Major American Football Leagues Timeline 1909-2020

Timeline 1909-Present

1909-PresentCanadianThe Canadian Football League’s Grey Cup has been played for since 1909.
1920-PresentNationalThe National Football League was formed in 1920.
1926-1949Americanvarious Leagues called the American Football League operated from 1926 to 1949.
1947-2017MexicanThe Aztec Bowl has been played between Mexican and US College teams since 1947
1950s-presentJapanThe Rice Bowl is Japan’s Super Bowl, and has been played annually between the College Champions and X-League Champions since the 1980s and was the College Championship prior to that.
1960-PresentAmericanThe American Football League of 1960-1969 was so successful it merged with the National Football League in 1970, and the two Leagues, now Conferences have played the Super Bowl between the Champions of each since.
1965-1969ContinentalThe Continental Football league of 1965-1969 was the first American Football League to feature teams in Canada and Mexico as well as the United States
1974-PresentWorldThe World Football League was set up in 1974 to promote American Football around the world. Whilst it never got any further than Hawaii, its’ legacy is Leagues in countries from most major European countries, to South American, Asian, African and Oceanian countries.
1983-1985United StatesThe United States Football League was the first League to play Spring Football, and although unsuccessful itself, spring football is played every year in the USA.
1986-2019ArenaThe Arena Football League was the first ever Indoor Football League in the USA, played on a 50-yard field with two 8-yard endzones. It was unsuccessful itself, but has spawned dozens of Indoor Football Leagues throughout the United States.
1991-PresentSpringThe Pro Spring Football League of 1992-1993 was a League that failed to get off the ground, although since then numerous leagues called Spring Leagues have played a limited schedule (2-3 matches per team) since then.
1995-PresentEuropeThe World League of American Football of 1991-1992 placed three teams in Europe. Brought back again in 1995 as a Europe-only League, with 6 teams, it played until 2007. Was a failed attempt by the NFL at starting a Pro Development League in Europe.
2004-2019Lingerie/LegendsThe Lingerie Bowl was first aired on a rival TV network to the Super Bowl in 2004. It took advantage of a lot of fans complaining the hour-long Super Bowl halftime show was too boring and long, and featured scantilly-clad models and actresses playing a version of Arena Football.
2001-2020XFLThe XFL was another League that took advantage of the NFL being seen as too safe and no fun, and was an attempt at bringing back hard-working class Football, but has failed as seen as to violent or deviating from the rules too much.
2000InternationalThe International Football Federation lasted just a Press Conference.
2012IndiaThe Elite Football League of India was a League promoted by former NFL players and Coaches in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka that lasted one season
2012-13Lingerie CanadaThe Lingerie Football League Canada was a failed attempt at starting the LFL in Canada. It lasted one season.
2013-14Legends AustraliaThe Legends Football Australia, like the one in Canada lasted one season.
2016-2019AFL ChinaThe Arena Football League went Global in 2016, starting a League in China. Its second season was in 2019, played as a weekend-long tournament.
2016-PresentMexicoThe Liga de Football Professional, now LFA Mexico was started in 2016. after decades of numerous Pro Leagues in Mexico, this one has received Major League recognition in America and Canada.
2011-2013FallThe Fall Experimental Football League was a four-team League, that played across America intially, but after one season only in the Boston-New York area. Played a limited schedule of 2-3 games per team.
2013-2016StarsThe Stars Football League, was very similar to the FXFL, but relocated to the South Florida area after one season.
2016North AmericanThe North American Football League of 2016 failed to start and its owners charged with fraud.
2018TrinityThe Trinity Pro Spring Football League was intended to be a 32-team League from the start but only held tryouts for three teams each over two seasons, before disappearing.
2019AllianceThe Alliance of American Football was unusual for a high-profile league the 2010s in that it managed to start, although lasted only 8 of 10 games in its first season before folding.
2020PacificPacific Pro Football was like the Stars, FXFL, and Spring Leagues, a League intended to play in one area (Southern California) , but was planning expansion to the East, and then the rest of the country. Never started play.
2020FreedomThe Freedom Football League was promoted by former NFL players who wanted a League with minority-ownership. The NFL had bee criticized for the conservatism of its owners, all of whom were white, male, billionaires.
2020MajorMajor League Football, like the NAFL, FFL, TPSFL, and numerous other leagues, was a league with much publicity that never materialised.
2009-PresemtIndoorThe Indoor Football League was formed in 2009 from the merger of two smaller regional Indoor American Football leagues: United Indoor Football and Intense Football League. Has lasted a decade so far.
Major American Football Leagues Timeline 1909-Present

Note: Successful American Football Leagues in Bold and Italics


For References on each of the Leagues as well as much more information please see the following pages:

Canadian Football Leagues:

National Football League:

American Football League Era 1920-1950:

Mexican American Football Leagues:

Japan American Football:

United States Football Leagues Era 1960-1985: /

Arena and Indoor Football Leagues:

European american Football:

Women’s American Football (including Legends Leagues):

XFL Era Football Leagues:

World American Football Leagues:


Thanks to Decy Maher and Prof. Gill

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish, North American & World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 4 May 2020

(c) Copyright Enda Mulcahy and Eirball 2020

You may quote this document in part provided that proper acknowledgement is given to the authors. All Rights Reserved.

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