football helmet beside football on gray asphalt road


Featured Image: Photo by Ricardo CL on

Irish American Football

This is an All-Time Record of Irish 11v11 American Football, including All-Time Results & Standings; International Results; Irish 11v11 American Football Teams; Irish 11v11 American Football Players, Coaches & Officials; Irish American Football Records and Irish American Football Yearbooks. Please use the navigation bar above to see the record of Irish 8v8 American Football (Development Leagues; 2nds Teams; Youth Contact Football) and Flag Football.

This is the Index / Landing Page to the All-Time Results, Standings and Box-Scores of American Football Ireland 11v11 Leagues, College Bowl, Early Pre-Pads Football, Festivals, All-Star Games and Preseasons. Below you will find links to the Results & Tables of the Irish American Football League since its first year in 1986, in increasing levels of detail, depending on how much detail you want

Header Image Credit: [1] Photo by Thomas Ronveaux on [2] American Football Ireland Mini-Helmets by Enda Mulcahy for Eirball [3] Photo by Ricardo CL on [4] Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on

American Football Ireland Premier Era

Irish American Football Association Era

In 2001, a new administration – the Irish American Football Association – re-established the Irish American Football League, as a Winter League in 2001, and a Spring League in 2002, and then in 2003 as ‘Division 1’  with an 8-Man Division 2. Divisions 1 & 2 were merged into one 11-Man, 6-team IAFL in 2004, and the League expanded to 11 teams by 2008, when a new 8-Man Development League was again re-introduced, to help newer teams starting out, and help existing clubs field second teams. the Development League became a full 11-Man Second Level in 2013, with the two tiers renamed the Shamrock Bowl Conference &  IAFL 1 Conference. A third Tier, the IAFL 2 Conference was introduced in 2014, leading to a 23-team League at its height. In 2020 the Irish American Football Association was renamed American Football Ireland, under new management, President Orla McAleese, the first Female President of the Association.

American Football Association of Ireland Era

The Irish American Football League has been running since 1986. The first Shamrock Bowl (Ireland’s Super Bowl or Title Game) was played in 1986 and the first full Irish American Football League season in 1987. For the first three seasons the League operated in Ireland only, and then in 1989 became part of the Combined Gridiron League which operated throughout Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. In 1990 the League returned to an Ireland-only league, but only in Northern Ireland, with the sole Republic of Ireland representatives, the Dublin Celts, playing in the UK Second Division (NCMMA) and playing a series of exhibition matches against the Northern Irish teams. Following on from the Irish League Final, the Champions of the Irish League played against the Dublin Celts in the Shamrock Bowl. In 1991 an All-Ireland American Football League was re-established, under the American Football association of Ireland banner, which became the Irish Senior League in 1997, under new management. This was a time when the initial excitement for the new sport faded, and the NFL was no longer on terrestrial TV in Ireland or Britain, and the number of teams dropped to 3 in 1999, and then in 2000 there was no league

American Football Ireland Division 1

American Football Ireland Division 2

American Football Ireland College

Irish American Football Overviews

Final Tables and International Results in Irish American Football & Flag Football Organised on a Season-by-Season Basis:

Pre-American Football Ireland Leagues

Starting with the US Army’s European Theater of Operations Football Championship in Northern Ireland in 1942, through to the 4th of July Festival match in 1983, held in Banbridge Rugby Club between two teams of specially trained Rugby players, American Football Leagues in Ireland pre-date the American Football Ireland (Originally Irish American Football Association) by 44 years.

American Football Ireland Festivals

Festivals and Exhibition matches have been organised since 1983, with teams playing in smaller towns in the Irish Regions, or as part of 4th of July Celebrations in both Dublin and all over the Country. Some of these festival matches have attracted up to 5,000 spectators.
Festival matches also take part in preseason, and can also be Regular Season matches or DV8 8-a-side matches.

American Football Ireland Pre-season

Preseason, like in the National Football League is an important part of player development. The Irish American Football League generally plays a two-game preseason in preparation for the 8-game regular season.

American Football Ireland All-Star Games

All Star Games have been a integral part of Irish American Football since the beginning, as in the National Football League.

