Research on the Evolution of the NFL Player

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The first season of the NFL was played more than a century ago. Things have changed drastically since that time. Plays look, play, and train another way. The industry developed, and now NFL player is one of the most prestigious careers. However, other factors, such as positional expectations and playing styles, have also altered. And we don’t even mention salaries and trophies. 

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Before digging into details, it’s crucial to say about the main change – the topic’s popularity. Today, finding someone who knows nothing about the NFL is hard. Things were obviously different back in the 1920s. Now newspaper reporters, office workers, students, and probably even your essay writer nowadays often know a lot about NFL players and the league’s rich history. So don’t be surprised if your teacher asks you to write the research on the theme or if some knowledge will be needed just to maintain small talk. The good news is the theme deserves thorough attention and has enough material to make research. Read on to ensure that this statement is correct.

How Did NFL Players Look Like: Then And Now

Players were noticeably larger and stronger compared to average men. However, this feature only grew with time. The first tackle Forest Gregg was one of two members of the Hall of Fame in the line of attack for Green Bay in 1966. He weighed 113 kg. Just so you understand, Broderick Jones, the best student in the position in recent years, was signed by the University of Georgia, weighing 136 kg.

The average size of today’s linear in the NFL is 193 cm, 142 kg. By the end of the 2019 season, the NFL had 372 players weighing 136 kg. In 1966, there was only one player in the entire AFL and NFL, weighing 136 kilograms – Roger Brown. The 136-kilogram linear was considered a big guy, but now it’s average. Today, the average linear parameters in the NFL are 193 cm and 142 kg.

How NFL Players Have Changed

What are other things about football players that have changed? Their attitude to the game has changed a lot. Back then, the game wasn’t the center of players’ universe. Many of them had other jobs and played only on weekends. So they didn’t devote much time to training. 

They were “professionals” in the sense that they were being paid.

Today, being an NFL player means having a successful career. Middle earnings are 2.1 million in the NFL. Therefore, thousands of young people are fighting for the right to play in the league. The maximum time is devoted to training in this state of affairs. No one treats the game as a hobby.

Only 1.2% of college-level players are selected in the NFL draft, a steeper decline than those from high school to the professionals. Some experts also see a reverse connection between grades and love for sports. But does passion for sports affect academic performance? It remains a big question.

Modern players get a growing amount of aid from trainers, nutritionists, and medical personnel. Specialists help them reach their full potential and recover from injuries. They often keep up their planning and training even during the season’s off period. All who play in the NFL nowadays are true professionals in every meaning of the term.

The History Of The NFL And Players

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NFL statistics weren’t formally recorded until 1932. But American football history survived. Newspapers from the period, player testimony, and club historians took care of writing necessary archives.


From 1920 to 1949, quarterbacks often went out on a pass route, blocked or threw to a single receiver, and then returned to their position. There was a trend at the time for teams to shift one end deep into the other end zone to make it more inviting for receivers. According to popular belief, Don Hutson was the first NFL wide receiver.

1950 – 1979

Famous quarterbacks made public appearances, and two-way athletes were no longer in vogue. The running backs of that period were physically massive. The playing weight for it was typically about 230 pounds. Teams often used three receivers at once. After the two-way players’ system became obsolete, linemen specialized in one position. However, the responsibilities of that position had become more complex.

1980 – 1999

Let’s move to the research of the next decade. A sizing trend emerged, in which teams sought out and signed players of a certain height or weight. All but two of the first-round QB signings were at least 6 feet 2 inches tall. Towards the end of the century, fullbacks were utilized primarily as blockers. It was common for teams to use a three-down formation in the backfield. In 1982, sacks became recognized as a statistic in their own right. Soon they shifted their focus to bring down the quarterback with the Cover 2 defense. Cornerbacks were expected to make plenty of tackles and provide solid coverage in their zones.

2000 – Present

Flipping the ball in the air rose to prominence. Wide receivers have become more valued than running backs. The previous trend of having four linebackers has been reversed in this period so that an additional defensive back may be added. Since kickers’ accuracy has become practically automatic, the league repositioned the XPA to make the game more challenging for them. The role of placekicker and kickoff specialist has merged into one. Today, NFL footballers are millionaires. Look at the highest-paid players’ list if you are interested in this topic.


The bodies of football players, their attitude to the game, and even the rules have changed with time. In addition, new strategies for playing have been implemented, while others have been discarded since they have become obsolete. We hope our article became a good source for future findings on American football.

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