20 Unforgettable Moments And Facts From Nfl History5 min read

20 Unforgettable Moments And Facts From Nfl History<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">5</span> min read</span>
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American football and the National Football League (NFL) are deeply ingrained in American culture. As the premier professional American football league, the NFL produces some of the world's greatest athletes and most memorable moments.

Founded in 1920, the league has a rich history full of record-breaking performances, unbelievable plays, tragedy, triumph, and everything in between. Below we detail 20 fascinating facts and unforgettable moments from NFL history you need to know.

Key Highlights

●   A 30-second ad spot in the 2024 Super Bowl cost advertisers close to $7 million

●   NFL Commissioner Bert Bell died of a heart attack while watching an NFL game in 1959

●   The Super Bowl has become an unofficial American national holiday

●   The Arizona Cardinals are the oldest existing NFL franchise, tracing their history to 1898

●   Tom Brady holds the record for most Super Bowl wins at 7 championships

Behind the Numbers: Facts and Figures of America's Favorite League

With over 100 years of history to draw from, there is no shortage of eye-opening statistics and records when it comes to the NFL.

Advertising & Viewership

The Super Bowl stands in a league of its own when it comes to viewership and advertising revenue:

●   113.6 million people watched Super Bowl LVII in 2024, making it the 2nd most-watched Super Bowl in history

●   The cost of a 30-second ad during the Big Game has risen 64.7% from 2015 to 2024, reaching $7 million in 2024

●   50.4 million Americans were forecasted to bet a total of $16 billion on the 2024 Super Bowl

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Cost of 30 Sec Ad

Increase from 2015


$4.5 million



$7 million


20 Unforgettable Moments And Facts From Nfl History

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Team Records

●   The Arizona Cardinals hold the record for the oldest NFL franchise, tracing their history back to 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club

●   The Indianapolis Colts own the longest win streak in NFL History at 23 games during the 2008-2009 seasons

●   The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL's most valuable franchise, generating $1.14 billion in revenue in 2024

Historic Games, Plays, and Personalities

Beyond the numbers and figures, some of the NFL's most memorable moments come from the unbelievable games, plays, and personalities that have entertained fans for generations.

Off-the-Field Tragedy Strikes

NFL Commissioner Bert Bell suffered a fatal heart attack while attending an NFL game between his former two teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, on October 11, 1959. Bell collapsed soon after Eagles wide receiver Tommy McDonald caught a touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

Greatest Game Ever Played

The 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants, won by the Colts 23-17 in overtime, is considered one of the most influential games in NFL history due to its national exposure and television audience. Dubbed "The Greatest Game Ever Played", historians believe this game marked the start of the NFL's rise to unprecedented popularity.

The "Steel Curtain" Dominates

The 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls over the decade, boasting a stifling defensive unit nicknamed the “Steel Curtain” led by “Mean” Joe Greene. The Steel Curtain anchored Pittsburgh to victories in Super Bowls IX, X, XIII and XIV to become the most successful NFL franchise of the decade.

Perfect Dolphins Make History

The only team to complete a perfect undefeated season (regular season and playoffs) in the Super Bowl era, the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 17-0 behind Hall of Fame coach Don Shula and quarterback Bob Griese. Their iconic season culminated with a win over Washington in Super Bowl VII.

Tom Brady – The G.O.A.T.

No player in NFL history can match the career resume of quarterback Tom Brady. The fifteen-time Pro Bowler has a record 7 Super Bowl championships and three regular season MVP awards. Brady owns a slew of NFL records including most regular season (251) and playoff (35) wins all-time upon his retirement after the 2022 season.



Super Bowl Wins


NFL MVP Awards


Career Regular Season Wins


Career Playoff Wins


Brady cemented himself as the Greatest of All Time through his unmatched career accomplishments and longevity over 23 record-shattering seasons in the NFL.

More Surprising Moments in NFL History

Commissioner Suffers Fatal Heart Attack at Game

During a 1959 game between the Eagles & Steelers, commissioner Bert Bell collapsed and died of a heart attack just as the Eagles scored a late touchdown to seal a win. This bizarre coincidence led to rumors that the excitement of the play caused Bell's untimely passing.

Super Bowl Loss Due to Lost Helmet

Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas infamously misplaced his helmet before Super Bowl XXVI and missed the first two offensive series. While he eventually found his helmet and entered the game, the bizarre incident disrupted his pre-game preparation and routine, possibly contributing to Buffalo's 37-24 loss.

20 Unforgettable Moments And Facts From Nfl History

Two 59-0 Blow Outs

The largest margin of victory in an NFL game is 59 points, occuring in both 1976 (LA Rams over Atlanta Falcons) and 2009 (New England Patriots over Tennessee Titans). Both games provided statistical anomalies such as the Patriots setting records for largest halftime (45-0) and quarterback Tom Brady collecting 5 touchdown passes in one quarter.

Super Bowl Return to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

In 2010, the New Orleans Saints won their first ever Super Bowl just 4 years removed from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the city and its infrastructure in 2005. The victory gave the recovering city something to rally around as they rebuilt.

Ben Roethlisberger Becomes Youngest Super Bowl Winning Quarterback

Winning the Super Bowl is difficult enough, but Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger etched his name into the history books by becoming the youngest signal caller ever to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after the Steelers' victory in Super Bowl XL. Big Ben was just 23 years and 322 days old at the time of his first championship.

Final Takeaways

This sampling of 20 facts and moments barely scratches the surface of the NFL's extensive and growing 100-plus year history.

From the league's financial dominance to some of the world's greatest athletes and teams to the unforgettable games and plays, the rich history found in the NFL record books will undoubtedly expand for decades to come.

New teams, players, records, and championships may capture headlines, but these facts and moments have already cemented their place in football lore forever.