Irish Teams v American Teams (1986-Present)

In the 1980s the first Irish American Football teams were formed following the UK’s Channel 4 TV station airing a Weekly NFL Highlight Show, and matches were organised between Irish Teams and Eastern Football League (Massachusetts area) Semi-Pro Teams. Matches were also irregularly scheduled between Irish teams and US Servicemen and High schools. In 2004 the first matches between Ireland and NCAA Division III teams were organised, and in 2007 these became a regular fixture in Ireland, between Irish Club Teams and NCAA Division III teams. 

American Football Ireland v Football Canada

With the first tour of Ireland and Britain in 1994 Canadian teams have been playing Irish teams at American Football, with Canadian rules thrown in.

American Football Ireland College

Irish International American Football

From the first ever touring American Football teams in Ireland in the 1940s to the big NCAA College Games from the 1980s onwards to the matches played by Irish American Football teams – both club and country – against North American teams and European teams there is plenty to savour in the history of International American Football in Ireland and Irish teams overseas.

American College Football Classic in Ireland (1988-Present)

The first ever American Football games played in Ireland were in the 1940s, when teams of US Servicemen returning from WW2 played matches in Ravenhill (Home of Ulster Rugby) and Croke Park (Home of the GAA) in aid of the Irish Red Cross. Further matches were played in the 1950s & 1960s by US Air Force Personnel stationed at US Air Bases in Britain & Germany during the Cold War. There were also during the late 1980s and up until the mid-1990s high-profile pre-season matches between NCAA College teams and one NFL match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears. 2012 also saw the return of the high-profile NCAA games to Ireland, featuring both NCAA Division I Regular Season Matches, and also the Global Ireland Football Tournament, a series of 6 Regular Season NCAA Division III and High School matches played at a variety of venues across Ireland.

American High School & Academy Games in Ireland (1942-Present)

The first ever American Football games played in Ireland were in the 1940s, when teams of US Servicemen returning from WW2 played matches in Ravenhill (Home of Ulster Rugby) and Croke Park (Home of the GAA) in aid of the Irish Red Cross. Further matches were played in the 1950s & 1960s by US Air Force Personnel stationed at US Air Bases in Britain & Germany during the Cold War. There were also during the late 1980s and up until the mid-1990s high-profile pre-season matches between NCAA College teams and one NFL match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears. 2012 also saw the return of the high-profile NCAA games to Ireland, featuring both NCAA Division I Regular Season Matches, and also the Global Ireland Football Tournament, a series of 6 Regular Season NCAA Division III and High School matches played at a variety of venues across Ireland.

European American Football (Irish Clubs & Ireland)

Ireland National Team

Irish teams played a series of matches against English, Scottish and Welsh teams from 1990s until 2000, and the Nations Cup, between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales was held from 1996-1999. In 2002 Ireland rejoined the European circuit, with the Dublin Rebels playing in the Charleroi Trophy in Belgium, an unofficial Championship for amateur Western European Champions, such as the Irish, Belgian & Dutch Leagues. From 2005-2006 Irish teams returned to playing British teams, and then in 2009 the first Atlantic Cup, an official tournament for the Champions of amateur Western European Leagues was held. Belgian, Dutch, Irish and sometimes either a Luxembourg representative or a team from the French third level competed for this European Tier 3 Trophy until 2016, when the Belgian & Dutch entrants made the step up to EFL (Tier 2) level. From 2014-present a series of matches involving Irish teams and teams from the Atlantic Fringe, such as Scotland and Iberia, have been played

Irish Club Internationals

The Dublin Celts, the first American Football team in Ireland, formed in 1984, played matches against British opposition in 1985 & 1986 due to lack of kitted opposition in Ireland. In 1986 the first Shamrock Bowl was played and the Irish American Football League was started the following year, with the Shamrock Bowl Champions winning the right to represent Ireland in the Eurobowl, the European Champions Cup. Britain was expelled from the European Football League in 1992, and Ireland left the organisation at the same time as it could not afford to play games in continental Europe. From 2014-present a series of Internationals between Ireland and Belgium and Netherlands have been played. 

