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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 eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing its name to the National Football League in 1922. Its merger with the American Football League, agreed to in 1966 and completed in 1970, created the Super Bowl, the NFL's championship game since the merger, which has become one of the most watched sporting events in the world.
The league currently consists of thirty-two 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(c) association,a federal nonprofit designation, comprising its 32 teams.
The regular season is a seventeen-week schedule during which each team plays sixteen 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 twelve-team single-elimination tournament that culminates with the Super Bowl. This game is held at a pre-selected site which is usually a city that hosts an NFL team.