American 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).

Irish-born Alternative Major League Players, Coaches, and Personnel

ARLINGTON, USA - SEP 15, 2015: Interior view of the AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Texas, United States [Photo Credit; David J. Maldonaldo on Shutterstock.com]
ARLINGTON, USA – SEP 15, 2015: Interior view of the AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Texas, United States [Photo Credit; David J. Maldonaldo on Shutterstock.com]

Picture Credit: ARLINGTON, USA – SEP 15, 2015: Interior view of the AT&T Stadium, formerly known as Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. Texas, United States By David J Maldonado [Shutterstock]

Irish-Born Alternative Major League Players & Coaches

Irish-Born AAA Football Players

A look at the record of Irish-born Professional & US College American Football Players.

Major Alternative Football Leagues Standings:

2020 2019

Irish-Born AAA American Football Players, Coaches & Personnel:

Panthers Wroclaw ELF (2021), Aviators TSL (2021), Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Preseason 2022)

New York Giants NFL (Preseason 1965), Atlanta Falcons NFL (1965) and Brooklyn Dodgers Continental Football League (1966)

USC Trojans NCAA Football 1964-1967, Philadelphia Eagles NFL 1968-1972, Detroit Lions NFL 1972, Chicago Bears NFL1973 and The Hawaiians World Football League 1974-1975

Emmett Waldron | Irish-Born Pro & College American Football Player 1993-1999

(Rice Owls (NCAA), Scottish Claymores (WLAF-NFLE))

Linda Holland | Irish-Born Pro Legends-Arena American Football Player 2014

(Western Australia Angels (LFL Australia))

Ian Jones Irish-Born GAA Football, Rugby Union and NFL American Football Coach 2010-Present

(South Carolina Gamecocks (NCAA Football), Penn State Nittany Lions (NCAA Football), Cleveland Browns (NFL) Houston Texans (NFL), Salt Lake Stallions (AAF)

United States Football Leagues Era (2001-Present)

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).

Picture Credit: XFL- 2/9/20-MetLife Stadium East Rutherford,NJ- The Guardians host the Vipers on opening day of the XFL. By Christopher Lyzcen[Shutterstock]

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)

Spring Football Leagues (2001-2022)

RFL 1999; XFL 2001; 2020; AAF 2019; Spring Football League 2000; UFL 2009-2011; Stars Football League 2011-2013; FXFL 2014-2015;The Spring League 2017-2021; USFL 2022

United States Football League (Seasons):

The Spring League (Final Standings): 

The Spring League 2017-Present

The Spring League (Seasons): 2021 

The Spring League (Fall Seasons): 2020

XFL (Seasons): 2020

The Spring League (Seasons): 2020 

Alliance of American Football (Seasons): 2019

The Spring League (Seasons): 

2019 2018 2017

FXFL Fall Experimental Football League (Seasons): 

FXFL Fall Experimental Football League 2014-2015

2015 

Stars Football League (Seasons):

Stars Football League 2011-2013  

2013 2012 2011

United Football League (Overview and Seasons):

United Football League 2009-2011

2011 2010 2009 

XFL (Match Reports and Scorers):

XFL (Seasons): 2001

Spring Football League (Seasons): 2000

Regional Football League (Seasons): 1999

Picture Credit: XFL- 2/9/20-MetLife Stadium East Rutherford,NJ- The Guardians host the Vipers on opening day of the XFL. By Christopher Lyzcen[Shutterstock]

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)

Spring Football League Teams (2001-2022)

RFL 1999; XFL 2001; 2020; AAF 2019; Spring Football League 2000; UFL 2009-2011; Stars Football League 2011-2013; FXFL 2014-2015;The Spring League 2017-2021; USFL 2022

United States Football League (2022)

USFL North Division (2022)

USFL South Division (2022)

XFL (2001)

XFL Eastern Division (2001)

XFL Western Division (2001)

Continental Football Leagues Era (1960-1985)

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 )

Football field view on 50 yard line with spectator stands

PictureCredit: By pics721[Shutterstock]

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.