Ireland and Irish Clubs – European Internationals (Seasons)

Irish International Box-Scores

Irish 8v8 American Football

This is the Index Page to the All-Time Archive of 8v8 American Football (Contact) in Ireland. This version of American Football is designed to facilitate the playing of American Football in 3 areas of competition: (1) Junior Kitted Teams. (2) Small Towns; and (3) 11v11 Teams to field 2nds Teams. Depending on the numbers that turn up on the day it could be 6v6; 7v7; 8v8 or 9v9. Includes Early Pre-Pads American Football 1983-1991

Header Photo Credit

Header Picture Credit: [1] Hogan, Sean (2016) “Kildare’s American football team crowned All Ireland champs”. Kildare Now. 26 October, 2016. [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 30 January 2020]

Junior / Youth Kitted Football

The first Junior / Youth Kitted American Football League was created in 1991, when the Northern Ireland Junior American League made the step up from Two-Touch to Kitted. It lasted two seasons, and from then the Ballymena Wolfhounds played international exhibition games against British opposition as they had no opposition in Ireland.

In the 2000s there were a number of exhibition games played among Junior Kitted teams, and in 2013 the first IAFA Junior Kitted Programme was officially launched, with a 7-team League, playing 7v7, 8v8, 9v9 Kitted Football (depending on the numbers on the day) in 2019.

There has also been 6v6 Junior Kitted American Football.

Junior Two Touch American Football

From 1986 to 1991, before Flags were brought in, there were a number of Junior Two-Touch Leagues organised by regional development bodies, such as the East Coast Junior Football Association (Greater Dublin Area) from 1986 to 1987, and the Northern Ireland Junior American League which ran from 1988 to 1990, when it became fully kitted. In 1991, a Junior Two-Touch American Football Blitz took place in Tymon Park, Tallaght. These Leagues were Two-Touch, although it was only the ball carrier who had to be touched twice, all other ;positions were full contact (i.e. Blocking etc.)

[References: Andrew Wilson’s reply to Eirball’s post, March 27, 2020 [Internet] Available at : [Accessed 11 February 2021]

DV8 Development League / Blitzes

The first DV8 Development Mini-League was created in 1993, for smaller teams like the Ardee Falcons (Co. Louth), and Dublin Tornadoes Vets (2nds team). Blitzes were played over the following 10 years, with another Mini-League (IAFL Division 2) created in 2003. Again Blitzes were employed up until the creation of the DV8 Development League in 2008, which lasted until 2012, when the League became the full 11v11 IAFL 1 Conference. The DV8 format was then used for the Junior Kitted League.

Early Pre-Pads American Football

Beginning with a match in Banbridge between two teams of specially trained Rugby players for American Indendence Day in 1983 through to the first Irish American Football League season in 1986, non-kitted contact Football was played between Irish teams due to the huge cost involved in getting helmets and padding imported into the country from USA. By 1987 all teams were now fully kittted and the League played its first full season. The non-kitted version of American Football would have been very like the early days of the NFL or Ohio League from 1900 to 1930s, or more modern day pick-up games in parks throughout the United States. These non-pad, non-helmet pick-up games have recently been codified by the American 7s Football League, which has similar rules to 8v8 Football such as Arena / Indoor Football.

Irish 8v8 American Football Teams

This is the Eirball Index Page to the History, Results and Rosters of Irish 8v8 American Football (also known as Arena or Indoor Football) was invented in the USA to help smaller towns, colleges and High Schools play Football. It is most popular in Mexico. American Football Ireland runs Leagues for three types of 8v8 Teams: Youth Contact, Smaller Towns and 2nds Teams. It is also hoping to start an 8v8 Blitz for Women. The Leagues can also be 7v7 and 9v9 depending on the numbers of players on the day.

Youth Contact 8v8 Teams

Smaller Towns 8v8 Teams

American Football Ireland 2nds Teams (8v8)

Flag Football

Flag Football is a Non-Contact Coed/Mixed version of American Football Similar to Tag Rugby, where players wear a flag attached to their waist which must be pulled off in order to tackle them. Scoring is as American Football, although under current rules there is no kicking, and is played on a smaller field with 5 players (In the Irish Flag Football League of the 1990s there were seven players per team and kicking was allowed.

