National Football League Intercontinental 1972-1978

27.05.1972Paris (Fra)NFL Blue16NFL Rouge6
16.08.1976Tokyo (Jap)St. Louis Cardinals20San Diego Chargers10
05.08.1978Mexico City (Mex)New Orleans Saints14Philadelphia Eagles7
National Football League Intercontinental 1972-1978 [Ref: 1-3]


With the film M*A*S*H being such a hit in Europe, and around the World, featuring its climactic end-sequence depicting an American Football game, the National Football League started promoting the game outside of North America. a game was played in Paris, France in 1972 between 42 NFL players, representing NFL Blue and NFL Rouge.

At the the same time attempts were afoot by the World Football League (1974-1975) and Bob Kapp’s Intercontinental Football League to host teams in cities around the World. While the WFL got no further outside mainland USA than Hawaii, and Kapp’s Intercontinental Football League, with six franchises in Europe, never got off the ground, the NFL continued to work with the IFl, and played a game promoted by both in Tokyo, Japan, between the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Chargers.

In 1978 a further National Football League game was played in Mexico City between the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles. All of these games were preseason games, but they were the first steps towards the regular hosting of NFL games outside of the USA and Canada, which were to lead eventually to the International Series of Regular Season Games held annually in London from 2007 to 2019.


Website / Sources

[1] Mark L. Ford and Massimo Foglio, The Coffin Corner Volume 27,No. 6, Pro Football Researchers Association (2002) THE FIRST “NFL EUROPE”[Internet] Available from: [Accessed 20 October 2019]


[2] Massimo Foglio with Mark L. Ford (2017), Touchdown in Europe – How American Football Came to the Old Continent. Second Edition “The Trailblazers: Bleu et Rouge, College and Semi-Pro”. pg. 151-188. Published by the Author (2015, 2017)

[3] National Football League (2014) 2014 National Football League Record & Factbook. “International Games” pg. 508-509. Published by National Football League and Time Home entertainment, New York, NY.


Thanks to Louise Wills (Kenny) and John Wills.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 11 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 Resereved.

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