American Bowl

Last updated

The American Bowl was a series of National Football League pre-season exhibition games that were held at sites outside the United States between 1986 and 2005.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held on the first Sunday in February and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.


The league started the American Bowl series in 1986 primarily to promote American football in other countries. After successful games in London's Wembley Stadium, the series was expanded to Japan. After 1990, games were also played in Montreal and Berlin to promote the new World League of American Football (later NFL Europe) which started in 1991.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team with possession of the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without possession of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays; if they fail, they turn over the football to the defense, but if they succeed, they are given a new set of four downs to continue the drive. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Wembley Stadium (1923) former stadium in London, England which opened in 1923

The original Wembley Stadium was a football stadium in Wembley Park, London, which stood on the same site now occupied by its successor, the new Wembley Stadium. The demolition in 2003 of its famous Twin Towers upset many people worldwide.

Montreal City in Quebec, Canada

Montreal is the most populous municipality in the Canadian province of Quebec and the second-most populous municipality in Canada. Originally called Ville-Marie, or "City of Mary", it is named after Mount Royal, the triple-peaked hill in the heart of the city. The city is centred on the Island of Montreal, which took its name from the same source as the city, and a few much smaller peripheral islands, the largest of which is Île Bizard. It has a distinct four-season continental climate with warm to hot summers and cold, snowy winters.

Game history

Previous games outside the U.S.

Several earlier pre-season games involved NFL teams and were played outside the United States, without being labeled "American Bowl" games. Between 1950 and 1983, there were 13 football games involving NFL or AFL teams played on foreign soil. Six games in Canada between 1950–1961 pitted NFL teams against CFL teams with the NFL team winning all six games. These games were a hybrid of US and Canadian football. One game involved an AFL team (the Buffalo Bills, who lost 38–21 to the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats).

American Football League Professional football league that merged with National Football League in 1970

The American Football League (AFL) was a major professional American football league that operated for ten seasons from 1960 until 1969, when it merged with the older National Football League (NFL), and became the American Football Conference. The upstart AFL operated in direct competition with the more established NFL throughout its existence. It was more successful than earlier rivals to the NFL with the same name, the 1926, 1936 and 1940 leagues, and the later All-America Football Conference.

Canadian Football League Professional Canadian football league

The Canadian Football League is a professional sports league in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football. The league consists of nine teams, each located in a city in Canada. They are divided into two divisions: four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division.

Buffalo Bills National Football League franchise in Buffalo, New York

The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area. The Bills compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays their home games at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills are the only NFL team that plays its home games in the state of New York. The Bills conduct summer training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, an eastern suburb of Rochester.

There was also a game in 1960 that pitted the Chicago Bears against the New York Giants played in Toronto; this was in return for a 1958 CFL matchup that was played in Philadelphia.[ 3 ]

The 1958 CFL season was the fifth season in modern Canadian professional football, although officially it would become known as the inaugural season of the Canadian Football League.

Five games also used the American Bowl format without the name prior to 1986. One of these games was an AFL–NFL matchup, Boston vs. Detroit on August 25, 1969. Firstly, two games were played in Montreal in 1969. Then NFL exhibition games took place in Tokyo (1976), Mexico City (1978), and London (1983) before the term American Bowl was coined. The game in Tokyo was called the "Mainichi Star Bowl" . The game in London was called the Global Cup.

American Bowl games (1986–2005)

At least one American Bowl game was played annually between 1986 and 2003. As many as four were played per year in the early 1990s. The two participating teams were selected by the league. The American Bowl was a fifth pre-season game, played the same weekend as the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, and did not take away a game from the participating teams' pre-season schedules.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game is an annual National Football League (NFL) exhibition game that is held the weekend of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. The game is played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, which is part of Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village and is located adjacent to the Hall of Fame building in Canton, Ohio.

The largest crowd in NFL history was recorded at the American Bowl game at Mexico City on August 15, 1994, when 112,376 people attended the Governor's Cup game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers.

In 1996 it was played in Monterrey at the Estadio Universitario. The 1997 game was played in Dublin, Ireland as well as Toronto (Buffalo and Green Bay). These games usually played at times of local convenience; however, in the case of games in Japan, it was common for games to start at 5:00 AM local time as the scheduling was primarily for the benefit of US prime time television.