Irish Flag Football League & Blitzes

The first Flag Football Leagues in Ireland were in Northern Ireland in the mid-1980s. Then in 1991 members of the Dublin Tornadoes American Football Team started a league in Dublin to grow the game. The league became the Irish Flag Football League with addition of teams in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, and lasted until 2000.

From the mid-1980s to 2000, there were two separate development bodies under the IAFA/AFAI: The Northern Ireland American Football Association & Irish council of American Football (Republic of Ireland) charged with developing Flag Football, Junior Football & 8-a-side DV8 Football.

Flag Football was restarted in 2001 as a series of Challenge Games held Nationally. This grew into a National Series of Blitzes, with approximately four Bowls held annually until the formation of the second Irish Flag Football League in 2007, this time a National one. It lasted two seasons before the blitz system was re-introduced. All of these iterations of Flag Football Leagues and Tournaments were under numerous Irish Flag Football Association banners.

In 2014 the Irish American Football association took over the running of Flag Football, and the Irish Flag Football League was re-instated, with the League named the Emerald Bowl Conference. A second level, the Glas (Green) Bowl Conference is being introduced in 2019.

NFL National

American Football – also known as Gridiron Football because the field was originally marked out in a grid-like pattern – originated in USA and Canada. The 11v11 American version of the game is the one most recognisable to Irish viewers – there is also 12v12 Canadian Football and 8v8 Arena Indoor Football (most popular in Mexico). The NFL is the League most fans would know, however, there are also Rival Leagues (also known as AAA Leagues i.e. Europa League to the NFL’s Champions League), NCAA College Football (Division I Bowl Subdivision, Division I Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III), Minor Leagues (lower level leagues), Semi-Pro State Leagues, High School Football, US Armed Forces Football.

National Football League – Irish Players and Coaches

The National Football League is the highest level of American Football in the USA, and started in 1920 (and celebrated its 100th Anniversary in 2020). Irish-born players have been involved right from the start

National Football League

The most successful teams in the Ohio League and Upstate New York Pro Football Circuit joined forces in 1920, in attempt at creating a true National Football League, in order to provide a common set of rules and to cut down on the spiralling wage demands, which saw players jump from team to team in search of the best pay packet. This League, the American Professional Football Association, renamed itself the National Football League in 1922, and has since become the most popular sports league in America, although from 1920-1932 it was still a Minor (AAA) League in status.

Canadian Football and Irish Connections

This is an index page to the history of the results and tables of Canadian Football – the Canadian Football League, Canadian Junior Football League, Canadian Semi-Pro State League and U Sport (Canadian University Football). Where possible an Irish link has been found – for example American Football Ireland teams v Football Canada teams, Irish-born players in the Canadian Leagues, or simply just a team with an Irish name, such as Queen’s University Gaels in Kingston, Ontario. After the brief preamble explaining the differences between Canadian and American Football, and the common origins of both in a game played between McGill University (Montreal) and Harvard University (Massachusetts), the reader will find links to the results and tables of the Football Canada Leagues (CFL, CJFL, Semi-Pro Provincial Leagues, and U Sport).

Irish-Born Canadian Football Players

There are 4 main versions of Gridiron Football: the traditional 11v11 game played in USA, a 12v12 version of the game played in Canada, and a 8v8 version of the game played Indoors on converted Ice Hockey Arenas.


[1] Professional Football Researchers Association (2011) “No Christian End!” The Early History of Professional Football. pg. 23-32. PFRA Publications. Connecticut.

Canadian Football League Major Era 1956-Present

The 12v12 version of the game played in Canada differs from American Football not only in the number of players allowed on the field at any one time (12 in a Canadian Football team versus 11 in an American Football team), but also in the size of the field (a Canadian Football field is 110 yards long with two 20-yard endzones, while an American Football field is 100 yards long with two 15 yard endzones). Canadian Football teams also have only three downs (attempts) in which to gain 10 yards or the ball is turned over as opposed to four downs in American Football. There is also the possibility of scoring a “Rouge” in Canadian Football – this happens when the ball is kicked through the back of the endzone, and is worth one point.

