|Number of teams||28|
|Country||United States (USA)|
|Most Recent Champion||Detroit Gladiators (5th title)|
|Most titles won by team||Pittsburgh Miners (9)|
|TV network partners|
|Main Founding Investors||Paul King, Hal Granger, and Buzz Black|
|First game played|| New York Imperials vs. Cleveland Ghosts|
September 21, 1946
Metropolitan Stadium. Manhattan, New York
Imperials won, 21-7
|Related leagues||Scandinavian Football League|
Northern Football Association
The American Football Association is the highest level of professional American football in the United States.
Professional football started in the upper Midwest in 1898 with the four-team Great Lakes Football League. The GLFL gained enough popularity that it sparked the creation of a number of other regional leagues in the first decade of the 1900s. These included the Midwest Football League (MFL), the Atlantic League (AL), the Texas League (TL), the Dixie Football League (DFL), and the Pacific League (PL).
By the late 1920s, professional football was beginning to gain a great deal of popularity, but the Great Depression of the 1930s devastated the leagues. The Texas League and the Pacific Football Association collapsed, and more than half of the teams in the Dixie Football League folded by 1940. Only the AL and the MFL survived, and both were reduced to eight teams each (down from 12 and 14, respectively). When the United States entered World War II at the end of the 1941 season, each of the remaining professional leagues voted to suspend play and encourage their players to join the war effort.
Given that the popularity of the sport been meager for the previous two decades, many questioned whether or not any of the leagues would survive the hiatus. This magnitude of this concern increased immensely in 1943, when Navy Captain Eugene MacMillan, the owner of the AL's successful Albany Indians franchise, was killed in action. His family indicated that they had no interest in maintaining ownership of the franchise, and that they would liquidate it when the war ended.
Following this news, several of the less successful teams in each surviving league announced that they would fold. This reduced the MFL to 6 teams and the AL to 5. However, Paul King, the owner of the AL's Richmond Royals, developed a plan to save professional football. First, working closely with Hal Granger, owner of the Chicago Butchers, he created a contract that would merge the MFL and AL into a single league: the American Football Assosciation. Second, he arranged for his friend, Warren Burns, to purchase the Albany franchise and relocate it to Boston.
The final challenge was the unexpected collapse of the Washington Blazers only three months before the start of the AFA's first season. However, King, who had been elected AFA President, granted an expansion franchise to Baltimore businessman Buzz Black, and transferred the contracts of all of Washington's players to the new team. With this success, the AFA entered the 1946 season stronger than either the MFL or AFA had been in 1941.
|North||Chicago Butchers||Chicago, Illinois||Dever Stadium||?||1946|
|Cincinnati Guardians||Cincinnati, Ohio||Blakemore Stadium||?||1946|
|Cleveland Ghosts||Cleveland, Ohio||Goodyear Stadium||?||1946|
|Detroit Gladiators||Sterling Heights, Michigan||Autodome||1898||1946|
|Northeast||Boston Captains||Boston, Massachusetts||Kenmore Stadium||?||1946|
|Buffalo Stampeders||Buffalo, New York||Buffalo Stadium||1960||1961|
|New York Imperials||The Bronx, New York||Imperial Coliseum||1918||1946|
|Philadelphia Railers||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Knight Stadium||?||1946*|
|Pittsburgh Miners||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||The Coal Fields||?||1946**|
|Southeast||Atlanta Rebels||Atlanta, Georgia||Austin Stadium||1966||1968|
|Baltimore Royals||Baltimore, Maryland||Calvert Stadium||?||1946***|
|Miami Suns||Miami, Florida||Orange Bowl||1966||1967|
|Washington Wasps||Washington, District of Columbia||Capital Stadium||1954^|
|South||Arizona Firebirds||Phoenix, Arizona||Sundome||1974^^|
|Houston Hurricanes||Houston, Texas||Houston Stadium||?||1952|
|New Orleans Krewe||New Orleans, Louisiana||Huey P. Long Dome||?||1952|
|Texas Stallions||Dallas, Texas||Cotton Bowl||1966||1967|
|Central||Colorado Centennials||Denver, Colorado||Rocky Mountain Stadium||1960|
|Milwaukee Wolves||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Milwaukee Municipal Stadium||1960|
|Minnesota Angels||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Twin Cities Stadium||?||1946****|
|St. Louis Aces||St. Louis, Missouri||New River Stadium||?||1946*****|
|West||California Whales||Stanford, California||Stanford Stadium||1936|| 1952|
|Los Angeles Comets||Los Angeles, California||Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum||1927||1952|
|Portland Dragons||Portland, Oregon||Oregon Dome||1966||1968|
|San Diego Destroyers||San Diego, California||Unnamed (TBA)||1975||1976|
|Seattle Grizzlies||Seattle, Washington||Emerald Dome||1960||1961|
- *Played as the Pittsburgh Railers from 1946-1948
- **Played as the Wheeling Miners from 1946-1948
- ***Played as the Richmond Royals from 1946-1967
- ****Played as the Providence Angels from 1946-1951
- *****Played as the Philadelphia Continentals from 1946-1947
- ^Expansion team which absorbed the Baltimore Legion's roster
- ^^Expansion team which absorbed the San Francisco Whales' roster and staff
- ^^^Suspended operations in 1974, roster & staff absorbed by Arizona. Will resume in 1976 with new staff & roster.