The NFL: Humble Past, Mighty Present The story of the National Football League is the greatest success story in the history of American sports. Baseball may always be called "the national pastime," but in recent decades pro football has become a national obsession. Pro football is now by far the most popular sport in America , its tens of millions of impassioned fans turning the NFL into a rapidly growing multibillion-dollar business . This fall, more than 17 million people will attend an NFL game in person; hundreds of millions more—an estimated three out of every four American men, women, and children—will watch at least one game on television. The league's championship game, the Super Bowl , will be celebrated next February as a virtual national holiday, the best day of the year not only for sports, but also for the television, advertising, and snack food industries. Today, it's hard to believe that the National Football League, this behemoth of American sporting
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