Intercontinental Football League
The Intercontinental Football League (IFL) was a proposed semi-professional American football league in Europe in the early 1970s.
By the early 1970s, the National Football League (NFL) was already looking to promote its product abroad. The league had sent players to tour American military bases and hospitals during the Vietnam war. On May 27, 1972, forty-two NFL players (including Dan Pastorini, Bob Hayes, Jim Kiick, Jan Stenerud, Alan Page, Matt Snell and Merlin Olsen) had demonstrated “le rugby Americain” before 8,000 in Paris. NFL Bleu beat NFL Rouge that day, 16-6, in a game that closely followed a script. Two years later, interest in overseas play was revived.
At the 1974 press conference at NFL headquarters in New York, the teams of the IFL were announced. The IFL was to be divided into two divisions of three teams each. The likely organization would have been for the teams from German speaking nations (Munich, West Berlin and Vienna) to be in one group, and the southern teams (Barcelona, Rome and Istanbul) in another.
The IFL did not materialize. There are four reasons usually stated:
- Europe was not ready for American football.
- Competition with the World Football League, which had planned to expand internationally to such cities as Tokyo and Mexico City.
- The NFL players’ strike that summer.
- The economic recession in the U.S. at that time.
For the 1975 season
- Munich Lions (Germany)
- Vienna Lipizzaners (Austria)
- Berlin Bears (Germany)
- Rome Gladiators (Italy)
- Barcelona Almogovares (Spain)
- Istanbul Conquerors (Turkey)
New teams for the 1976 season
- Paris Lafayettes (France)
- Copenhagen Vikings (Denmark)
- Rotterdam Flying Dutchmen (Netherlands)
- Milan Centurions (Italy)