United States Football Leagues Era AAA Championship Games 1961-1985

United States Football League Logo [Ref: 21]

Bowl Games and Championship Games 1961-1983

United Football LeagueUFL Championship
02.12.1961Grand Rapids Shamrocks20Columbus Colts7
02.12.1962Wheeling Ironmen31Grand Rapids Blazers21
08.12.1963Wheeling Ironmen30Toledo Tornadoes21
05.12.1964Canton Bulldogs19Indianapolis Warriors14
Continental Football LeagueCoFL Championship
1965Charleston Rockets24Toronto Rifles7
1966Philadelphia Bulldogs20Orlando Panthers17
1967Orlando Panthers38Orange County Ramblers14
1968Orlando Panthers30Orange County Ramblers23
1969Indianapolis Capitols44San Antonio Toros38
Southwestern Football LeagueSWPFL Championship Game
1972 *San Antonio Toros8-0Las Vegas Casinos6-2
1973Oklahoma City Wranglers19San Antonio Toros16
World Football LeagueWorld Bowl
1974Birmingham Americans22Florida Blazers21
1975League Season Unfinished
American Football AssociationAFA Championship Game
1977 *San Antonio Charros8-0Oklahoma City warriors4-3
16.09.1978Shreveport Steamers17San Antonio Charros14 ot
29.09.1979Carolina Chargers21Jacksonville Firebirds7
07.09.1980West Virginia Rockets42Carolina Chargers17
30.08.1981West Virginia Rockets29Chicago Fire21
21.08.1982Carolina Storm46Shreveport Americans22
23.07.1983Carolina Storm39San Antonio Bulls0
United States Football LeagueUSFL Championship
1983Michigan Panthers24Philadelphia Stars22
1984Philadelphia Stars23ArizonaWranglers3
1985Baltimore Stars28Oakland Invaders24
United States Football Leagues Era AAA Championship Games 1961-195 [Ref: 1-20]


There were numerous AAA Leagues in US American Football from 1961 to 1985, some of which styled themselves as Major League rivals to the NFL, most notably the United States Football League of 1983 to 1985 and the World Football League of 1974 to 1975.

The winners of the United Football League (1961 to 1964) were Grand Rapids Shamrocks (1961), Wheeling Ironmen (1962, 1963) and Canton Bulldogs (1964). The Continental Football League (1965 to 1969), which featured Co. Offaly-born Tom Furlong, Champions were Charleston Rockets (1965), Philadelphia Bulldogs (1966), Orlando Panthers (1967, 1968) and Indianapolis Capitols (1969).

In the 1972 the Southwestern Pro Football League (SWFL) began to market to the Mexican populations of Texas, California and the SouthWest. It lasted two seasons. Champions were San Antonio Toros (Bulls) (1972) and Oklahoma City Wranglers (1973). the World Football Legue which replaced it attempted to promote American Football to the World, although it got no further than Hawaii. Dublin-born Adrian Young played for the Hawaiians. The League lasted one and a half seasons before folding, with Birmingham Americans the Champions in 1974.

The American Football Association too up the mantle of AAA Football League in 1977, with its Champions being San Antonio Charros (1977), Shreveport Steamers (1978), Carolina Chargers (1979), West Virginia Rockets (1980, 1981), Carolina Storm (1982, 1983). It ended because of the arrival of the United States Football League, a Major Spring League rival to the NFL with a huge budget, including later US President and Billionaire Donald Trump among its team owners. The Champions were Michigan Panthers (1983), Philadelphia Stars (1984) and Baltimore Stars (1985).

After this the AAA Market was taken up by the Arena Football League (1985 to 2019), the World League of American Football / NFL Europe (1991 to 2007) and the XFL Era Leagues (2001 to Present).

Tom Furlong, from Co. Offaly, who played in the Continental Football League in 1966. [Ref: 22]



[1] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1961 Season [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1961.html [Accessed 18 October 2019]

[2] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1961 Season | Grand Rapids Shamrocks [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1961uflgr.html [Accessed 7 November 2019]

[3] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1962 Season [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1962.html [Accessed 18 October 2019]

[4] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1962 Season Grand Rapids Blazers [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1962uflgr.html [Accessed 7 November 2019]

[5] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1963 Season [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1963.html [Accessed 18 October 2019]

[6] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1963 Season | Toledo Tornadoes [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1963ufltol.html [Accessed 7 November 2019 ]

[7] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1964 Season [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1964.html [Accessed 18 October 2019]

[8] Pro Football Archives (2019) 1964 Season | Canton Bulldogs [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/1964uflcan.html [Accessed 7 November 2019 ]


[9] Greater Northwest Football Alliance (2017) Continental Football League (1965-1969) [Internet] Available from: http://www.gnfafootball.org/continentalleague.htm [Accessed 30 August 2017]


[10] Hannigan, Dara (1987) “Greening of the Gridiron” The Sunday Tribune , 27 July 1987. Sportweek, pg. 10 [Available online at the British Newspaper Archive: https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/ ]


[11] Gill, Bob et al (2010) “Season-By-Season Listings: The Top Leagues” Outsiders II – Minor League and Independent Football 1951-1985″ pg. 70-79. St. Johann Press, Haworth, NJ. (2010).


[12] Gill, Bob et al (2010) “Season-by-Season Listings- Other Leagues” Outsiders II – Minor League and Independent Football 1951-1985 pg. 120-121. St. Johann Press, Haworth, NJ (USA), 2010


[13] Bob Braunwart, The Coffin Corner, Pro Football Researchers Association (1988) WFL by Team Records [Internet] Available from: http://profootballresearchers.com/archives/Website_Files/Coffin_Corner/10-03-337.pdf [Accessed 9 October 2018]

[14] Pro Football Archives (2019) Adrian Young [Internet] Available from: https://www.profootballarchives.com/playery/youn00400.html [Accessed 12 October 2019]


[15] USFL.info (2017) 1983 Standings [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1983standings.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]

[16] USFL.info (2017) 1983 Playoffs [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1983playoffs.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]

[17] USFL.info (2017) 1984 Standings [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1984standings.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]

[18] USFL.info (2017) 1984 Playoffs [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1984playoffs.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]

[19] USFL.info (2017) 1985 Standings [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1985standings.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]

[20] USFL.info (2017) 1985 Playoffs [Internet] Available from: http://www.usfl.info/1985playoffs.html [Accessed 3 February 2017]


[21] Sports Logos History (2018) USFL Logo 1983-1985 [Internet] Available from: https://sportslogohistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/united_states_football_league.png [Accessed 31 December 2019]

[22] Irish Independent (2014) Tom Furlong and the NFL career that slipped away [Internet] Available from: https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/25ee2/30549403.ece/AUTOCROP/w1240h700/2014-08-31_spo_3142175_I1.JPG [Accessed 2 April 2020]


Thanks to Bart Barden.

About this document

Researched, compiled and written by Enda Mulcahy for the

Eirball | Irish North American and World Sports Archive

Last Updated: 6 July 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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