There were three games in 1998, two in 2000, and thereafter one per year. There was no American Bowl game played in 2004, and from 2000 to 2005 all American Bowl games were played in either Mexico or Japan.

Two 1988 games in Montreal and Gothenburg, Sweden, and a 1993 game in Toronto, are not classed as American Bowl games. This is because they were not arranged by the NFL but, rather, the scheduled home team elected to play there. Montreal held an American Bowl in 1990. At the time Montreal had no CFL team, after the Concordes/Alouettes had folded in 1987, but before the new Alouettes relocated there in 1996. The NFL-backed World League saw the Montreal Machine franchise compete in 1991 and 1992.

Post-American Bowl

The last American Bowl was held in 2005. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell cited the league's new international strategy in the abandonment of international pre-season games as well as the closure of NFL Europe, instead focusing on playing regular season games in foreign countries.

The pre-season game that was scheduled to take place in August 2007 (later postponed to 2009) between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks at Beijing National Stadium in Beijing, China was named the China Bowl instead of the American Bowl; that game, too, was eventually canceled before being played.

The first regular season NFL game played outside the United States was held on October 2, 2005 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City before an NFL regular-season record of 103,467 fans. The Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31-14. The New York Giants and Miami Dolphins played a regular season game at Wembley Stadium in London on October 28, 2007 (with the Giants winning 13-10), the first ever NFL regular season game to be played outside of North America; similarly, the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints followed suit in October 2008. These games are termed the NFL International Series. In addition to these games, the Buffalo Bills began the Bills Toronto Series, a number of pre- and annual regular season games in Toronto; the Miami Dolphins beat the Bills 16-3 in the first such game, on December 7, 2008. The series ran from 2008 to 2013.

List of games

DateWinning TeamScoreLosing TeamScoreStadiumCity
August 3, 1986 Chicago Bears 17 Dallas Cowboys 6 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 9, 1987 Los Angeles Rams 28 Denver Broncos 27 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
July 31, 1988 Miami Dolphins 27 San Francisco 49ers 21 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 6, 1989 Los Angeles Rams 16 San Francisco 49ers 13 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 6, 1989 Philadelphia Eagles 17 Cleveland Browns 13 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 5, 1990 Denver Broncos 10 Seattle Seahawks 7 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 5, 1990 New Orleans Saints 17 Los Angeles Raiders 10 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 9, 1990 Pittsburgh Steelers 30 New England Patriots 14 Olympic Stadium Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Montreal
August 11, 1990 Los Angeles Rams 19 Kansas City Chiefs 3 Olympiastadion Flag of Berlin.svg  West Berlin
July 28, 1991 Buffalo Bills 17 Philadelphia Eagles 13 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 3, 1991 San Francisco 49ers 21 Chicago Bears 7 Olympiastadion Flag of Germany.svg Berlin
August 4, 1991 Miami Dolphins 19 Los Angeles Raiders 17 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 2, 1992 Houston Oilers 34 Dallas Cowboys 23 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 15, 1992 Miami Dolphins 31 Denver Broncos 27 Olympiastadion Flag of Germany.svg Berlin
August 16, 1992 San Francisco 49ers 17 Washington Redskins 15 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
August 1, 1993 New Orleans Saints 28 Philadelphia Eagles 16 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 1, 1993 San Francisco 49ers 21 Pittsburgh Steelers 14 Estadi Olímpic Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
August 7, 1993 Minnesota Vikings 20 Buffalo Bills 6 Olympiastadion Flag of Germany.svg Berlin
August 8, 1993 Dallas Cowboys 13 Detroit Lions 13 Wembley Stadium Flag of the United Kingdom.svg London
July 31, 1994 Los Angeles Raiders 25 Denver Broncos 22 Estadi Olímpic Flag of Spain.svg Barcelona
August 7, 1994 Minnesota Vikings 17 Kansas City Chiefs 9 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 13, 1994 New York Giants 28 San Diego Chargers 20 Olympiastadion Flag of Germany.svg Berlin
August 15, 1994 Houston Oilers 6 Dallas Cowboys 0 Estadio Azteca Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
August 6, 1995 Denver Broncos 24 San Francisco 49ers 10 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 12, 1995 Buffalo Bills 9 Dallas Cowboys 7 SkyDome Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto
July 28, 1996 San Diego Chargers 20 Pittsburgh Steelers 10 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 5, 1996 Kansas City Chiefs 32 Dallas Cowboys 6 Estadio Universitario Flag of Mexico.svg Monterrey
July 27, 1997 Pittsburgh Steelers 30 Chicago Bears 17 Croke Park Flag of Ireland.svg Dublin
August 4, 1997 Miami Dolphins 38 Denver Broncos 19 Estadio Guillermo Cañedo Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
August 16, 1997 Green Bay Packers 35 Buffalo Bills 3 SkyDome Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Toronto
August 2, 1998 Green Bay Packers 27 Kansas City Chiefs 24 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 15, 1998 San Francisco 49ers 24 Seattle Seahawks 21 BC Place Stadium Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Vancouver
August 17, 1998 New England Patriots 21 Dallas Cowboys 3 Estadio Azteca Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
August 8, 1999 Denver Broncos 20 San Diego Chargers 17 Stadium Australia Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sydney
August 6, 2000 Atlanta Falcons 20 Dallas Cowboys 9 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 19, 2000 Indianapolis Colts 24 Pittsburgh Steelers 23 Estadio Azteca Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
August 27, 2001 Dallas Cowboys 21 Oakland Raiders 6 Estadio Azteca Flag of Mexico.svg Mexico City
August 3, 2002 Washington Redskins 38 San Francisco 49ers 7 Osaka Dome Flag of Japan.svg Osaka
August 2, 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 New York Jets 14 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo
August 6, 2005 Atlanta Falcons 27 Indianapolis Colts 21 Tokyo Dome Flag of Japan.svg Tokyo


