Professional Football Leagues outside of the NFL

We have all heard of the ridiculously small percentage of high school football players making it to the college ranks. We even hear the even smaller percentage of players making it to the NFL. What if I told you there are other professional football leagues outside of the NFL? Professional leagues where you can keep honing your skills and make some money doing so. With football being the most popular sport in America, there is always room to grow. For decades people have been saying the NFL needs a minor league of sorts. Well, there are opportunities out there, if you want it. It’s not for everyone but players need to know they are there. Let’s take a look at professional football leagues outside of the NFL.


The USFL which stands for United States Football League is coming back for its second season in 2023. The concept of the USFL was a thing in the 1980s and was just recently brought back. The league features eight teams that represent the cities/states of Birmingham, Houston, Memphis, Michigan, New Jersey, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia. I say the word represent because every team played their games in Birmingham, Alabama. In 2022 every team was sort of located in Birmingham. The salary for the average USFL player is 45k-75k. The USFL will be competing with the league written below.


The eXtreme Football League, or eXtra Fun League as Vince McMahon would call it is relaunching in 2023. The XFL is owned by The Rock and also has eight teams. The cities represented in the league are Arlington, Washington DC, Houston, Orlando, San Antonio, Seattle, St. Louis, and Las Vegas. The XFL will be competing with the USFL for the premier spring football league. The base XFL salary for a player is $50,000 with benefits and plenty of add-ons. It will be interesting to see what The Rock does to make this the premier league. One has to think he wouldn’t have purchased the league unless he had a guaranteed plan to make it a success.

Indoor Football League

The IFL is the largest and longest running indoor football league. They have started to take over where the Arena Football League left off. The IFL actually has a partnership with the XFL and could be considered their minor league. The league has fourteen teams in total. The average salary for an IFL player is $250-$500 per game played.

Canadian Football League

The Canadian Football League (CFL) should be the most well known league on the list. Because it’s a league that’s supposed to promote Canadian players, no more than 20 Americans will be allowed on the team. The average salary is around $60,000-$100,000. You may remember legends like Doug Flutie played in this league.

National Arena League

The NAL has remnants of the original arena league with teams like Jacksonville and Orlando. The league begin in 2017, and continues strong. Players are paid $200 per week and the winning players receive a $50 bonus.

European League of Football

This is probably my favorite league out of all of them. This gives some collegiate players a chance to play after college and experience European culture. The pay varies here, and teams are located all over Europe. If you check out euro players, you can even see different opportunities year around. Most packages include your flight back home as well once the season is finished.

Fan Controlled League

If you want to get whacky this league is it. It’s broadcasted over Twitch and has had players such as Terrell Owens and Johnny Manziel play in it. The best way to understand how it works is just to visit their website. Players are paid a minimum of $400 weekly including room and board.

Other Leagues

  • XLeague (Japan)
  • Champions Indoor Football

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