AAF - Atlanta Legends Vs San Antonio Commanders on Sunday March 17th, 2019 at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta Georgia USA

Alternative Football Leagues

Featured Image Credit: AAF – Atlanta Legends Vs San Antonio Commanders on Sunday March 17th, 2019 at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta Georgia USA. Photo Contributor: Jamie Lamor Thompson

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).