When it comes to celebrating a centennial one of the greatest things a group can do is reflect on what has passed.  For the NFL, this year, celebrating the past might be just the distraction they need to help fans join in the hoopla and there are certainly things to celebrate.

With all that’s changed, a few things stick out.

The forward pass

Injuries were always just part of the sport, however, when the injuries reached a fever pitch it was none other than American President Theodore Roosevelt who brought about the much needed change.

I mean, could you imagine a league where a quarterback threw for less than 640 yards or nine touchdowns during the regular season.  Well, according to research by Betway, not one quarterback reached those numbers in 1932.

Would there be the same passionate fan following without playmakers like Joe Montana, Dan Marino, or Tom Brady?  I don’t think so.

Breaking the Race Barrier

While there are certainly more pressing issues addressed by the outlawing of segregation, segregation in sports took a historic turn in 1946 when Kenny Washington – one of the best collegiate players ever – signed with the Los Angeles Rams.

Additional race inclusion took a while longer, but the window had been open and, in this author’s opinion, the NFL would do well to give some serious props to Mr. Washington and the LA Rams.

And who could overlook the introduction of…

The Super Bowl

The Super Bowl  regularly attracts over 100 million viewers worldwide, more than any annual sporting event other than the Champions League final.  Alright soccer fans… calm down.

The NFL has done a fantastic job of marketing its championship game.

Super Bowl Sunday is now essentially a national holiday, and traditions like Super Bowl parties and prop bets have spread to countries outside of the US.

Forget a cultural phenomenon, the Super Bowl is a sociologist’s dream.  What else, today, can bring together friends, neighbors, enemies and strangers in an event that can only be historically compared to the Roman Colosseum.