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Ranking the Top 10 Best Professional Football Leagues

XFL is the new addition in football leagues, but it has managed to get the attention of the sports community worldwide. It has no direct competition with NFL as it is playing in the offseason. So it’s nothing but a significant risk to introduce a new football league in this era.

If we talk about some of the leagues, such as  Arena Football League, they introduced new rules to grab more viewers. The world League of American Football  (later renamed NFL Europe) followed the World League of American Footballclassice NFL for 16 years. However, it helped to add more talent to the game but still failed to increase fans. Few leagues are successful, but most of them failed to deliver on many stages; that’s why we have brought this exciting topic about the best football leagues to compete with NFL.

Top 10 Best Professional Football Leagues

We have ranked football leagues in the list given below.

10. Alliance of American Football (AAF)

Alliance of American Football (AAF)


 First Season: 2019

Last Season: 2019

Number 10 on our list is AAF which is relatively new but still growing rapidly. Coach of this Orlando Apollos is Steve Spurrier, the averages nearly 30 points and led the AAF with a 7-1 record before the league wrapped with two games left in the season.


9.  First American Football League (AFL I)

First American Football League (AFL I)


First Season: 1926

Last Season: 1926

First American Football League came into existence six years after the NFL. C.C. Pyle started a new league with his patron, Red Grange, to compete with NFL. It was a massive success, and it grabbed massive fans from NFL who started to watch First American Football League. The Independents and the AFL I collapsed after one season, and Grange’s New York Yankees were bought by the NFL.


8. United Football League (UFL)

United Football League (UFL)


First Season: 2009

Last Season: 2012

The UFL only started with five teams in its three and a half seasons (the league closed halfway through the 2012 campaign). What makes it different it gave legendary NFL and Virginia Destroyers head coach Marty Schottenheimer his only championship in 2011, honoring him in the best way.


7. Third American Football League (AFL III)


Third American Football League (AFL III)


First Season: 1940

Last Season: 1941

The league started in the era of world word and was shaken when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and dragged professional football players into World War II. So it was the end of the Third American Football League (AFL III) before it even started.


6. First XFL

First XFL


First Season: 2001

Last Season: 2001

We are familiar with WWE, the best wrestling entertainment business owned by McMahon. The same owner Vince McMahon launched the overhyped XFL in 2001. The first game managed to gain a bit of success as The 14 million viewers who tuned in were supporting Stone Cold with mediocre football, and Nielsen ratings dived. After a while, NBC withdrew its broadcast contract, and the XFL died after a season due to lack of interest.


5. World Football League (WFL)

World Football League (WFL)


First Season: 1974

Last Season: 1975

It is another decent name on this list is a 13-team league that played 20 games from July to December in the first season. The football community worldwide was amazed at its success, and r got off to a strong start by signing three future Pro Football Hall of Famers in Larry Csonka, Paul Warfield, and Curley Culp. However, it became vulnerable and failed to pay them, and wrapped 12 games into It’s the second season.


4. Second American Football League (AFL II)

Second American Football League (AFL II)


First Season: 1936

Last Season: 1937

This, the league is popular for the unusual events in sports history that make it unique. For example, its Cleveland Rams joined the NFL after the 1936 season, and the franchise still exists and plays the game today. And the Los Angeles Bulldogs became the first licensed team that won the league title with a comprehensive record in the AFL II’s second and last season. 


3. The United States Football League (USFL)


The United States Football League (USFL)


First Season: 1983

Last Season: 1985

The league arrives with an 18-game schedule from February to June, and it became a game-changer when signed up talents such as Herschel Walker, Reggie White, Jim Kelly, and Steve Young. This game delivered two remarkable seasons, then decided to its 1986 schedule to the fall to compete with the NFL. The fledgling league made a wrong decision as it didn’t have many resources and sued the NFL for $1.7 billion for having a copyright on television broadcasting. The trial went for 42 days, and a six-person jury ruled that the NFL had the legal rights but that the USFL also was greatly mismanaged. The jury rewarded the league a grand total of $3.00 for its troubles; that was a setback. Its 1986 season proved to be the last one, and the league died forever.

2. All-America Football Conference (AAFC)

All-America Football Conference (AAFC)


First Season: 1946

Last Season: 1949

The AAFC and its Cleveland Browns are the reason for the true revolution in pro football history. Led by head coach Paul Brown, his efforts included year-round coaching staff and tearing down game film with his team. They tried hard to promote pro football and introduced air travel for away games, which was remarkable. After its 1949th season, this league was absorbed by the NFL, giving the Browns and the San Francisco 49ers a new house. The Browns defeated the Los Angeles Rams by 10-2 in 1950 and won their fifth straight title. All these things show how competitive this league was and brought innovation in the field of pro football.


 1.      Fourth American Football League (AFL)

  Fourth American Football League (AFL)


First Season: 1960

Last Season: 1969

This is first on our list for a reason, Texas oilman Lamar Hunt made the biggest gamble of his life and decided to going big or going home. It was the fourth repetition of the AFL, and they opened money bags to the best talent and took the air to offer an alternative to major NFL. The turning point came when league commissioner Al Davis began proceeding with the NFL’s top quarterbacks in 1966 and employed some of them. It brought NFL to the negotiating table. However, again it was absorbed by NFL and became the undisputed popular league in American sports.



We have compiled a list of the best football leagues that gave tough competition to the NFL in the past. You can send us your suggestions and feedback the next time. Goodbye!


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