When the Super Bowl era started, there were two different leagues. You had the NFL and the AFL. The winner of each league would play in a championship game that became known as the Super Bowl. Going way back before that, you had the American Professional Football Association. This was the first ever organized professional football league.
On September 17th 1920, 12 team owners each paid $100 to field a team in the newly formed American Professional Football Association. 14 teams showed up for the meeting but only 12 wound up fielding teams in the first season.
In 1922 after 2 seasons, the league officially changed it’s name to the National Football League, or the NFL.
The 12 teams in the league represented 4 states: Ohio, New York, Illiniois, and Indiana. Jim Thorpe was named the President of the league and game-play started almost immediately. The league did not have a playoff in its first season, but rather the team with the best record was named Champion. The Champion that year was the Akron Pros who had a record of 8-0-3.
Shockingly, two teams formed in this league still remain today. The Decatur Staleys, now the Chicago Bears, and the Chicago Cardinals, now the Arizona Cardinals both have persevered through the years to make it to the 100th NFL season!