International American Football

The first match that could be described as an International Gridiron or American Football mstch is the one between two AFL teams in Canada in 1926. Following this the NFL and AFL played a series of matches between the Leagues in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

In 1941 the first Canadian Football League v American Football League matches were held, and in 1950 the first match between a National Football League team and a Canadian Football League team.

Beginning in the 1970s, there were attempts at promoting American Football in Europe, through the Intercontinental Football League, and from there the World. In 1976 the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers played in Tokyo. In 1984 two United States Football League teams played in London, and in 1986 the first NFL American Bowl preseason game was held in London.

In 1999 the first World Cup was held, involving USA, Canada, as well as four other Nations which have to qualify through a series of matches.

In 2007 the NFL decided to promote the NFL in London, Mexico City and Toronto with the International Series of Regular Season games, which have run until the present.

National Football League v Canadian Football League Cartoon [Ref: International 1]


[International 1] Ninety-Nine Yards, Chris Lawton (2020) An International Fixture: When the CFL played teams from other leagues [Internet] Available from:

World American Football

World Top 225 American Football Teams (Outside USA & Canada) 2019

Major American Football Leagues Internationals

American Football League International (1926)

American Football League International 1926

National Football League v American Football Leagues (1927-1937):

Whilst not strictly speaking International matches, the National Football League has also played matches against American Football League teams in the 1920s, 1930s, & 1940s.

National Football League v American Football League 1927-1928

California Winter League 1927-1928

Memphis Tigers | AAA Independent American Football 1929-1933

National Football League v Pacific Coast Football League 1936

Pacific Coast Football Leagues (Seasons): 1927 1928

National Football League v Army & College All-Stars 1942

Canadian Football League v Major American Football Leagues (1941-1969)

Canadian Football League v American Football League Matches 1941-1948

National Football League v Canadian Football League 1950-1961

National Football League Preseason Matches in Canada 1960-1969

Major American Football Leagues International (1972-Present)

The National Football League began playing matches abroad in 1950, with a series of matches in Canada and against Canadian opposition, which lasted until 1969. Then it played a match in Paris in 1972, as well as matches in the 1970s in Tokyo in partnership with the Intercontinental Football League. In the 1980s it started playing preseason matches in Europe (the American Bowl) and after the NFL Europe Development League experiment (1991-2007) it scheduled Regular Season NFL games in London, as well as preseason games in Japan, Mexico & Toronto.

In the meantime there has also been matches between NCAA and Minor League teams and teams from Leagues around the World.

National Football League International Games

National Football League Intercontinental 1972-1978

United States Football League | Postseason Exhibition Game in London 1984

National Football League | American Bowl Pre-Season Games in Europe 1986-1997

National Football League American Bowl Preseason Games in Mexico 1994-2001

National Football League International | Regular Season Games in London 2007-Present

AAA Leagues Internationals

The Spring League v Japan National Team 2020

Minor American Football Leagues Internationals

Intercontinental Football League European Championship 1976-1978

Proposed American Football League in USSR 1979

Intercontinental Football League European Championship (Seasons): 1978 1977 1976

US and Canadian Colleges Internationals (1947-Present)

US College Division I Teams Games Abroad:

NFL & NCAA Pre-Season Games in Ireland 1988-1997

NCAA Football | Regular Season Games in Ireland 2012-2016

US College Division III Football Games v World Opposition

Tazon Azteca (Aztec Bowl – Mexican v US American Football) 1947-Present

International American Football | Ireland v NCAA Division III Teams 2004-2005

International American Football | Irish Teams v NCAA Division III Teams 2007-2019

US College Division III Football Games Abroad

Intercontinental Football League College and Air Force Games 1972-1973

International American Football USSR 1989

Global Football NCAA Division III Tours to Europe (Seasons): 2019

American Football World Cups

American Football World Cup (Editions): 1999 2003 2007 201

IFAF Junior World Championships

International Federation of American Football Junior World Championship Finals 2009-Present

American Football European Championships

American Football Europe Federation European Championships (Editions): 1983

Internationals (Non-USA & Canada)


For more on Irish International American Football see: International American Football (Ireland)

United Arab Emirates:

United Arab Emirates | International American Football Matches 2012-2018