Football Facts
Football Facts

58 Winning Football Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published August 20, 2016Updated August 15, 2019
  • American Football grew out of English sports such as rugby and soccer and became popular on American college campuses in the late 1800s.[13]
  • In 1876, a coach named Walter Camp, who is considered the “Father of American Football,” helped produce the first rules of American football. Among important changes were the introduction of line scrimmages and down-and-distance rules.[2]
  • The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920; two years later it changed its name to the National Football League (NFL), which would ultimately become the major league of American football.[2]
  • Watching Football
    A 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl costs around $5 million
  • The most watched television event in the United States is the Super Bowl.[2]
  • It takes about 600 cows to make one full season’s worth of NFL footballs.[12]
  • The Wilson Sporting Goods Company in Ada, Ohio, has been the official football supplier for the NFL since 1941. They make more than 2 million footballs of all sorts every year.[12]
  • A cow has only a 1 in 17,420,000 chance of becoming an NFL football that is used in the Super Bowl.[12]
  • Only two players have caught, rushed, and thrown a touchdown against the same team in the same game: Walter Payton in 1979 and David Patton in 2001.[16]
  • While football originally was popular in Midwestern industrial towns, its growth in popularity around the U.S. is typically traced to the 1958 NFL Championship game, which has been called the “Greatest Game Ever Played.”[13]
  • Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Dorsett is the only player to rush for a 99-yard touchdown, in 1983.[16]
  • Just two years after finishing their careers, approximately 78% of NFL players go bankrupt.[14]
  • Injured Player
    Football at the collegiate level has the most catastrophic injuries compared to any other sport
  • Injured football players in televised NFL games get six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players.[1]
  • In 1892, former Yale star William “Pudge” Heffelfinger became the first recognized pro player when he accepted $500 to play for the Allegheny Athletic Association.[2]
  • Though football games usually last around 3 hours, the ball is typically in play for only 11 minutes. Around 56% of the game on TV is devoted to replays.[1]
  • In an NFL game, as many as 75 minutes, or about 60% of total TV air time (excluding commercials), is spent on shots of players standing on the line of scrimmage, huddling, or just walking around between snaps.[1]
  • During broadcast NFL games, cheerleaders are on TV for only about 3 seconds. Coaches and referees receive around 7% of the face time in a game.[1]
  • An NBC’s Sunday Night Football producer says that he makes it a point to get Dallas cheerleaders on screen but “otherwise, it’s not really important . . . if it’s the Jets, I couldn’t care less.”[11]
  • In the 1930s, NFL game telecasts were simply a constant feed of the field. Instant replay became commonplace in the mid-1960s, which helped fill the idle moments of the game. By the 1990s, some football broadcasts showed about 100 replays per game.[1]
  • Deion Sanders is the only person in history to both hit an MLB home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week. He’s also the only person to play in the World Series and the Super Bowl.[2]
  • Football Cheerleaders
    NFL teams began to form cheer squads in the 1960s
  • NFL cheerleaders typically make $50–$75 a game. However, by the time they spend money on makeup, hair accessories, dance classes, etc., they end up losing money.[16]
  • The NFL has an annual revenue of $9 billion, with a profit of 1 billion. MLB has an annual revenue of $7.2 billion, with a profit of $49 million.[7]
  • The NFL consists of 32 teams, with an average team value of $1 billion. MLB has 30 teams, with an average team value of $523 million.[7]
  • The average game attendance for an NFL game is 66,957 spectators. For MLB, it’s 30,135 spectators.[7]
  • There are nearly 3 million sports industry jobs in the U.S, which is approximately 1% of the population.[7]
  • According to the California Avocado Commission, 12 million pounds of avocados will be purchased in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. On Super Bowl Sunday, Americans will eat 8 million pounds of guacamole.[9]
  • Though wings and pizza are the most popular Super Bowl snacks, around 11 million pounds of chips are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday. Additionally, around 4 million pounds of pretzels and 2.5 million pounds of nuts are eaten that day.[8]
  • Contrary to common opinion, the “G” on the Green Bay Packers helmet doesn’t stand for Green Bay. Rather, it stands for “Greatness.”[15]
  • Baltimore Ravens
    The Baltimore Ravens are named after Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven"
