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NFL Facts
by Trevor Whenham - 08/21/2008

NFL fans love NFL facts. At least some do. If you are one of them then this article is for you. Here is a collection some useful NFL facts, and others that you probably don't need to know. Just because you don't need to, though, doesn't mean you don't want to. Without further ado, onto the NFL facts:

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--Up until 1912, a touchdown was only worth five points
--The American Professional Football Association became the NFL on June 24, 1922. The Chicago Staleys became the Chicago Bears that year, and are the only team not to change name or city.
--The first night game was played in 1929 in Providence against the Chicago Cardinals.
--The first Pro Bowl was played Jan. 15, 1939 at Wrigley Field. The New York Giants beat the Pro All-Stars, 13-10.
--The AFL was started in 1940.
--CBS was the first network to broadcast games, in 1956. By 1965 they were paying $18.8 million per year for the rights.
--The Super Bowl trophy was renamed the Vince Lombardi trophy in 1970, the year Lombardi died.
--When Art Shell became the coach of the Raiders in 1989 he was the first African-American coach since Fritz Pollard in 1921 in Akron.
--College juniors became eligible for the NFL Draft in 1990 as long as they renounced their college eligibility before the draft.
--In 1990 every team had won at least one game in the first four weeks of the season. That hadn't happened since 1957.
--The 10,000th regular season game was played Oct. 5, 1997. The Seahawks beat the Tennessee Oilers, 16-13, in Seattle.
--In 2001 George Bush became the first President to do a regular season coin toss. Via satellite from the White House he tossed the coin for 10 games that started at once on Sept. 9. Needless to say, there were no games the next week.
--The Houston Texans became the 32nd and, to date, final expansion team in 2002. Tony Boselli was the first pick in the expansion draft. Injuries made him a bust.
--Within less than a month in 2002, running back Walter Payton lost two significant records. On Sept. 29 Jerry Rice passed him for most all-purpose yards. On Oct. 27, Emmitt Smith passed him to become the career rushing leader.

Here are some frequently asked questions for current and past NFL seasons:

When does the NFL season start? - The season starts Thursday, Sept. 4, when Washington visits the Giants. The rest of the games are Sunday except for two Monday night games.

How is the NFL Schedule determined? - See this article on the NFL Schedule Formula

Who was the first black NFL quarterback? - There are a few answers. On Oct. 18, 1953, Willie Thrower of the Bears was the first African-American to take a snap in a pro game. It wasn't until 1968, though, that Marlin Briscoe, a rookie with Denver, became the first African-American starter. Doug Williams was the first to win a Super Bowl, and Warren Moon was the first African-American QB in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Who is the shortest player in the NFL? - J.J. Moses and Darren Sproles are both 5'6"

What is the average NFL salary? - Given the salary cap in 2008, the average salary will be approximately $2.27 million

What is the starting salary in the NFL? - The minimum NFL player salary for rookies is $285,000

What is the perimeter of an NFL football field? - The field is 300 feet or 100 yards long, and 160 feet or 53 1/3 yards wide, so the perimeter is 920 feet or 306 2/3 yards.

Who is the fastest man in the NFL? - Cornerback Justin Miller of the Jets won the NFL's Fastest Man competition in 2007, though many would argue that Devin Hester is faster.

How long was the longest NFL punt? - On Sept. 21, 1969, Steve O'Neal of the Jets punted 98 yards against the Broncos.

What are the highest NFL salaries? - As of 2007: Dwight Freeney, Colts, $30.75 million; Marc Bulger, Rams, $17.5 million; Leonard Davis, Cowboys, $17 million; Gaines Adams, Buccaneers, $15.4 million; Robert Geathers, Bengals, $14 million

Who is the highest paid player in the NFL? - Dwight Freeney

How many NFL football teams are there? - 32

Who is the oldest franchise in the NFL? - The Arizona Cardinals can trace their history back to 1890 in Chicago.

Who threw the most interceptions in the NFL (all-time)? - Brett Favre with 288 as of 2007. (He also has the most touchdowns)

What was the first NFL team? - The Arizona Cardinals (then the Chicago Cardinals)

What NFL team has the best record (all-time)? - The Bears have the most wins, and the Cowboys have the best winning percentage