(GP (Games Played), W (Wins), L (Losses), T (Ties), PCT (Winning Percentage), PTS FOR (Points For), PTS AG (Points Against))

1 Miami Dolphins 44001.00011584
2 San Francisco 49ers 8440.500134162
3 Los Angeles Rams 33001.0006343
4 Denver Broncos 7340.429149156
5 Green Bay Packers 22001.0006227
6 Atlanta Falcons 22001.0004730
7 New Orleans Saints 22001.0004526
8 Houston Oilers 22001.0004023
9 Minnesota Vikings 22001.0003715
10 Buffalo Bills 4220.5003575
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 5230.40010796
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11001.0003014
13 New York Giants 11001.0002820
14 Washington Redskins 2110.5005324
15 Indianapolis Colts 2110.5004550
16 New England Patriots 2110.5003533
17 San Diego Chargers 3120.3335758
18 Philadelphia Eagles 3120.3334658
19 Chicago Bears 3120.3334157
20 Kansas City Chiefs 4130.2506869
21 Oakland/L.A. Raiders 4130.2505879
22 Dallas Cowboys 9171.16788158
23 Seattle Seahawks 2020.0002834
24 New York Jets 1010.0001430
25 Cleveland Browns 1010.0001317
26 Detroit Lions 1001.5001313

See also

Related Research Articles

Marvin Daniel Levy is a former American and Canadian football coach, front office executive, and author. He served as head coach in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Montreal Alouettes (1973–1977) and in the National Football League (NFL) for the Kansas City Chiefs (1978–1982) and the Buffalo Bills (1986–1997), coaching the Bills to four consecutive American Football Conference championships. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

The East Division is one of the two regional divisions of the Canadian Football League, their counterpart being the West Division. Although the CFL was not founded until 1958, the East Division and its clubs are descended from earlier leagues.

The 1961 Canadian Football League season is considered to be the eighth season in modern-day Canadian football, although it is officially the fourth Canadian Football League season.

The 2008 Canadian Football League season was the 55th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 51st season for the league. It was also the first CFL season in which all of the league's regular season and post-season games, including the Grey Cup game, were aired on TSN. This meant the CFL was no longer aired on broadcast television in Canada. As of 2008, TSN was available in approximately 8.8 million of Canada's 13 million households. Montreal hosted the 96th Grey Cup at Olympic Stadium on November 23, when the championship was won by the Calgary Stampeders.

Fútbol Americano

"Fútbol Americano" was the marketing name used for the first National Football League (NFL) regular season game held outside the United States. Played on October 2, 2005 at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, the Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31–14. The game drew an NFL regular season record of 103,467 paid fans.

