World American Football

The first known game of Football played in North America, was in 1861 in University of Toronto. The first game of American Football was played between Princeton & Rutgers Universities in 1969, with games played in McGill University, Montreal, soon afterwards. In 1882, Walter Camp, called the father of American Football, wrote the first rules for the American Game, and in 1883 the Ontario Rugby Football Union, and Quebec Rugby Football Unions were formed. The Canadian Rugby Union was formed in 1891 and the first Pro Football Circuit in the USA, the Western Pennsylvania Pro Football Circuit played the first unofficial Pro Championship. the first World Series of Football was organised in 1901, with the Ohio League being formed in 1903. In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt, concerned at the increasingly violent nature of Football, which had resulted in numerous deaths, invited the heads of the Major Universities Football Programmes to a conference in the White House to thrash out a common set of rules. This organisation became the National Collegiate Athletic Association in 1911and in late 1919 the top Ohio League and Upstate New York Pro Football Circuit teams, in an effort to prevent spiraling wage demands from players which was ruining the game, formed the American Professional Football Association, which in 1922 changed its name to the National Football League.

Only the American Football League of 1960-1969 has been successful long-term, leading to both the start of the Super Bowl between the AFL Winners and the NFL Winners in 1967 and the eventual merger of the two leagues (They are now the American & National Football Conferences in the NFL – the Super Bowl is still played between the winners of the two Conferences)

Three rival Leagues to the NFL: the Japanese X-League, the Canadian Football League and Liga Football Americano Mexico, have become so successful in their own countries they are considered Major Leagues there, and have been given their own Page on Eirball:

see: Canadian Football LeaguesJapanese American Football,  and Mexican American Football Leagues

The NFL has played International Games abroad since 1950 when it played games in Canada, and more recently Leagues, including Professional ones, have started in EuropeAsia-Pacific and Latin America. Professional Leagues are included below: (Scroll down for the full list of links to AAA Leagues in the Unites States of America and around the World). For more on the World National Leagues and Continental Bowls see: European American FootballAsia-Pacific American Football and Latin American Football)

Also included here are the records of the National Football League’s International games, and those of Rival Leagues such as the United States Football League, Arena Football League Global and Legends Football Leagues Global.

Note: Leagues in Bold are sometimes considered Major League Rivals to the NFL.

Note 2: Leagues marked with asterisk (*) are sometimes considered AA.

Early Canadian Rugby Football (1861-1906):

The first known game of Football in North America was played at the University of Toronto in 1861. Hamilton (1869) , Toronto (1873), Montreal (1872), Ottawa (1876), and Winnipeg (1979) Football Clubs were formed soon aftetwards. In 1883 the Ontario Rugby Football Union, and Quebec Rugby Football Unions were formed. The Canadian Rugby Union was formed in 1891. (See: Canadian Football Leagues for more details, including Provincial Leagues)

Canadian Football League (1907-Present)

The Interprovincial Rugby Football Union (IRFU), comprising the Big Four (Hamilton Tigers, Toronto Argonauts, Ottawa Rough Riders and Montreal Football Club), was formed in 1907. 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.

The Canadian Football League provided the main rival to the NFL in the 1950s, with Canadian teams raiding America for players, and CFL teams playing NFL teams in exhibition matches. It became a Major League in 1958 when it split away from the Canadian Rugby Union. (See: Canadian Football Leagues for more details, including Provincial Leagues)

Canadian Football League Logo 1958-1969 [Reference: 5]

Canadian Football League 1950-1959

National Football League v Canadian Football League 1950-1969


Mexican Football Leagues (1933-Present):

The Mexican College Football Championship, organised by ONEFA since 1933, and now more recently a match-up between the Public Universities (ONEFA) and Private Universities (CONADIEP), is the biggest game in American Football in Mexico, although the new Pro League, the Liga Football Americano (Mexico) looks set to rival it.

There has been a Professional American Football League in Mexico for decades, with the Liga Football Americano Mexico becoming a Major League in 2016, forming a partnership with the Canadian Football League.

see: Mexican American Football Leagues for more details on the LFA Mexico and Mexican American Football, including State Leagues.

Liga Football Americano Mexico Logo [Reference: 3]

Organizacion Nacional Estudiantil de Futbol Americano (ONEFA Mexico) | Campeones Nacional de Liga Mayor 1933-2017

Futbol Americano (Mexico) Asociacion 2014-2016

Liga Futbol Americano (Mexico) 2016-2019

Liga Football Americano Mexico (Seasons):


Japanese Football Leagues (1947-Present)

The first attempts at introducing American Football to Japan were in the 1930s, and from the end of the Second World War both Baseball (Japan’s National Sport) and American Football have become massively popular. The X-League is the current Pro League in Japan and dates back to the 1980s, with most teams connected with big businesses in Japan. The Rice Bowl, Japan’s equivalent of the Super Bowl has been played since 1947, and since 1984 is between the winners of the College Championship and the Social Championship (Pro League – X-League) (see Japanese American Football for more information on the sport in Japan, including Prefecture Leagues)

Japan X-League Logo [Reference: 4]

Japan American Football Association | Japan American Football Championship | Rice Bowl 1984-2019

Japan American Football Association | X-League 2017-2019

National Football League International (1950-Present)

The NFL played a series of International Games, both Preseason, and Regular Season, in Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe.

