International Football Leagues – Training Ground for NFL?

The world is only as big or as small as one’s imagination makes it.

While America’s National Football League (NFL) would certainly be considered the premiere American football league in the world, it would be wrong to assume it’s the only place were quality football players can go to ply their trade. Over the last decade, organized professional football league have been popping up all over the world.

For starters, the Canadian Football League has been existence for over 58 years now. While assumed to be drawing nothing but second-tiered players, there have been a few players that made the jump from the CFL to the NFL with great success. Anyone heard of Joe Theismann, Warren Moon, Doug Flutie, Ricky Williams or Cameron Wake? With a couple of Hall of Fame NFL players in that mix, it’s not hard to imagine the quality of football being played in Canada is better than expected.

In 1986, the NFL made a move to organize the European Football League (EFL) with an agreement to allocate contract players from NFL rosters to help bolster the league. The concept was designed to give NFL teams a “minor league” operation. While the league continues operate with six teams, the connection with the NFL have been tenuous at best. Still, it’s a great opportunity for prospective NFL players to showcase their skills in hopes of landing a tryout in NFL.

In the last 10 years, professional football has seen a number of players make it all the way to the NFL from other parts of the world. Conversely, American football players have yet to really seize on the opportunity to play in regions like Asia, Europe and Central America. The time is coming when NFL team owners would be well served to start looking at international football as a viable option for player development.

At present, there are a few NFL roster players who travel abroad and test the waters for an opportunity to gain experience and get paid to play football. What needs to be considered is the opportunity that exists to use international football as a training ground for NFL prospects on the cusp being ready for the NFL. This should include players being designated by NFL ownership to obtain the playing experience they need under real game conditions. There are more than a few practice squad and non-roster players in the NFL that could benefit by the playing time they could get in real games.

The notion this idea could improve the quality of football and football players in the NFL is supported by what has transpired in the NBA or MLB. With better players traveling abroad, there is every reason to believe a higher level of play will draw more fans, which creates more revenue to pay better players better contracts. It becomes a perpetual process.

It would only be a matter of time before TV contracts would be signed and sports books online and throughout the world would start posting lines on games. For patrons of this site, the action would be year round. For more wagering information, be sure to view the guide at when you register a new account.

American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!