USA College Football

Irish Players have played College Football since the 19th Century. Below you will find a list of links to Irish Connections with the NCAA and NAIA stateside. Division 1 Football Bowl Series and Division 1 Football Championship Series, were known as Division 1A and Division 1AA respectively. This was before the separation of the Big 5 Conferences in the FBS into the College Football Playoff.

Particular attention shall be given by Eirball to Notre Dame Fighting Irish (the big Irish Catholic university in South Bend, Indiana) and San Jose State Spartans (as Dublin is twinned with San Jose) as well as any Irish-born Football players in the NCAA FBS.

Featured Image Credit

Featured Image Credit: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – CIRCA 1998: a postage stamp printed in USA showing an image of four players of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team, circa 1998. Picture Credit: ©mmphotos2017/123RF.COM Image ID:  156057748 [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 7 January 2022]

Irish-born College Football Players & Coaches

NCAA College Football

The National Collegiate Athletic Association is the biggest of USA’s College Sports Assiociations, taking in all major American Sports, as well as Athletics, Soccer and numerous other sports. The NCAA Football Program is divided into four Divisions – In order of Merit they are: FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), FCS (Football Championship Subdivision), Division II and Division III.

American Football Leagues Era (1923-1983)

Only the American Football League of 1960-1969 has been successful long-term, leading to both the start of the Super Bowl between the AFL Winners and the NFL Winners in 1967 and the eventual merger of the two leagues (They are now the American & National Football Conferences in the NFL – the Super Bowl is still played between the winners of the two Conferences)

The first Major rival to the NFL to use the American Football League name was the AFL of 1926, and from then until 1950 Leagues using this name came and went, usually lasting only one or two seasons. Theses Leagues, however, are notable for the genesis of teams such as the Cleveland (Now Los Angeles) Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts, which later joined the NFL. The AFL of 1960 also reused the names of some of these teams (Buffalo Bills & Cincinnati Bengals), teams which are now also in the NFL.

After the 1950s when the National Football League started playing International games in Canada and against Canadian opposition, and the Canadian Football League and Leagues in the New York Metropolitan Area provided a AAA Alternative to the NFL, new AAA Leagues started up again in the 1960s. The Continental Football League (1965-1969), World Football League (1974-1975) and United States Football League (1983-1985) are the most famous and biggest of these leagues.

Most of these Leagues, in particular the WFL & USFL tried, and failed to become another American Football League of 1960-1969 which was so successful it forced a merger with the NFL, with the winners of the two Leagues (now conferences since the merger in 1970) playing each other in the Super Bowl. (see National Football League )

The United Football League (1961-1964) was the first of these, and then from 1965-1969 the Continental Football League was the first to put teams in both Canada and Mexico.

The Southwestern Football League of 1972-1973 was the precursor to the World Football League (1974-1975) which aimed to bring the sport to the World, although Hawaii was as far as it got. The American Football association of 1977-1983 was another attempt at a AAA League although it was put out of business by the United States Football League (1983-1985) which was the first Major Spring League.  It featured High Profile Owners, such as the later US President Donald Trump, but was itself put out of business by the NFL’s collusion with the Major TV Networks to keep it off the air, as was proved in a later anti-trust trial.

Major Alternative Football Leagues

Ever since the birth of the National Football league in 1920 there have been attempts at creating a second Professional Football League to rival it, with only the American Football League of 1960-1969 being successful enough to force a merger (the NFL and AFL are now the NFC and AFC and the winners of each play in the Super Bowl).

There has been a number of eras of Major Leagues: The American Football Leagues Era (1926-1950), The Continental Football Leagues Era (1960-1983), and the XFL Football Leagues Era (1990-2020). In addition during the XFL Era there were two other Major League attempts: the Arena Football League (1985-2019) and the World Football Leagues (1991-2020).

