20 NFL Facts & Stats: Unforgettable Football Moments

Few things are more American than the National Football League, the US’ biggest pro sports league. The “name of the game” is American Football, and the stakes are always at their highest.

The league has historically been ripe with the most talented and athletic players, giving the US and the world some of the best moments in sports.

Founded in 1920, the NFL has had many moments to explore. From the most valuable teams to cursed objects, here are 20 facts and statistics about the NFL you should know in 2023.

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Highlights of the Article

  • A 30-second Super Bowl advertisement cost companies around $7 million in 2023.
  • In 1959, NFL Commissioner Bert Bell died from a heart attack while watching a team score a touchdown in an NFL game.
  • The NFL’s Super Bowl is an unofficial holiday in the US.
  • The Arizona Cardinals team has existed since the NFL’s founding in 1920, becoming the oldest team in the league’s history.
  • NFL’s longest win streak record belongs to the Indianapolis Colts, at 23 wins.
  • The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable team in 2023, with a $1.14 billion revenue.
  • During the NFL’s 1972 Season, the Miami Dolphins went undefeated, winning the Super Bowl and achieving the NFL’s only “Perfect Season.”
  • Mark Moseley is the only placekicker ever to have won an MVP title.
  • On April 9, 2015, Sarah Thomas became the NFL’s first officially hired female referee.
  • As of 2023, Tom Brady holds the record for the most Super Bowls, with 7 Lombardi Trophies.

Exciting Facts and Figures Behind the NFL in 2023

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The NFL has existed for over a century, giving the sports world countless unforgettable moments that influenced the industry beyond just athletics.

The league is synonymous with American Football, US sports culture, and national pride. It is responsible for making Football sports betting’s largest market share holder, at 24%.

This section explores these NFL moments, statistics, and facts in 2023 to understand what makes the league as massive as it is in the sports world.

1. Advertisement costs for the Super Bowl have increased to 64.7% from 2015 to 2023.

(QZ, NBCDFW, Style Caster, Sporting News)

Pepsi LED Wall Advertisement for the Super Bowl XLVIII

The Super Bowl is one of the most awaited moments in US TV Viewing Culture. The event culminates a rigorous football season for the NFL, peaking at 115.1 million viewers in 2023.

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Fun Fact

The Super Bowl is an important part of the NFL and American Football culture.

When the first “Big Game” happened on January 15, 1967, it elevated the competitiveness within the sport and furthered the NFL’s legacy in Football stone.

So it’s unsurprising that with an average of over 100 million US viewers, a 30-second ad for the SB has been costly. The most valuable slot in US advertising has risen in recent years.

The value of a 30-second ad has gone up to $7 million since 2015, marking a 64.7% cost increase. In comparison, you need to allocate about $115,000 for an ad on Prime TV.

Line Graph of Super Bowl Ad Costs (2015-2023)

2. The act of waving a towel is one of the NFL’s most iconic fan celebrations, a Pittsburgh Steelers tradition dubbed “The Terrible Towel.”

(Steelers, CBS News)

The “Terrible Towel” started as a gimmick but became one of Pittsburgh’s most iconic symbols, first coined by Myron Cone to gain more team publicity during the 2nd half of the 1975 season.

Today, it’s a Pittsburgh staple, with loyal fans waving their black-and-gold towels in the most unusual places, one even being taken to the International Space Station.

Steelers management asked Cone, Steelers’ radio announcer, to create publicity by any means. So, he came up with the news of the “thousands of terrible towels” waving from the stands.

Pittsburgh Steelers Fans Waving the “Terrible Towel”

The towel-waving might not be the catchiest image, but it just shows the big heart that Steelers fans have towards their favorite sports club.

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Fun Fact

The Pittsburgh Steelers is one of the NFL’s most iconic teams.

Aside from their traditions, the team is home to many of the league’s greatest players to play Football, such as Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene.

3. The US considers the Super Bowl an unofficial National Holiday.

(The Daily Universe, NFL, Nielsen)

Proof that Football is a cultural phenomenon in the US beyond just being a sport is that it is celebrated and ingrained into the lives of Americans.

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most awaited events in America as the US considers the game an unofficial national holiday in the US.

The recent Super Bowl LVII was watched by 113.6 million viewers, becoming the second most-watched “Big Game” ever.

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Fun Fact

The NFL was the most betted-on sports league in the US, at around 81% of their betting population in 2022.

The NFL’s Super Bowl LVII was record-breaking in terms of bets. The AGA forecasted 50.4 million Americans to bet on the SB match between the Chiefs and Eagles.

4. A player’s missing helmet led to a Super Bowl loss in the 1991 NFL season.

(Sportscasting, Buffalo Rumblings, Buffalo Bills)

Regarding weird NFL facts, the story of how Thurman Thomas had to sit out at the beginning of the Bowl is pretty hard to beat.