Continental Football Leagues Era (1960-1985)

USFL 1983-1985; AFA 1977-1983; WFL 1974-1975; SWPFL 1972-1973; CoFL 1965-1969; UFL 1961-1964

United States Football Leagues Era Championship Games

United States Football Leagues Era AAA Championship Games 1961-1985

United States Football Leagues Era Overviews:

United States Football League 1983-1985

American Football Association 1977-1983 (*)

World Football League 1974-1975 (Irish Players)

Southwestern Football League 1972-1973 (*)

Southwestern Football League (Seasons): 1973

Continental Football League 1965-1969

United Football League 1961-1964 (*)

American Football Leagues Era (1920-1959)

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)

A worn and aged vintage old style American football helmet. Authentic and game-worn 1950s style football face mask and helmet

Picture Credit: By Brocreative[Shutterstock]

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.

American Football Leagues Era (1920-1950)

AAFC 1946-1949; Pacific Pro Football League 1940-1948; AFLs 1926-1944;

American Football Leagues Era Champions:

American Football Leagues Era AAA Champions 1926-1949

All-America Football Conference (Overviews & seasons):

All-American Football Conference 1946-1949 

1949

Pacific Coast Pro Football League 1940-1948

American Football Leagues (Overviews):

American Football League 1944

American Football League 1940-1941

American Football League 1938-1939

American Football League 1936-1937

American Football League 1934

Pacific Coast and Southern Football Leagues (Seasons): 

Memphis Tigers | AAA Independent American Football 1929-1933

California Winter League 1927-1928

1927 1928

American Football Leagues (Overview and Seasons)

American Football League 1926

Anthracite Football League 1923-1924

Fort Wayne Friars Independent AAA Football 1920

Early Gridiron American Football (1890-1919)

Gridiron is another name for American Football because in its early days the field was marked out in a grid pattern. The first Pro american Football League was the Western Pennsylvania Pro Football Circuit in the Pittsburgh and surrounding Coal-Mining areas. The Leagues were unofficial, and the players paid under the counter. The first Word series was held in 1901, actually a five-team tournament, and that lasted two seasons. In 1903 the Ohio League became the first League to Officially pay players and when that League saw players salaries spiral due to competition from other teams for their services, four Ohio League teams joined forces with teams from Pennsylvania and Upstate New York to form the American Professional Football Association in 1920, which in 1922 changed its name to the National Football League, the Major League we know today. Canton is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the NFL Preseason opens there with the latest induction of Hall of Fame players in honour of the Canton Bulldogs, prime players in the Ohio League and formation of the NFL.

1920s football action. Thousands of spectators watch from double decker stadium seats.

Picture Credit: By Everett Collection[Shutterstock]

The first Professional American Football League was the Western Pennsylvania Pro Football Circuit in the Pittsburgh and surrounding Coal-Mining areas. The Leagues were unofficial, and the players paid under the counter. The first Word series was held in 1901, actually a five-team tournament, and that lasted two seasons. In 1903 the Ohio League became the first League to Officially pay players and when that League saw players salaries spiral due to competition from other teams for their services, four Ohio League teams joined forces with teams from Pennsylvania and Upstate New York to form the American Professional Football Association in 1920, which in 1922 changed its name to the National Football League, the Major League we know today. Canton is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the NFL Preseason opens there with the latest induction of Hall of Fame players in honour of the Canton Bulldogs, prime players in the Ohio League and formation of the NFL.

Early Pro American Football (1890-1919)

Ohio League; Pennsylvania Pro Football Circuit; World Series of Pro Football;

Ohio League

Ohio League Champions 1903-1919

Ohio League 1915-1919 (Irish Players)

Ohio League (Seasons): 1904 1905

World Series of Pro Football:

World Series of Pro Football 1902-1903

World Series of Football (Seasons): 1902 1903

Pennsylvania League

Western Penn Pro Football Circuit (Seasons): 1895 1896

National Football League (Seasons): 1902