Kahlil Rafiq Carter, is a gridiron football coach who recently served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Montreal Alouettes. Carter is also a former professional gridiron football player in the Arena Football League, NFL, NFL Europe, and the Canadian Football League. His last season of professional football was spent playing defensive back in the AFL for the Iowa Barnstormers in 2010. Carter has also spent time in the NFL with Buffalo and NFL Europe with the Scottish Claymores. Carter also was a star defensive back in the CFL with the Toronto Argonauts and the Montreal Alouettes.

The Canadian Football League (CFL), the sole major professional sports league in the United States and Canada to feature only teams from Canada, has made efforts to gain further audience in the United States, most directly through expansion into the country from 1993 to 1995. The CFL plays Canadian football, a form of gridiron football which is somewhat different from the more common American football played in the United States and the world.

The National Football League preseason is the period each year during which NFL teams play several not-for-the-record exhibition games before the actual "regular" season starts. Beginning with the featured Pro Football Hall of Fame game in early August, five weekends of exhibition games are played in the NFL as of 2019. The start of the preseason is intrinsically tied to the last week of training camp.

Jerry Wayne Crafts is a former American football offensive lineman in the National Football League for the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. He also played in the World League of American Football, XFL, Canadian Football League and Arena Football League. He is the only person to have been involved with teams that played in the championship games of each of the aforementioned Leagues. He played college football at the University of Oklahoma for Barry Switzer and the University of Louisville.

The National Football League (NFL) has been playing games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, since 1959 when an interleague game between an NFL team and the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL) took place at Exhibition Stadium. Subsequently, a number of neutral site preseason and regular season games between NFL teams have been staged in the city. Toronto is one of three cities outside the United States, along with London and Mexico City, which have hosted regular season NFL games.

The National Football League (NFL) was founded in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association (APFA) with ten teams from four states, all of whom existed in some form as participants of regional leagues in their respective territories; it took on its current name in 1922. The NFL was the first professional football league to successfully establish a nationwide presence, after several decades of failed attempts. Only two teams currently in the NFL, the Decatur Staleys and the Chicago Cardinals, are founding members. The Green Bay Acme Packers, founded in 1919 are the oldest NFL franchise within continuous operation in the same location.

In the United States and Canada, the term professional football includes the professional forms of American and Canadian gridiron football. In common usage, it refers to former and existing major football leagues in either country. Currently, there are multiple professional football leagues in North America: the three best known are the National Football League (NFL) and the Arena Football League (AFL) in the U.S. and the Canadian Football League (CFL) in Canada. The NFL has existed continuously since being so named in 1922.

Bills Toronto Series

The Bills Toronto Series was a series of National Football League (NFL) games featuring the Buffalo Bills played at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The original series began in the 2008 season and ran through 2012. The Bills were originally scheduled to play eight home games over five seasons as part of the agreement, which included one regular-season game each of the five years and one pre-season game on the first, third and (originally) fifth year of the series. This included the first regular-season NFL game played in Canada, which the Bills lost to the Miami Dolphins. The agreement was renewed for five additional years, with an annual regular season game and one preseason game, on January 29, 2013, but following the 2013 contest it was announced that the 2014 game had been postponed for a year. On December 3, 2014, it was announced that a deal had been reached to terminate the remainder of the contract, ending the Bills' experiment in Toronto.

The 2010 Canadian Football League season is the 57th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it is the 53rd season of the league. Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton hosted the 98th Grey Cup on November 28 when the Montreal Alouettes became the first team to repeat as Grey Cup Champions in 13 years, defeating the Saskatchewan Roughriders, 21–18. The league announced on its Twitter page on January 29, 2010 that the season would start on July 1, 2010. As of 2019 this is the most recent CFL regular season to start in July.

Professional football is one of the most popular sports in Canada. Unlike most countries, but paralleling its counterpart, the United States, the term "football" in Canada refers to the gridiron-based game developed in both countries over the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and not to association football.

The 2013 Canadian Football League season was the 60th season of modern Canadian professional football. Officially, it was the 56th season of the league.

Canada Day games in the Canadian Football League are an occasional part of the league's schedule and occur only when the league schedule begins on or before July 1. The games are not an annual occurrence, unlike the Labour Day or Thanksgiving Day games. As of the 2019 CFL season, there have been 22 games played on Canada Day.