Thomas Thurman was a Running Back for the Buffalo Bills from 1988-1999 and was a pivotal part in the Bills’ four straight Super Bowl appearances from Super Bowl 25-28.

The Thurmanator had a pre-game ritual of placing his helmet at the 34-yard line. The ritual would become one of Thurman’s most regretted moments in his career during Super Bowl XXVI.

Pictograph of Thomas Thurman Helmet Incident

During the big game, Thurman lost his helmet after doing his ritual when it was moved to an unknown location. Thomas sat on the bench early in the match until he recovered his helmet.

Although Thomas returned to the game, it was too late as Buffalo lost 37-24 to the Washington Redskins team led by Joe Gibbs.

5. An NFL commissioner died from cardiac arrest during a touchdown from a game in October 1959.

(Clutch Points, NY Times, Sports Keeda)

DeBenneville “Bert” Bell is one of the NFL’s greatest pioneers. The league’s second commissioner revolutionized the NFL, saving the league and making it as popular as it is today.

Bell was the founder and former of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers before assuming the position of the NFL’s leader.

In a game on October 11, 1959, at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field. Commissioner Bell was ironically in attendance for a game between the two teams he owned.

Visualizer of Bert Bell’s Heart Attack Incident

It was late in the fourth quarter when Bell reportedly suffered a heart attack simultaneously while the Eagles’ Tommy MacDonald scored a touchdown in the end zone to win the game.

Rumors were that the TD caused Bell’s cardiac arrest, while others mentioned that the Steelers got distracted from the crowd’s commotion to Bell’s arrest, which led to a breakdown in defense.

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Although deaths such as Bell’s are extremely rare in American Football, injuries are a frequent problem for the sport.

Football is ranked 2nd in the percentage of total injuries. From 2012 – 2021, emergency departments have recorded around 3,334,277 injuries related to the sport.

6. The 2021 NFL Season saw the longest field goal record achieved, a 66-yard goal.

(Sportsnaut, The Measure of Things)

Tom Dempsey’s 63-yard kick for the New Orleans Saints stood unchallenged for 43 years when the Broncos’ Matt Prater managed to go a yard further.

However, as of 2023, the record for the longest field goal was set in 2021, when the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker scored a 66-yard goal, ultimately winning his team the game.

For reference, 66 yards is more than half of the total length of an NFL field and about half as tall as the Great Pyramid of Giza.

7. The largest win margin since in the NFL is 59-0, recorded twice, once in 1976 and again in 2009.

(The Analyst)

In any sport, among the most embarrassing things to happen to players and teams is getting blown out.

In the NFL, 59 is the biggest win lead any team has ever had.

Pictograph of NFL’s Two Largest Win Margins (59-0)

The first 59-0 recorded was on December 4, 1976, when the Los Angeles Rams destroyed the Atlanta Falcons, holding them to 81 total yards, 22 passing yards, and 4 forced turnovers.

The most recent 59-0 happened in 2009, between the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans.

Patriots’ Tom Brady dominated with 5 TD passes, an NFL record. The team would end the first half 45-0, another NFL record for the largest lead at halftime in NFL history.

Key Facts and Statistics about NFL Teams

Visualizer of NFL Teams Facts and Stats Header

Among many things that make the National Football League iconic are its teams. Each organization has its history, representing US States and Cities and tens of thousands of fans.

This section explores facts and numbers behind the record-setting NFL teams, from the historical ones to the winningest.

8. The Arizona Cardinals is the NFL’s oldest team, existing in the league since its foundation.


Since the NFL’s creation in August 1920, one team has been with the league, the Arizona Cardinals. This team started in 1898 as the Morgan Athletic Club, 21 years before the NFL’s founding.

The team has a long history and several relocations and name changes, as shown below:

  • Morgan Athletic Club (1898)
  • Racine Normals (1899–1900)
  • Racine Cardinals (1901–1906; 1913–1919)
  • Chicago Cardinals (1920–1943, 1945–1959)
  • Card-Pitt (1944)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (1960–1987)
  • Phoenix Cardinals (1988–1993)
  • Arizona Cardinals (1994–present)

The one consistent detail about The Cards is their colors, sporting red, white and black.

Timeline of Arizona Cardinals History of Names

9. The NFL’s oldest team to retain its name and location since coming into the league is the Green Bay Packers.


Alongside the Cards, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears are the oldest franchises in the NFL. They were founded in 1919 and joined the league in 1921 and 1920, respectively.

The Green Bay Packers in a Team Huddle

What makes the Packers unique is that this NFL team has held the same name since its founding.

The Packers have stayed in Green Bay, Wisconsin, since they were sponsored by the Indian Packing Company, winning 11 NFL Titles and 4 Super Bowls.

