Canadian Football Leagues
Canadian Rugby Union (1907-1958)
The Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), the Big Four (Hamilton Tigers, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and Montreal Football Club), The Grey Cup was donated in 1909 by the Earl of Grey, for which only Canadian Rugby Union members may play for. The CFL’s version of the Super Bowl, and since the 1950s has been in the sole possession of the CFL, when the sport broke away from the Canadian Rugby Union and formed its own League, with the Cup dating back to the late-nineteenth century.
Canadian Football is 12-a-side as opposed to 11-a-side in standard American Football, with a 110-yard field, with two 20-yard endzones (whereas in American Football it is 100-yards long with two 15-yard endzones). in Canadian Football teams also have only three downs (attempts) in which to gain 10 yards before the ball is turned over as opposed to 4 in American Football. There is also the “Rouge” – 1 Point scored when the ball is kicked out the back of the endzone.
For more on Canadian Football, including Minor Canadian Football Leagues, matches played between Canadian teams and other countries teams, and Internationals featuring Canadian U21 and Minor League teams see https://eirball.ie/canadian-football-leagues/
Canadian Football League Internationals:
Canadian Football League Major Era (1958-Present):
Canadian Football League (Seasons):
Canadian Football League Timelines:
Mexican American Football Leagues
for more on Mexican American Football, including State Leagues, and 8-v-8 Leagues across the US-Mexican Border see https://eirball.ie/mexican-american-football-leagues/
Major Mexican American Football Leagues:
AAA Mexican American Football Leagues:
Mexican College American Football
Mexican College Bowls:
Organizacion Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano ONEFA Liga Mayor (Overviews):
Japan American Football
Japan Rice Bowl (Universities v Social Champions):
Japan X-League (Social / Business League)
Japan Universities (Student Leagues)
North Japan University Championship (Japan) Pine Bowl 2012-Present (Tohuku Region v Hokkaido University)
Tohoku Collegiate American Football Association TCAA (Japan) Champions 1976-Present (Tohoku Region – Northeast Japan)
Tohoku Collegiate American Football Association (TCAA – Northeast Japan – Seasons):
Japan Private Football Association JPFF (Private / Clubs League):
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.
For more on International American Football, including Minor League internationals (US & Canadian Teams), Internationals involving Colleges (US & Canada) and Internationals between countries see: https://eirball.ie/international-american-football/
Major American Football Leagues Internationals
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.
Canadian Football League v Major American Football Leagues (1941-1969)
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
Minor American Football Leagues Internationals
American Football World Cups
American Football World Cup:
World Football Leagues (AAA) (1990-Present)
The first American Football teams outside North America were formed in Mexico in the 1930s and Japan soon after WWII.
Mexican & Japanese American Football Leagues are considered Major League as the constitute, along with Canada & USA, the four Major Gridiron Football playing countries.
In 1970 the film M*A*S*H with its climactic end sequence featuring an American Football game among GI’s was a big hit in Europe, and the first attempts to start a Pro League on the continent were staged in the early 1970s in the EEC and late 1970s in the USSR. In the Late 1970s and early 1980s the first TV Programmes showing American Football in Europe caused a surge in interest and League, involving mostly European Players have since taken off in most European Countries.
(see European American Football and for more on European American Football, including National Leagues, and the Euro Bowl)
The first American Football Leagues outside the Major 4 of USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan were created in Korea in the 1950s).
Starting in the 1980s the first League started in Australia, then in the 1990s, the CIS (Russia and the former USSR), and South and Central America in the 2000s, and Africa in the 2010s.
These, as well as other Asian Countries are dealt with on this page.
World Pro American Football Leagues (AAA) (1990-Present)
The first attempts to start American Football League with a truly World Outlook were which actually played a game were started in Europe, Canada and USA in 1991: The World League of American Football was the National Football League’s first attempt at starting both a World League and Development League (AAA in American terms). It lasted two seasons an was brought back as a Europe-only League in 1995, which lasted until 2007.
Since then there has been numerous Pro Leagues around the World which have been started by, or have had some involvement with, former NFL Coaches and Players.
International League of American Football 1990 : https://eirball.ie/2020/02/23/international-league-of-american-football-1990/ [E]
China Arena Football League (Seasons): 2019
Note: [E] Also considered part of the European Football Leagues
[L] Also considered part of the Legends Football Leagues.
[AI] Also considered part of the Arena / Indoor Football Leagues.
