American Bowl

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For the championship game of the American Indoor Football League formerly known as the "American Bowl", see AIFA Championship Bowl.

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.

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. Since 1990, games have also been played in Montreal and Berlin to promote the new WLAF (later NFL Europe) which started in 1991.

Game history[edit]

Previous games outside the U.S.[edit]

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).

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]

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" [1]. The game in London was called the Global Cup.

American Bowl games (1986–2005)[edit]

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.

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.

The 1997 game was played in Dublin, Ireland. These games usually played at times of local convenience; in the case of games in Japan, it was common for games to start at 5:00 AM local time.

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 2000–05 all American Bowl games were played in either Mexico or Japan.

Two 1988 matches in Montreal and Gothenburg, Sweden, and a 1993 match 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[edit]

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 regular season games in Toronto, Ontario; the Miami Dolphins beat the Bills 16-3 in the first such game, on December 7, 2008.

List of games[edit]

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

Standings[edit]

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

Rank Team GP W L T PCT PTS FOR PTS AG
1 Miami Dolphins 4 4 0 0 1.000 115 84
2 San Francisco 49ers 8 4 4 0 0.500 134 162
3 Los Angeles Rams 3 3 0 0 1.000 63 43
4 Denver Broncos 7 3 4 0 0.429 149 156
5 Green Bay Packers 2 2 0 0 1.000 62 27
6 Atlanta Falcons 2 2 0 0 1.000 47 30
7 New Orleans Saints 2 2 0 0 1.000 45 26
8 Houston Oilers 2 2 0 0 1.000 40 23
9 Minnesota Vikings 2 2 0 0 1.000 37 15
10 Buffalo Bills 4 2 2 0 0.500 35 75
11 Pittsburgh Steelers 5 2 3 0 0.400 107 96
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 1 0 0 1.000 30 14
13 New York Giants 1 1 0 0 1.000 28 20
14 Washington Redskins 2 1 1 0 0.500 53 24
15 Indianapolis Colts 2 1 1 0 0.500 45 50
16 New England Patriots 2 1 1 0 0.500 35 33
17 San Diego Chargers 3 1 2 0 0.333 57 58
18 Philadelphia Eagles 3 1 2 0 0.333 46 58
19 Chicago Bears 3 1 2 0 0.333 41 57
20 Kansas City Chiefs 4 1 3 0 0.250 68 69
21 Oakland/L.A. Raiders 4 1 3 0 0.250 58 79
22 Dallas Cowboys 9 1 7 1 0.111 88 158
23 Seattle Seahawks 2 0 2 0 0.000 28 34
24 New York Jets 1 0 1 0 0.000 14 30
25 Detroit Lions 1 0 0 1 0.000 13 13

See also[edit]

References[edit]