Houston Oilers announce that they will move to Nashville and are renamed the Tennessee Oilers. They play the 1997 season in Memphis and the 1998 season at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville while a new stadium is built in Nashville.
19971998 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Pittsburgh Steelers Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Jacksonville Jaguars San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Tennessee Oilers Seattle Seahawks
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears St. Louis Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carolina Panthers

1999–2001[edit]

  • Cleveland Browns franchise reinstated
  • Tennessee Oilers renamed Tennessee Titans
19992001 NFL teams
AFC East Central West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts Jacksonville Jaguars Seattle Seahawks
Tennessee Titans
NFC East Central West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears St. Louis Rams
New York Giants Detroit Lions San Francisco 49ers
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers Atlanta Falcons
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carolina Panthers

The 2000s: Realignment[edit]

2002–2015[edit]

  • The NFL realigns to create four divisions with four teams each in both conferences.
    • Arizona and Seattle join the NFC West
    • NFC Central renamed NFC North
    • AFC Central renamed AFC North
    • NFC South created
      • Tampa Bay moves from the old NFC Central
      • New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina move from the NFC West
    • AFC South created
      • Jacksonville and Tennessee move from the old AFC Central
      • Indianapolis moves from the AFC East
    • Houston Texans enfranchised
2002 is first season in NFL *
20022015 NFL teams[2][3][4]
AFC East North South West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans * Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans San Diego Chargers
NFC East North South West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers St. Louis Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

2016[edit]

  • St. Louis Rams return to Los Angeles after 21 seasons.[5]
2016 NFL teams[2][3][4]
AFC East North South West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Oakland Raiders
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans San Diego Chargers
NFC East North South West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

2017–present[edit]

  • San Diego Chargers return to Los Angeles after 56 seasons.[6]
2017–present NFL teams[2][3][4]
AFC East North South West
Buffalo Bills Baltimore Ravens Houston Texans Denver Broncos
Miami Dolphins Cincinnati Bengals Indianapolis Colts Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots Cleveland Browns Jacksonville Jaguars Los Angeles Chargers
New York Jets Pittsburgh Steelers Tennessee Titans Oakland Raiders
NFC East North South West
Dallas Cowboys Chicago Bears Atlanta Falcons Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants Detroit Lions Carolina Panthers Los Angeles Rams
Philadelphia Eagles Green Bay Packers New Orleans Saints San Francisco 49ers
Washington Redskins Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers Seattle Seahawks

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/
  2. ^ a b c "Realignment for 2002". National Football League. May 22, 2001. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "New alignment takes effect in 2002". ESPN. Associated Press. May 22, 2001. Retrieved March 21, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c Freeman, Mike (May 23, 2001). "PRO FOOTBALL; Owners Approve N.F.L. Realignment". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2016. 
  5. ^ Hanzus, Dan (January 12, 2016). "Rams to relocate to L.A.; Chargers first option to join". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  6. ^ http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/chargers-are-moving-to-los-angeles-after-56-years-in-san-diego/