National Football League v Canadian Football League 1950-1969

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

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

Korean Football Leagues (1962-Present)

American Football was first introduced to Korea in 1947, following liberation. The earliest teams, based in Private Colleges, however, disbanded without much activity. The first teams based in Universities appeared in 1957, and the first Competition was played in 1962. Since 1995, the Kimchi Bowl (Kimchi is a kind of Korean Spicy Cabbage) has been played between the winners of the University Championship and the Social Championship.

Korea American Football Association | Kimchi Bowl 1995-2017

European Football Leagues (1970-Present)

In 1970 an American promoter, having successfully brought Pro Soccer to Texas, sought to cash in on the interest in American Football in Europe brought about by the end sequence of the film M*A*S*H, which showed an American Football game. In 1979 another failed attempt at starting a League in Europe, this time in the USSR, was thwarted by the Communist Authorities. The National Football League started the World League of American Football in 1991, in part to test new markets and in part to provide a much needed Development League. In 2007 the NFL shelved the NFL Europe League to focus on promoting the NFL in Europe, with the International Series of Regular Season Games in London. American Football Leagues also started in Europe in the 1970s and Australia & New Zealand in the 1980s.

(see European American Football and for more on European American Football, including National Leagues, and the Euro Bowl and

National Football League Europe Logos [Reference: 7]

Intercontinental Football League 1970-1978

United States Football League | Postseason Exhibition Game in London 1984

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

World League of American Football 1991-1992

American Football League of Europe 1994-1995

World League of American Football 1995-1997

National Football League Europe 1998-2007

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

Pacific Football Leagues (1985-Present)

American Football Leagues started in Australia & New Zealand in the 1980s

Russian Football Leagues (1990-Present)

The first attempt at stating American Football in Russia dates back to 1979, with plans by an American Promoter to introduce the game, however it was blocked by the Communist Authorities. Following Glasnost in the late-980s, the first game in Russia was played between two College sides in 1989, and soon afterwards the first Russian team, the Moscow Bears was formed. 

Proposed American Football League in USSR 1979-1989

Asian Football Leagues (2000-Present)

American Football Leagues started in Japan in 1947 and Korea in 1962 and have since spread to China, India, Turkey & the Arab Countries since the 2000s, with the first American Football teams founded in Turkey in 2005.

In 2012 former NFL players and coaches started the Elite Football League of India, and from 2012-2019 there were attempts at starting Arena Football Leagues in Australia (Legends Football League) and China (AFL Global).

China Arena Football League / Arena Football League Global Logos [Reference: 9]

Elite Football league of India 2012

China Arena Football League 2016-2019

(see Asia-Pacific American Football for more on Asian, Middle Eastern & Pacific American Football, including National Leagues).


Latin American Football Leagues (2010-Present)

Leagues have started in South & Central American countries other than Mexico since around 2010). Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica all have American Football Leagues since the start of the decade.

Asociacion Guatemalteca de Football Americano 2015-2017

(see Latin American Football for more details on National Leagues)


African Football Leagues (??-??)

There has so far been no Leagues in Sub-Saharan Africa (Leagues in Morocco & EGypt are dealt with in the Asia-Pacific Football Leagues section, which deals with Australian, Asian & Arab Leagues).

There has been Flag Football played in Ivory Coast, and possibly South Africa, but not as far as Eirball can discern, a fully-kitted/contact American Football League, which it is hoped will soon change.




See individual articles on each League for References regards the text in each Era. [Links in Blue-Green]


[1] National Football League (2019) NFL Logo [Internet] Available from: data:image/png;base64,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 [Accessed 17 September 2019]
[2] Wikipedia (2018) All-America Football Conference Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 8 October 2018]
[3] Brands of the World (2018) LFA Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 1 August 2018]
[4] X-League (2020) X-Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 7 January 2020]
[5] Kids Encyclopedia facts | Kiddle (2019) Canadian Football League League facts for Kids [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 9 June 2019]
[6] Sports Logos History (2018) USFL Logo 1983-1985 [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 31 December 2019]
[7] Growth of a Game (2014) NFL Europe Logos [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 23 April 2018]
[8] Arena Football League (2019) Arena Football League Reveals New Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 17 September 2019]
[9] China Arena Football League (2019) CAFL-AFLG Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 3 December 2019]
[10] Wikipedia (2019) XFL 2020 Logo [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 September 2019]
[11] 1000 Logos (2018) Legends Football League Logo {Internet] Available from: [Accessed 24 January 2020]
[12] American Football International (2019) Alliance of American Football Logo [Internet] Available from:×400.png [Accessed 3 February 2020]



] Women’s Football Alliance (2017) Header [Internet] Available from: [Accessed 30 January 2020]