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Most people in Ireland and across Europe have little or no knowledge of American football except possibly when they tune into the Superbowl each year. I have a story to tell which is sweeping the States right now but for our non American readers I decided to give you some background to the game first so you might understand it better.

*The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by 11 teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. The league currently consists of 32 teams from the United States. The league is divided evenly into two conferences – the American Football Conference (AFC) and National Football Conference (NFC), and each conference has four divisions that have four teams each, for a total of 16 teams in each conference. The NFL is an unincorporated 501 association, a federal nonprofit designation, comprising its 32 teams.

The regular season is a 17-week schedule during which each team play 16 games and has one bye week. The season currently starts on the Thursday night in the first full week of September and runs weekly to late December or early January. At the end of each regular season, six teams from each conference (at least one from each division) play in the NFL playoffs, a 12-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the championship game, known as the Super Bowl. This game is held at a pre-selected site which is usually a city that hosts an NFL team.

The NFL is the most attended domestic sports league in the world by average attendance per game, with 66,960 fans per game in 2010-11.

The story I want to tell is called ‘The Tebow Effect’ so look out for it in next week’s publication.

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*courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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