  • The Baltimore Ravens are named after Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.” The team mascots are named Edgar, Allan, and Poe. Poe wrote his famous poem while living in Baltimore in the 1830s.[2]
  • Six teams in the NFL don’t employ cheerleaders: the Bears, the Browns, the Lions, the Giants, the Steelers, and the Packers.[11]
  • Super Bowl XLV was the first Super Bowl with no cheerleaders at the game because both the Steelers and the Packers don’t employ cheerleaders.[11]
  • The most famous NFL cheerleading squad is the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. They were originally a male/female group called the CowBelles & Beaux.[4]
  • The last scoreless NFL game was in 1943 when the Detroit Lions and New York Giants battled it out for a 0-0 tie.[2]
  • As of September 2012, the Dallas Cowboys were the highest-valued sports franchise in the history of the United States.[5]
  • The wealthiest team in the NFL is the Dallas Cowboys. They have an estimated value of approximately $2.1 billion and generate almost $269 million in annual revenue.[10]
  • The first recognized football game as played between Rutgers and Princeton Universities in 1869, using rugby-like rules.[2]
  • Red Grange was football’s first true superstar. He was one of the first athletes to sign endorsements. His games attracted record crowds and he also starred in several movies.[2]
  • American football has several names around the world. In Europe it’s called soccer, and in the U.K. it’s called rugby.[13]
  • Football Huddle
    Before the 1890s, football players didn't discuss plays in huddles
  • The huddle was invented by Paul Hubbard. A legally deaf quarterback from Gallaudet University, he “huddled” other players together so he could hear them better and to protect them from the other teams’ prying eyes.[2]
  • The Miami Dolphins are the only NFL team in history to complete an undefeated playing season, in 1972.[6]
  • The days when Super Bowl games are played rank second when it comes to the highest American food consumption. The number one day when Americans eat is Thanksgiving.[6]
  • The shortest NFL player was Jack “Soapy” Shapiro, who was 5'1" and weighed only 119 pounds. He was a blocking back for the Staten Island Stapeltons (“Stapes”) in 1929.[6]
  • NBA players earn a bit over $4 million. MLB players earn a little under $3 million. NFL players are the lowest-paid players, with salaries that average to less than $1.5 million dollars.[7]
  • Helmets weren’t mandatory for football players until 1939.[2]
  • Repeated concussions among football players can raise the risk for CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and mental health issues including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and depression.[10]
  • Professional as well as college football teams often use the CorTemp Ingestible Core Body Thermometer Pill,” which was developed by NASA to keep track of astronauts’ body temperatures. When a football player’s body temperature rises too high, they are removed from play and given first aid.[2]
  • Football Pizza
    Domino's alone delivers approximately 11 million slices of pizza on Super Bowl Sunday
  • On Super Bowl Sunday, pizza delivery drivers get into more accidents than any other day of the year.[10]
  • The field’s yellow line first-down marker costs $20,000 per football TV broadcast, or $5,120,000 during a regular season.[16]
  • Ronnie Lott had his left pinky amputated after the 1985 season. It had been crushed during a tackle on running back Timmy Newsome.[10]
  • Approximately 80% of Super Bowl tickets go to corporate sponsors.[10]
  • More pizza is sold on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year. Psychologists note that there are situations/events socially tied to food categories, such as the Super Bowl and pizza, Easter and eggs, etc.[9]
  • Antacid sales increase by 20% the day after the Super Bowl. Additionally, 6% of Americans will call in sick the day after.[9]
  • The average Super Bowl-watching party has at least 17 guests.[9]
  • Super Bowl weekend is the second-biggest grilling weekend of the year. July 4th is the first.[9]
  • During Super Bowl halftime, there are an estimated 90 million toilet flushes. That’s equivalent to 180 million gallons of water flowing at once, or 3.5 minutes of flowing water on the Niagara Falls.[10]
  • Football Beer
    Americans drink 50 million cases of beer on Super Bowl weekend
  • Americans drink 50 million cases of beer on Super Bowl weekend, which is a tab of more than $10.8 billion.[9]
  • The oldest NFL stadium still in use is Soldier Field in Chicago.[2]
  • Legends Football League promoters say that “lingerie football” (Legends Football League) is the fastest growing pro sports franchise in the country. Despite its popularity, critics say it degrades its athletes through “pernicious objectification.”[3]
  • Americans eat approximately 1.25 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl weekend.[9]

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