There are two watershed moments in NFL history - one where the league turned a corner to become a legitimate pro sport and the other when the light bulb went on - literally and figuratively - that this sport could become America's sport of choice. Amazingly, the first moment took place within the confines of a hockey arena. At the end of the 1932 NFL season, the Chicago Bears and Portsmouth Spartans, who within two years would become the
It was determined that they should meet in a sudden-death tiebreaker game to determine the league champion.
With several inches of snow on the ground in Chicago and temperatures plummeting below zero, Bears owner George Halas arranged for the game to played indoors at Chicago Stadium on an 80-yard field comprised of dirt and turf left behind from a recently-completed run of a circus in the building, which left a distinct aroma lingering about the playing surface.
The Bears, behind powerful runner Bronko Nagurski, posted a 9-0 victory and the game created such excitement that going forward the league decided to divide itself into East and West divisions and have the winners contest an annual championship game. Thus, the NFL playoffs were born.
The second watershed moment in NFL history occurred Oct. 28, 1958 as the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants clashed at Yankee Stadium with the league title on the line.
There were 64,185 packed into the House That Ruth Built to watch a football game but it was the millions tuned in via a national television feed that would prove to be the biggest boon for the NFL. Down three points in game's dying moments, the Colts drove downfield and Steve Myhra booted a 20-yard field goal and for the first time in NFL history, a championship game would go to sudden-death overtime.
The Giants won the toss but the Colts held and New York punted. Quarterback Johnny Unitas engineered an 80-yard drive that culminated in a one-yard TD plunge by Alan Ameche and Baltimore won 23-17 but the biggest winner was the NFL.
As the drama played out on the tiny screen in front of them, viewers were captivated and TV executives came to the realization that the NFL on TV would prove to be a gold mine for all involved.
Best NFL Playoffs Sportsbook Odds
Ready to put some money down on the NFL playoffs? Look below to find out to reference the game odds. It's an essential first step in the betting process.
What Are The NFL Playoffs Standings Today
The NFL playoff standings are listed below. Unike the NBA, MLB and NHL which hold best-of-seven series to determine who advances in postseason play, the NFL is one and done and that's where the drama comes into play.
It's also why the NFL is the perfect game for television. With its short bursts of often violent action, the game doesn't require the same attention span as a hockey or soccer game, where a simple look away from the playing surface can result in the key moment being missed.
And unlike baseball and basketball, football offers natural and frequent breaks in the action, allowing for the insertion of vast amounts of advertising and that's a big reason why the NFL is such a lucrative industry.
How To Make Money Betting On NFL Playoffs
Knowledge is key when betting on the NFL playoffs. Unlike other sports where a best-of-seven series determines the winner and that generally means the best team wins almost all the time, with its sudden-death formula the NFL is more open to upsets, though betting on the upset is not always the wise wager in the playoffs.
Home teams are generally the way to go, unless they are home underdogs. Then the odds swing dramatically. The win by the Denver Broncos over the New England Patriots in the 2015 AFC Championship Game marked only the third occasion since 1990 that a home team had taken the field for the AFC title game as the underdog and the only time during this span that they had won outright.
Tne NFC Championship Game offers further evidence of home dominance in the NFL playoffs. The home team won eight of 12 NFC title games between 2004-16. Since the NFC title game was introduced in 1970, only one team, the San Francisco 49ers (4-5, .444) show a losing record in the game at home, while just one team, the New York Giants (3-0, 1.000) can boast of a winning mark on the road in the NFC Championship Game.
It's also wise to pay attention to weather conditions. The NFL playoffs are contested in January, when the playing conditions can often turn downright nasty. Under those circumstances, do you really want to bet a warm-weather, domed stadium team like the Atlanta Falcons if they are destined for a date at Lambeau Field with the Green Bay Packers? Not likely.
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