Rival Leagues to the National Football League have existed since the 1920s, most of them from the 1920s to 1960s called themselves the American Football League, and since then there has been a variety of names and ideas, such as the Continental Football League (1965-1969), World Football League (1974-1975), Spring Leagues (United States Football League, 1983-1985), Indoor Football Leagues (Arena Football League 1986-2019), World Football Leagues (World League of American Football / NFL Europe 1991-2007, Elite Football League of India 2012, China AFL 2016-2019, & LFA Mexico 2016-present), Extreme Football Leagues & Leagues which failed to get off the ground (PSFL 1993, Spring League 2000, XFL 2001, United Football League 2009-2011, FXFL 2014-2015, North American Football League 2016, The Spring League 2017-Present, XFL 2020), More recently Minority Football Leagues have appeared such as the Alliance of American Football 2019 and the Freedom Football League 2020.

Only the American Football League of 1960-1969 has been successful long-term, leading to both the start of the Super Bowl between the AFL Winners and the NFL Winners in 1967 and the eventual merger of the two leagues (They are now the American & National Football Conferences in the NFL – the Super Bowl is still played between the winners of the two Conferences)

Irish-born Alternative Football League Players and Personnel

Spring Leagues Era (1983-Present)

From the early 1990s to 2020 Leagues have sprung up that have attempted to be the AFL / WFL / USFL of the Era. Some of these Leagues, such as the XFL of 2001 and 2020 have had quite an impact on the American Football scene, with big budgets, and Major TV contracts. Another set of leagues has played a limited schedule – 2 to 6 games per team per season, often due to fans not showing up at the gates, or sometimes due to repositioning themselves as leagues confined to one area – ie. South Florida (Stars Football League) or New York / New England (FXFL)

A new Era in Development League (AAA) Football began in 2001 with the first XFL, designed to give Football fans fed up with the NFL and Arena Football League “Hard Working Class Football” back. It lasted one season, but new leagues came up in 2009 (United Football League) and 2011-2013 (Stars Football League); 2014-15 (Fall Xperimental Football League) and 2017-2020 (The Spring League). The Budget XFL was resurrected in 2020 for half a season (it was cancelled due to the COVID virus) but is scheduled to return in 2023. The Spring Leagues are usually based in one city or area (Stars Football League, FXFL, TSL) which moves year-on-year. In 2022 The Spring League shall rebrand as the United States Football League, based in Birmingham, Alabama. Generally speaking the XFL, United Football League (2009-2011) and Alliance of American Football (2019) have been a step above the Spring Development Leagues (Stars Football League, FXFL, The Spring League).

LFA Mexico

American Football was first introduced to Mexico in the late 1800s, and the first Mexican College Championship in 1929 or 1933. Today the Liga de Futbol Americano (LFA) is the Major American Football League for Mexico and Latin America. The sport is played throughout Latin America and the Caribbean with most countries other than Mexico being recent converts to the game.

Mexican American Football

From the first College Championship in the 1930s to the most recent Professional League: Liga de Futbol Americano, the history of American Football in Mexico is the longest in the World outside of USA and Canada. This is a record of 11v11 American Football: for the Arena Indoor (8v8) version of the game which is more popular in Mexico than anywhere else see: Arena Indoor Football; For all Women’s American Football including Mexican Women’s Football see: Women’s American Football; For Flag Football see: Flag Football World

Japan American Football

American Football was first introduced to Japan in the 1930s, although it was not until after WWII, that it was played competitvely, with the Rice Bowl, Japan’s version of the Super Bowl, being played between the Universities since 1947, and since 1984 between the University Champions and the Social Champions (Business League – currently X-League).

There is also a third League in Japan, which is the Private Club League, opening up American Football to non-students and non-Corporate Workers. The JPFF (Japan Private Football Association) organises the Ocean Bowl between the JPFF East and JPFF West Champions. It is included in Social Championships.

Japan American Football Association Social Championships

The Japan X-League is the highest level of American Football in Japan. From 1984 to 2020 the X-League Champions played for the Rice Bowl with the University Champions. since 2021 the Rice Bowl is in sole ownership of the X-League after 11 X-League victories in a row. The X-League is divided into X1 Super (Premier League), X1 Area (3 Regional League – Championship) and then below that X2 and X3 Leagues.

