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NFL: What about the NFL team moves?

Aside from baseball and basketball, there is hardly a sport that represents the USA as much as football. For some years now, more and more Germans have been watching the Superbowl and are amazed at the impressive halftime shows. Just like the rules of the NFL, most non-Americans are unaware of the moves of some NFL teams. In this guide we will clarify exactly what this is all about.

Moving an NFL team - what does it mean?

As already mentioned, it is not uncommon for the NFL teams to move. But what does that even mean?

Basically, it means what it means: An NFL team moves from one US city to another. It is not uncommon for fans to react with disappointment to the so-called "relocation" process. After all, it is they who actively support the players with their fan chants and by buying tickets and season tickets.

Moving doesn't mean moving. There have been many types of parades throughout the history of the NFL, which can be divided into different categories. In order to understand this, it is worthwhile to explain the NFL again in more detail.

The American Football National Football League, or NFL for short, consists of 32 professional clubs. The teams are organized as franchises in the National Football Conference - NFC - and the American Football Conference - AFC - as commercial companies. The conferences are divided into four divisions. The cardinal points play a decisive role here: four teams are assigned to one cardinal point. NFC South includes, for example, the Carolina Panthers, AFC West includes, among others. the Kansas City Chiefs.

So we can say: When a team moves, it moves as a franchise or as a commercially organized company. As with other commercial organizations, profitability plays an important role.

In the NFL, a basic distinction is made between actual relocations and mergers. When actually moving, clubs have changed their actual location. Most of the time they changed their name as a result. Mergers correspond to the principle known from business: Two or more clubs merge by being bought up by one club.

Mergers in particular have come under criticism since the late 20th century. Originally, the first clubs merged out of financial hardship or due to a lack of players. Later, the focus was on profit.

There are other differences when it comes to actual moves. Some clubs have moved permanently from one metropolitan area to the next, while others only move to a new location for a certain period of time. In addition, there are clubs that have moved within a metropolitan area.

Moving in the NFL: Possible Reasons

In many cases it is not so easy to answer why an association is moving. Usually financial aspects are the reason. Of course, this is rarely communicated so openly. Most of the NFL clubs are privately owned. As a rule, they are interested in better profits, facilities or stadiums, and support from the fans. As a result, economically strong locations, such as the Los Angeles metropolitan area, are particularly interesting for club owners.

Which teams have moved?

The National Football League has been around for 100 years. A lot has happened during this time that has affected the teams and their owners. In the 1920s it was mainly the Great Depression and in the 1940s the Second World War. As mentioned earlier, there are several forms of NFL removals. In the following we limit ourselves to the most significant.

Decatur Staleys

In 1921, just a year after the NFL was founded, the Decatur Staleys moved from Decatur, Illinois to Chicago, Illinois and were promptly renamed the Chicago Bears. These are still part of the NFL in the NFC North division.

Toledo Maroons

The Toledo Maroons were a professional football team from Toledo, Ohio. In 1922 they joined the NFL. An insufficient number of stadium visitors led to the move from Toledo to Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the 1924 season, the team then took part in the NFL as Kenosha Maroons. However, the first season was also the last.

Cleveland Bulldogs

From 1924 to 1928 the Cleveland Bulldogs played in Cleveland, Ohio. The team then moved to Detroit, Michigan and was renamed the Detroit Wolverines. After just one season, the Detroit Wolverines franchise was bought out by the New York Giants.
These have been part of today's NFL in the NFC East division since 1970.

Postville Maroons

The Postville Maroons were an NFL team based out of Postville, Pennsylvania. From 1925 to 1928 they played in the NFL, after which the team was relocated to Boston, Massachusetts and played as the Boston Bulldogs from 1929, but only for one season.

Dayton Triangles

The Dayton Triangles were in Dayton, Ohio prior to moving to Brooklyn, New York. In Brooklyn they played as Dodgers from 1930 before they were renamed the Brooklyn Tigers in 1944.

Portsmouth Spartans

Another team from Ohio had to leave their home state: In 1934 the Portsmouth Spartans moved from Portsmouth, Ohio to Detroit, Michigan. There they continued to play as the Detroit Lions, who currently play in the NFL's NFC North division.

Boston Braves

Originally started as the Boston Braves in 1932, the Boston Redskins played in Boston, Massachusetts until 1937. In 1937 the team moved to Washington, D.C. and from then on played as Washington Redskins. Today the team is represented under the name Washington Football Team in the NFC East of the NFL.

Cleveland Rams

The Cleveland Rams played in Cleveland, Ohio from 1939 to 1946. Between 1995 and 2015, the Los Angeles Rams played as the St. Louis Rams in St. Louis, Missouri. Today the team is known as the Los Angeles Rams and currently plays as part of the NFC West division in the NFL.

Chicago Cardinals

Between 1920 and 1959 the Cardinals played in Chicago, Illinois. The team then moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where they were represented as St. Louis Cardinals. As if that weren't enough, the team moved from Missouri to Phoenix, Arizona in 1987. From 1988 to 1993 the team was known as the Phoenix Cardinals. Since then, the team has been represented as the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West of the NFL.

Los Angeles Chargers

In 1960, the Los Angeles Chargers started in Los Angeles, but moved to San Diego just a year later. There they played as San Diego Chargers until 2016, before moving back to Los Angeles, where they play again as Los Angeles Chargers today. In the NFL, they are part of the AFC West division.

Dallas Texans

In 1963 the Dallas Texans moved from Dallas, Texas to Kansas City, Missouri and were henceforth represented as Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL. Since 1970 they have been assigned to the AFC West division of the NFL.

Oakland Raiders

In 1960, the Oakland Raiders team was formed in Oakland, California. In 1982 the team then moved to Los Angeles and was represented from there until 1994 as the Los Angeles Raiders in the NFL. In 1995 the team moved back to Oakland, California. Last year the team moved from California to Nevada and has been called the Las Vegas Raiders ever since. This is also the NFL's most recent move.

Baltimore Colts

The Baltimore Colts played in Baltimore, Maryland from 1953 to 1984. The team then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana and has always been called the Indianapolis Colts. The team belongs to the AFC South division of the NFL.

Houston Oilers

The Housten Oilers played in Houston, Texas until 1996 and then - after a short stopover in Memphis in 1997 - moved to Nashville, Tennessee and were then represented in the NFL for a year under the name Tennessee Oilers. In 1998 the name was changed to Tennessee Titans. The team is assigned to the AFC South division of the NFL.

Consequences of the moves

Of course, the moves of the NFL teams have the greatest impact on the fans. With the United States being so vast, moving can mean moving a team several thousand kilometers. In such cases, fans who previously came to the game by car have to transfer to a plane, which is usually associated with costs. In addition, a move also affects the abandoned regions or communities, which may lose tax revenue and have to give up an attraction.

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