10. The Indianapolis Colts achieved a year-long 23-game win streak, the longest win streak recorded in the NFL.

(The Analyst)

The Colts’ legendary streak started on November 2, 2008, with an 18–15 win against the New England Patriots, and ended on December 27, 2009, with a 15–29 losing effort to the New York Jets.

Unfortunately, Indianapolis’ efforts did not translate well in the postseason, as they failed to win the Super Bowl in the 2008 and 2009 NFL seasons.

11. As of 2023, the NFL’s Most Valuable Team is the Dallas Cowboys, generating around $1.1 billion.

(Sportsnaut, Statista, Forbes, Go Banking Rates)

The Dallas Cowboys had the highest registered revenue for the league. The team’s value reached $9 billion in 2023, with a revenue of $1.14 billion, operating with a $504 million income.

In 2022, the NFL proved itself to be a profitable league for the US, making an estimated $11 billion in national revenue.

The average value of an NFL franchise has almost doubled since 2016; in 2022, it increased to a whopping $4.46 billion.

Text Visualizer of NFL’s Most Valuable Team

12. The Miami Dolphins achieved the NFL’s only “Perfect Season” in 1972.

(Pro Football HOF)

One team has gone undefeated for an entire NFL season, including the postseason, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins were unstoppable in 1972, going 14-0 in the regular season and 3-0 in the postseason to take the Lombardi Trophy for Super Bowl VII.

Don Shula coached the team to their immortal status, assisted by QB Bob Griese. Safety Jake Scott led the team during the Super Bowl, winning the MVP.

The 1972 Dolphins led the league in points scored and fewest points allowed, achieving one of the NFL’s greatest records ever. Their “Perfect Season” is also one of the best athletic records in sports history.

Pictograph of NFL Miami Dolphins Perfect Season

13. With a 0.75 win percentage in their 8 appearances, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the most successful NFL team to win the Super Bowl.


The Vince Lombardi Trophy and 2 Footballs

The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers are tied for the winningest NFL teams record, with six Super Bowls each. The Patriots have the most appearances, with 11.

The San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys have each won five titles. Behind them are the New York Giants and the Green Bay Packers, with four Super Bowl wins each.

The most recent Super Bowl winner was the Kansas City Chiefs in 2023, with 3 Lombardis Trophys.

Bar Graph Visualizer of NFL Super Bowl’s Winningest Teams

14. Four years after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints “went marching in” during the Super Bowl XLIV, winning their first Lombardi Trophy.

(CBS Sports)

In 2010, the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl, and the fact it happened just four years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city makes it a proud moment for the community.

The Super Bowl XLIV 31-17 win against the Indianapolis Colts was the Saints’ first-ever appearance in the finals, too. 

Saints’ QB Drew Brees was pivotal for the team, making 32/39 passes and two TDs, and earning him Finals MVP. The performance made Brees the NFL’s highest-earning player in the coming years.

This is one NFL fact worth reading and remembering for all the right reasons.

15. Since 1920, the Green Bay Packers have been the NFL’s winningest team, with 791 regular season wins.

(Stat Muse)

Green Bay Packers’ McMillian Celebrates a Win

Aside from being the oldest team to retain its name and location since coming into the league (see Fact #9), the Green Bay Packers are also one of the NFL’s most successful teams.

The Packers hold the record for the most regular season wins since the league’s founding, at 791. The team is also the 3rd winningest in the postseason, with 4 Super Bowl wins, tied with the NY Giants.

16. Since the NFL’s creation in 1920, only 4 out of 32 active teams have yet to make it to the Super Bowl.

(Sporting News)

Fan Celebrating Super Bowl Win

Reaching the Super Bowl is hard. Before a team even reaches the postseason, they must go through 14 opponents over a 17-game stretch within 18 weeks.

If a team wins enough regular season games, they qualify for the NFL Playoffs, where they fight the best of the best.

The tough journey is why reaching the Super Bowl is an achievement; unfortunately, 4 teams have yet to experience it.

4 NFL Teams To Never Reach the Super Bowl

The four teams include the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Although the Lions and the Browns both won NFL titles before the NFL and American Football League merger, the two have yet to get the chance to compete for the coveted Lombardi Trophy.

In the case of the Texans and Jaguars, the two are among the youngest franchises to enter the league, in 1999 and 1995, respectively.

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Fun Fact

Despite their troubles reaching the yearly pinnacle of the NFL season, the Detroit Lions are still one of the most iconic NFL teams.

The Lions are synonymous with the league’s tradition of Thanksgiving Football, being the first to host the event and having the most appearances in the Thanksgiving event.

