The National Football League (NFL) is the highest level of professional football in the United States. Formed by eleven teams back in 1920, the NFL was originally called the American Professional Football Association. It changed its name in 1922, and it continued to develop and grow. There are now thirty-two American team in the NFL, and it is the top professional football league on the planet.
The NFL is split into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC), and the National Football Conference (NFC). Each conference has sixteen teams, and each is divided into four divisions of four teams.
The NFL is the most attended domestic sports league, with an average of 67,000 fans attending games in the 2010- 2011 season. With that kind of fan base, it is easy to see why selling NFL memorabilia, such as NFL jerseys, has become a profitable and popular venture.
A History of NFL Uniforms and NFL Jerseys
NFL Uniforms of the 1920s
Some of the most prized franchises of the NFL developed during the 1920s. The NFL jerseys and uniforms of this era were many and varied. The look of the teams changed from year to year, and uniforms were not always fancy. For example, the Chicago Cardinals took the field their first year wearing used uniforms. During this period, most team jerseys were made of a thick, wool-like material. Helmets were not yet mandatory in the 1920s, and so were rarely worn.
NFL Uniforms of the 1930s
During the 1930s, more franchises were added to the NFL roster. During this time, helmets became mandatory, though they were not yet designed to match team uniforms. Rather, they were made of a heavy brown leather. In fact, teams did not yet have themed jerseys, and most were still made of heavy material in basic colors. During the 1930s, teams started placing numbers on jerseys to help fans identify their favorite players. It was also during this decade that the first indoor football games were played.
NFL Uniforms of the 1940s
During the 1940s, the team uniforms of the NFL underwent a dramatic change. The first helmet design featuring a team logo was created in 1948 by a Los Angeles Ram player (he painted a set of ram’s horns on his leather helmet), and soon all football helmets began sporting logos and team colors. Teams also began experimenting with color combinations on their jerseys.
NFL Uniforms of the 1950s
The 1950s brought a lot of change to the way the NFL played football. "Overtime" was introduced to the game. Team jerseys and uniforms became more stylish. And teams began adopting helmets made of plastic. Plastic helmets were so successful that by the end of the decades, brown leather headgear was a thing of the past.
Team support and the fan base continued to grow. In 1958, a match took place between Baltimore and New York, which would eventually be known as "the Greatest Game Ever Played." It was the first playoff game to go into "sudden death overtime." Baltimore beat New York on their own turf (Yankee Stadium), and following this game, the NFL experienced a huge surge in popularity. Football soon became the top-grossing sport in the United States market.
NFL Uniforms of the 1960s
During the 1960s, the NFL’s competitor (and eventual sister-league), the AFL, gained many new teams. As new teams formed, new uniforms emerged, and a more modern look still reflected in today’s uniforms began to take shape. During the 1960s, the San Diego Chargers charged out in their baby blues, and the Denver Broncos first began wearing brown and mustard uniforms, complete with matching brown and mustard socks. It was also during this period that helmets began sporting facemasks.
NFL Uniforms of the 1970s
During the 1970s, for some teams, it was just as wild a time on the field as it was off. Unexpected color combinations began to take the field. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sported bright orange jerseys. The New England Patriots’ helmet featured a Minuteman at the line of scrimmage. Facemasks continued to grow in popularity until they became the norm.
NFL Uniforms of the 1980s
It was during the 1980s that many of today’s team logos, colors, and NFL jerseys were first created. It was the first decade in some time without any expansion teams in the NFL. The Chargers dropped their original uniform design, and their colors became deeper and darker. Both the Baltimore Colts and the Oakland Raiders moved during this decade.
NFL Uniforms of the 1990s
Sales of NFL jerseys and team uniforms really took off during the1990s. The sale of NFL jerseys became one of the biggest profit centers for the NFL, with fans demanding to wear the colors of their favorite teams. The New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, and other teams changed their uniforms during this decade. The Cleveland Browns became the Baltimore Ravens. The Los Angeles Rams moved to St Louis. And the Houston Oilers became the Tennessee Titans.
NFL Uniforms in the 2000s
During the 2000s, a new expansion team called the Houston Texans was created, and several more uniform changes took place throughout the league. During this time, the league began to allow the alternate team uniform, which can be worn as many as three times a year. These "Throwback Uniforms" have since become traditional Thanksgiving Day attire on the field.
Retirement of NFL Jerseys
When a team member in the NFL displays extraordinary talent and profoundly contributes to his team, the league may decide to retire his jersey number. Since this practice first began, 138 NFL jerseys have been retired. Fourteen Chicago Bears players have had their jerseys retired, the most of any NFL team. Reggie White’s number was retired by two different teams: the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Green Bay Packers. Traditionally, the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys do not retire jersey numbers. Of course, once an NFL jersey has been retired, its value skyrockets among collectors.
How to Buy NFL Jerseys on eBay
As you can see, the history of NFL jerseys and uniforms is an extensive one, making this type of apparel highly collectible. There are many places to purchase NFL jerseys, including specialty shops and various websites. When shopping for authentic NFL merchandise online, it is vital to choose a website with a good reputation. It is also a good idea to make sure the the site has strict buyer protection policies in place to protect you and your purchase.
One such site is eBay. eBay has an excellent Buyer Protection Plan in place, and any purchase made through their site and paid for through PayPal is covered by this plan. If a buyer is not completely satisfied with their purchase, not only will eBay refund the price of purchase, but also shipping and handling costs.
By simply typing in the words "NFL Jerseys," you can find a plethora of team shirts in various styles and colors. If you do not see the item you are looking for, you can save a search on eBay, and eBay will notify you when an item you have described comes up for sale on the site. You can also use eBay’s "Want it Now" feature, which informs sellers of the item you want, so that they can notify you if they have your item for sale.
Before making your eBay purchase, always check the profile of the seller. This lets you see his or her reputation on the site, and whether or not former buyers were satisfied with their products. Armed with this information, you can make an informed decision before spending money.