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The National Football League (NFL), also referred to as Gridiron outside of the United States, is the preeminent North American football competition.
The NFL is one of four major professional sports leagues in North America – along with the NBA, MLB and NHL, and was launched as a professional competition in 1920.
The NFL competition consists of 32 teams divided into the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) – both conferences consist of four divisions.
Contested annually across the American autumn-winter season, the NFL regular season consists of 16 games and one bye running across a total of 17 weeks.
The NFL playoffs, an elimination tournament, consists of six teams from each conference (four division winners and two wild cards) competing within their respective conferences. At the end of the playoffs the two conference winners compete in the grand final known as the Super Bowl.
Until 1970 professional American football consisted of two leagues; the American Football League (AFL), and National Football League (NFL) until they were merged through a deal brokered in 1966.
The sport also has the highest average attendance of any North American sport with approximately 67,500 attendees per match; the Super Bowl, the culmination of the NFL season, is one of the most watched sporting events worldwide.
The Pittsburgh Steelers remain the most successful franchise since the AFL and NFL merged, winning six Super Bowls since 1966. Morten Andersen (Denmark) holds the record for the most NFL games played (382) as well as the record for most points of all time (2,544), Morten competed in the NFL from 1982-2007, an astonishing record.