We all love the NFL, and with football season
starting up again, we cannot wait to get back into it. While we all
love it when football season comes around, so few of us actually know
the background to this epic sport. Things such as how it came into
being, how the teams got picked, and how players are drafted.
These are all things that are key to making the NFL amazing and crafting incredible NFL teams, but so many fans are oblivious to this knowledge. So, let’s answer some of these questions for you.
First we have to note that there are 32 teams in the NFL, they are
split between two conferences the AFC and NFC, which we will talk about
Players are picked for teams by drafting, which we will later discuss
at length, and so teams get into the NFL through one of the two
conferences, and the players for these teams are picked by the NFL by
drafting college football players. It's as simple as that, well, sort
of. There is much about the process that is complex, but the premise of
how teams and players get into the NFL is pretty basic at its core.
The two conferences.
Let's talk about the conferences. The 32 teams that
make up the NFL are split between the American Football Conference
(AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference is
then broken down into 4 divisions; North, East, South, and West. And
then each division has 4 teams, they play each other twice a year, in
one home game and then in one away game. These instra-division teams
have some of the most major rivalries in the sport as they play each
The rest of the 16-game regular season is based on the team's relative
performance in the year prior, and is done on a rotating schedule so
that every team will play each other at least once in every 3 to 4
Teams started to split between the AFC and NFC in 1966 following an
agreement between the rivals; NFL and AFL to become what we know as the
NFL today. Before the merger between these two there were much fewer
teams than there are now, but as the sport became more popular, new
cities started teams, and they would get taken into the NFL. The team
would then be put into either the AFC or NFC, eventually creating the
equal 16-team conferences we know now and a total of 32 teams.
So, we know the NFL consists of 32 teams, divided
into 16 teams per each conference. And we know each conference has 4
divisions with 4 teams in each.
During the regular season, each team has a maximum of 55 players, with
only 48 of these typically being active on game days. The teams can
also have 12 player practice squads as well.
This leads us to wonder about the draft picks and how this works. How exactly are professional football players selected?
We know that the teams are put into one of the two conferences within
the NFL, but how do the players get into these teams in the first place?
Well, here is where we answer this. Every April, the
NFL will hold a draft of college players. This will consist of seven
rounds, with each of the 32 teams getting one pick in each round. The
draft order for non-playoff teams is then determined by regular-season
record, and among play-off teams, teams are first ranked by the
furthest round of playoffs that they reached, then by regular-season
The champion of the Super Bowl will always draft last, and the losing
Super Bowl team will draft second to last. Every draftee must be at
least 3 years graduated from high school to be eligible, and they must
then write an application to the NFL by January 15th renouncing their
remaining college eligibility.
Aside from the 7 picks each team gets, there are also compensatory
draft picks, which are given to teams who have lost more compensatory
free agents than they have gained. These will be spread out from rounds
3 to 7 and a total of 32 will be given.
Drafts are complicated, but for the draftees, it's the most exciting thing in the world.