NFL Timeline & Abbreviations

start with the 1933 season teams: 
Boston Redskins Green Bay Packers
Brooklyn Dodgers New York Giants
Chicago Bears Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Cardinals Pittsburgh Pirates
Cincinnati Reds Portsmouth Spartans
 
1934Portsmouth Spartans became Detroit Lions
1934Cincinnati Reds disbanded
1934St Louis Gunners play last three games of Cincinnati Reds' schedule
1934St Louis Gunners disbanded
1937Boston Redskins became Washington Redskins
1937Cleveland Rams began play
  
1941Pittsburgh Pirates became Pittsburgh Steelers
1943Cleveland Rams suspended operation for a year
1944Brooklyn Dodgers became Brooklyn Tigers
1944Boston Yanks began play
1945Brooklyn Tigers disbanded (?)
1946Cleveland Rams became Los Angeles Rams
1949Boston Yanks became New York Bulldogs
  
1950Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers began play
1950Baltimore Colts (1st) began play
1950New York Bulldogs became New York Yanks
1951Baltimore Colts (1st) disbanded
1952New York Yanks became Dallas Texans
1953Dallas Texans became new Baltimore Colts
  
1960Chicago Cardinals became St Louis Cardinals
1960American Football League began play (14-game regular season)
1960Dallas Cowboys began play
1961NFL regular season became 14 games
1961Minnesota Vikings began play
1961Los Angeles Chargers became San Diego Chargers
1963New York Titans became New York Jets
1963Dallas Texans became Kansas City Chiefs
1966First year of Super Bowl (actually in January 1967)
1966Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins began play
1967NFL split into two conferences and four divisions
1967New Orleans Saints began play
1968New York Giants and New Orleans Saints switched divisions
1968Cincinnati Bengals began play
1969New York Giants and New Orleans Saints switched divisions again
  
1970NFL and AFL merged into one league
1971Boston Patriots became New England Patriots
1972Ties became part of won-loss-tie percentage (half-win, half-loss)
1974Overtime implemented in the regular season
1976Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers began play
1978Regular season became 16 games
1978Second wild-card team in each conference added to playoffs
  
1982Oakland Raiders became Los Angeles Raiders
1982Strike cancelled seven weeks of games and created extra playoff week
1984Baltimore Colts became Indianapolis Colts
1987Strike cancelled one week and created three weeks of replacement games
1988St Louis Cardinals became Phoenix Cardinals
  
1990Third wild-card team in each conference added to playoffs
1990One bye week for each team
1993Two bye weeks for each team (1993 only)
1994Two point conversion option introduced (AFL had it 1960-1969)
1994Phoenix Cardinals became Arizona Cardinals
1995Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars began play
1995Los Angeles Rams became St Louis Rams
1995Los Angeles Raiders became Oakland Raiders
1996Cleveland Browns disbanded (temporarily)
1996Baltimore Ravens began play
1997Houston Oilers became Tennessee Oilers
1999Tennessee Oilers became Tennessee Titans
1999Cleveland Browns began play (again)
  
2002Realigned into eight divisions with 4 teams each
2002Seattle Seahawks moved from AFC to NFC
2002Houston Texans began play
2016St Louis Rams became Los Angeles Rams
2017San Diego Chargers became Los Angeles Chargers
 
List of abbreviations used in other pages:
Arizona AriArizona Cardinals (1994 - present)
Atlanta AtlAtlanta Falcons (1966 - present)
Bal Colts BaCBaltimore Colts (1953 - 1983)
Balt Colts BlCBaltimore Colts (1950)
Baltimore BalBaltimore Ravens (1996 - present)
Bkn Tigers BkTBrooklyn Tigers (1944)
Brooklyn BknBrooklyn Dodgers (1933 - 1943)
Boston BosBoston Patriots (1960 - 1970)
Bos Redskins BsRBoston Redskins (1933 - 1936)
Bos Yanks BsYBoston Yanks (1944 - 1948)
Buffalo BufBuffalo Bills (1960 - present)
Card-Pitt CrPCard-Pitt Carpets (1944) (Cardinals/Steelers)
Carolina CarCarolina Panthers (1995 - present)
Chi CardinalsChCChicago Cardinals (1933 - 1959)
Chicago ChiChicago Bears (1933 - present)
Cincinnati CinCincinnati Bengals (1968 - present)
Cin Reds CnRCincinnati Reds (1933 - 1934)
Cle Rams ClRCleveland Rams (1937 - 1942, 1944 - 1945)
Cleveland CleCleveland Browns (1950-1995, 1999-present)
Dallas DalDallas Cowboys (1960 - present)
Dal Texans DlTDallas Texans (1960 - 1962)
Dalls Texans DsTDallas Texans (1952)
Denver DenDenver Broncos (1960 - present)
Detroit DetDetroit Lions (1934 - present)
Green Bay GB Green Bay Packers (1933 - present)
Hou Oilers HoOHouston Oilers (1960 - 1996)
Houston HouHouston Texans (2002 - present)
Indianapolis IndIndianapolis Colts (1984 - present)
Jacksonville JacJacksonville Jaguars (1995 - present)
Kansas City KC Kansas City Chiefs (1963 - present)
LA Chargers LACLos Angeles Chargers (1960, 2017-present)
LA Raiders RaiLos Angeles Raiders (1982 - 1994)
Los Angeles LARLos Angeles Rams (1946-1994, 2016-present)
Miami MiaMiami Dolphins (1966 - present)
Minnesota MinMinnesota Vikings (1961 - present)
NY Bulldogs NYBNew York Bulldogs (1949)
NY Giants NYGNew York Giants (1933 - present)
NY Jets NYJNew York Jets (1963 - present)
NY Titans NYTNew York Titans (1960 - 1962)
NY Yanks NYYNew York Yanks (1950 - 1951)
New England NE New England Patriots (1971 - present)
New Orleans NO New Orleans Saints (1967 - present)
Oakland OakOakland Raiders (1960 - 1981, 1995 - present)
Philadelphia PhiPhiladelphia Eagles (1933 - present)
Phil-Pitt PhPPhil-Pitt Steagles (1943) (Eagles/Steelers)
Phoenix PhoPhoenix Cardinals (1988 - 1993)
Pit Pirates PiPPittsburgh Pirates (1933 - 1940)
Pittsburgh PitPittsburgh Steelers (1941 - present)
Portsmouth PorPortsmouth Spartans (1933)
San Diego SD San Diego Chargers (1961 - 2016)
San FranciscoSF San Francisco 49ers (1950 - present)
Seattle SeaSeattle Seahawks (1976 - present)
St Louis StLSt Louis Rams (1995 - 2015)
StL CardinalsStCSt Louis Cardinals (1960 - 1987)
StL Gunners StGSt Louis Gunners (1934)
Tampa Bay TB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976 - present)
Ten Oilers TnOTennessee Oilers (1997 - 1998)
Tennessee TenTennessee Titans (1999 - present)
Washington WshWashington Redskins (1937 - present)