The JPFF (Japan Private Football Association) is the National or State Level League, with Leagues run on an East – West basis.

European Football Leagues

After the US Air Force & Army Leagues, the National Football League set about promoting the NFL in Europe. In 1970 the film M*A*S*H saw the first mainstream exposure of American Football in Europe with its climactic Football game at the end. Immediately following this there were expressions of interest from Europeans about setting up a League, and what followed was the Intercontinental Football League, which was to feature 6 teams, including the Rome Gladiators, owned by Bruno Beneck, the director of the most popular TV Sports Show in Italy, who had successfully introduced Baseball 20 years earlier. The League never got off the ground due to the oil crisis and the spectre of Terrorism, but the IFL continued to promote the game, playing a game in 1972 in Paris featuring NFL players, as well as bringing College teams and Semi-Pro Teams from 1976-1978 to play a best-of-5 European Championship.

TV stations started showing American Football in the late-1970s and early 1980s and the first Leagues sprang up, including the Rome Gladiators in Bruno Beneck’s Italy. By 1986 the National Football League had begun to play Pre-Season games in London, Barcelona, Berlin and Dublin. The European audiences soon wanted more so the World League of American Football, featuring 3 European teams, 6 American and one Canadian, was started in 1991. It lasted two seasons before being shelved by the NFL due to the lack of interest from American fans in a Development League. The American Football League of Europe, which ran from 1994-1995 filled in the gap in Pro Football, with its mix of start-up teams and teams from the European National Leagues bolstered by American imports.

The World League returned in 1995 as a 6-team Europe-only League and was renamed the NFL Europe League in 1998. After initial success, attendances dwindled – the fans wanted an NFL franchise – so in 2007 the NFL folded the League and focused on promoting the NFL in Europe through the NFL International Series – starting with one NFL Regular Season game a year played in London, growing to 4-per-year by 2020, with the stated intention of putting a team in London permanently by 2022.

World Football Leagues

The First attempts at creating a European American Football League were in the 1970s following the hit film M*A*S*H and its climactic ending featuring an American Football game which intrigued European audiences.

Following on from this a couple of failed start-ups led in 1991 to the National Football League (NFL) creating the World League of American Football (WLAF) as a Development League. After two years with teams in USA, Canada and Europe it was shelved and returned in 1995 as a Europe-only league which itself was shelved in 2007 in order to promote the NFL itself in Europe through the International Series of NFL regular season games in London.

Major Arena Football Leagues

This version of American (or Gridiron) Football has become extremely popular in Mexico.

Indoor Football, also known as Arena Football was developed in 1986 as an 8v8 form of Indoor American Football. After an initial few seasons where the game was developed with a 4 team league, a full seasons League with eventually over a dozen teams was developed in the 1990 which was considered by the Wall Street Journal to be a fifth major.

The Arena Football League over-expanded in the 2000s with a Minor League, and its importance (and number of teams) waned since it first experienced financial diffulties  in 2009, and it ceased operations after the 2019 season due to the legacy debt incurred.

There is now, however, Indoor Football Leagues all over America, all of which would now be considered Minor League or Semi-Pro (AAA, AA, or even A)

Indoor Football is played on a 50-yard field with two 8-yard endzones, and teams have 5 downs (attempts) to reach the endzone or the ball is turned over. 3 of those downs must be passing plays, making Indoor Football highly explosive and high scoring.

The main difference between Arena Football & Indoor Football is the rebound nets either side of the goalposts in Arena Football, which is the only part of the original patent given to the Arena Football League in 1989, that a subsequent ruling in 1998 ruled was copyright, the rest being Football already in other leagues.

Women’s American Football

Female American Football comes in many varieties. There are the 11v11 Outdoor Leagues in USA, 12v12 in Canada, 7v7 and 5v5 Outdoor Full Contact Kitted Leagues around the World such as the Sapphire Series in Britain, Femenil Indoor (Arena) 8v8 Leagues, which are popular in Mexico and 7v7 Legends or Ladies Gridiron Leagues where players wear very little in terms of protective clothing.