Statistics and Facts on NFL Players and Officials

NFL Players and Officials in a Huddle

The NFL produces some of the world’s best athletes. The league is also home to some of the most interesting and infamous individuals.

The intense competition and the high stakes push NFL players to go all-out, from kick-off to the final horn.

With legacies on the line, careers, bragging rights, fame, fortune, and a lifetime of greatness, below are some facts and figures behind NFL players and officials.

17. Tom Brady is American Football’s GOAT, with 7 Super Bowl wins and 3 NFL MVPs.

(USA Today)

Tom Brady’s Career Records List in the NFL

An NFL facts and statistics list is incomplete without its GOAT, Tom Brady.

Mr. Tom Terrific is arguably the NFL’s greatest Quarterback and among the best athletes in history due to his countless records, achievements, and influence in the Football community.

With his recent retirement in February 2023, Brady ended his career with the greatest collection of records, suited for the one that the Football world deems The GOAT. As shown below:

  • First player to win NFL championships in three different decades
  • Three-time NFL MVP (2007, 2010, 2017)
  • 2009 Comeback Player of the Year
  • Most Super Bowl rings: 7
    • 5-Time Super Bowl MVP
  • Most conference title games: 14
  • Highest winning percentage as a Quarter Back (100 started games): 0.754 (286 wins)
    • Most career regular-season wins: 251
    • Most career playoff wins: 35
  • Completion percentage: 64.3%
    • Career passing record: 7,753 out of 12,050
  • Most regular season touchdowns: 581

18. In the 1982 NFL Season, Washington’s Mark Moseley won the MVP award, the first and only time a kicker won MVP.

(The New York Times, CNN, Grantland)

In 1982, the Washington Redskins’ kicker Mark Moseley won the MVP title after securing his team a place in the Super Bowl. Moseley’s clutch field goals cleared the Redskins way to the title.

What makes this one of the most remarkable NFL football facts is that Moseley is the only placekicker in history to win the MVP title and the first special teams player to be nominated at that point. 

Visualizer of NFL’s Most Unique MVP Winner

During that 1982 season, Moseley broke the NFL record for most consecutive field goals without a miss and went 20/21 on field goals, setting a record of 95.2% completion rate.

19. In a 2012 pre-season game, Shannon Eastin became the first woman to referee for the NFL.

(ESPN, Smithsonian Mag, NFL, NBC Sports Boston)

On August 9, 2012, Shannon Eastin made American football history by becoming the first female to officiate an NFL game.

Eastin was 42 when she was hired as a replacement referee, acting as the line judge for a pre-season match-up between the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers.

Although officially, another person is considered the NFL’s first female referee, Sarah Thomas, a former college basketball player.

NFL’s First Two Female Referees

Thomas became the first full-time female official hired by the NFL on April 9, 2015.

Sarah Thomas also made Football history, becoming the first female to referee a Super Bowl, acting as the down judge for the Super Bowl LV in 2021.

This high-paid profession was until recently reserved for men, which makes Eastin and Thomas true modern-day pioneers of the sport.

20. Super Bowl XL saw the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger become the youngest Quarterback to win the Super Bowl at the age of 23.

(Sky Sports, Wolfgang Sports, NBC News, Stat Muse)

NFL’s Youngest Quarterbacks to Play in Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the biggest stage in American Football. It is the most sought-after opportunity for NFL players, as winning the SB means cementing their legacies in Football history.

Many NFL athletes deem winning the Super Bowl extremely difficult, with most players claiming that reaching the Bowl is an achievement.

So, it is a feat and a bragging right for Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger to win the Super Bowl, making NFL history by becoming the “Big Game’s” youngest Quarterback to win it at the age of 23.

The QB’s performance in Super Bowl XL was lackluster compared to his regular season stats but still helped the Steelers take a 10-21 victory against the Seattle Seahawks and the team’s fifth Bowl.

Below is the stat sheet for Ben Roethlisberger’s performance in the SB XL:

  • Pass Attempts: 21
  • Completed Passes: 9
    • Pass Percentage: 42.9%
  • Yards: 123 Yards
  • Interceptions: 2
  • Passer Rating: 22.6%

Final Thoughts

With over a century of awe-inspiring performances and moments to show, the NFL is ripe with facts and statistics worth learning about for fans and even for non-fans of the sport.

Being the epitome of American Football, the league shows no signs of slowing down, which means that the world will always be blessed with the best games and moments in the sport for years on end.


How does the NFL utilize statistics and data analytics in their games?

The league uses statistics to ensure optimal player performance and safety, such as using data to make rule changes to reduce player injuries.

Does the NFL have a presence outside of the US?

The NFL hosts regular-season games in international locations such as London, Mexico, and Canada.

Who is the richest NFL player?

Tom Brady has earned the highest income from the NFL, with around $250 million in his career.