European American Football
National Football League International & Development Leagues (Major & AAA):
After the US Air Force & Army Leagues, the National Football League set about promoting the NFL in Europe. In 1970 the film M*A*S*H saw the first mainstream exposure of American Football in Europe with its climactic Football game at the end. Immediately following this there were expressions of interest from Europeans about setting up a League, and what followed was the Intercontinental Football League, which was to feature 6 teams, including the Rome Gladiators, owned by Bruno Beneck, the director of the most popular TV Sports Show in Italy, who had successfully introduced Baseball 20 years earlier. The League never got off the ground due to the oil crisis and the spectre of Terrorism, but the IFL continued to promote the game, playing a game in 1972 in Paris featuring NFL players, as well as bringing College teams and Semi-Pro Teams from 1976-1978 to play a best-of-5 European Championship.
TV stations started showing American Football in the late-1970s and early 1980s and the first Leagues sprang up, including the Rome Gladiators in Bruno Beneck’s Italy. By 1986 the National Football League had begun to play Pre-Season games in London, Barcelona, Berlin and Dublin. The European audiences soon wanted more so the World League of American Football, featuring 3 European teams, 6 American and one Canadian, was started in 1991. It lasted two seasons before being shelved by the NFL due to the lack of interest from American fans in a Development League. The American Football League of Europe, which ran from 1994-1995 filled in the gap in Pro Football, with its mix of start-up teams and teams from the European National Leagues bolstered by American imports.
The World League returned in 1995 as a 6-team Europe-only League and was renamed the NFL Europe League in 1998. After initial success, attendances dwindled – the fans wanted an NFL franchise – so in 2007 the NFL folded the League and focused on promoting the NFL in Europe through the NFL International Series – starting with one NFL Regular Season game a year played in London, growing to 4-per-year by 2020, with the stated intention of putting a team in London permanently by 2022.
For more on European American Football, including AA Leagues (Northern, Western, Southern, Central, Eastern Europe) and National Leagues see https://eirball.ie/european-american-football/
European Pro Football Leagues (Level 1):
American Football League of Europe (Seasons): 1995
European Football Associations & the Eurobowl (AAA)
The first Eurobowl for European National Champions was played in 1986, governed by the European Football League. The organisation fell apart in 1992, following the expulsion of the United Kingdom, and was replaced by the European Federation of American Football which ran the Eurobowl until 2015 when the German Football League International took over running the sport for one year, being replaced in turn by the Europe Division of the International Federation of American Football, the World Governing Body.
European American Football Level 1 Overviews:
EFL / EFAF Eurobowl 1986-2014: https://eirball.ie/2020/04/15/european-federation-of-american-football-european-football-league-eurobowl-1986-2014/
IFAF Europe Big 6 European Football League 2015-Present: https://eirball.ie/2020/04/15/international-federation-of-american-football-europe-big-6-european-football-league-2015-present/
IFAF Europe European Football League (Level 2): 2016
Latin American Football Leagues
This is a record of Latin American Gridiron (American Football) Leagues. American Football is known as Football Americano, or just simply Football, in Latin America, as opposed to Futbol, which is the Spanish name for Soccer.
The sport was first played in Mexico in the late 19th Century, and leagues first started appearing in Mexico in the 1940s. In the 2000s the first Kitted American Football Leagues started in Argentina and Brazil, and are now played everywhere in Latin America.
For more on Mexican American Football Leagues (Including Professional, College and State Leagues) see: Mexican American Football Leagues
Liga Asociacion Guatemalteca de Football Americano (Overviews):
Football Americano Argentina Liga Mayor (Overviews):
Asian American Football
American Football has been played in Asia since the 1930s when American teachers in Japan first promoted the game.
United Arab Emirates:
Pacific American Football Leagues
Since the 1990s American Football Leagues have been organised in Korea, Australia & New Zealand, with the sport spreading to China, India, Turkey and Arab Countries
Pacific American Football Leagues:
Australian Gridiron Leagues (Overviews):
New Zealand | American Football Canterbury (Seasons):
Asian American Football Leagues:
China Arena Football League (Seasons):
Elite Football League of India (Overviews):
Arab American Football Leagues:
United Arab Emirates (Overviews):
African American Football Leagues
The Egyptian American Football league is currently the only fully kitted contact American Football League in Africa, although there are Flag Football Leagues (Tag) in Egypt, Morocco and Ivory Coast.
EFAF Egyptian National Football League (Overviews):