NFL Europe League Chronology

April 18, 1989: Tex Schramm resigns from Dallas Cowboys in preparation to become President and Chief Executive Officer of the World League of American Football.

April 26, 1989: Joseph A. Bailey, III, the former Dallas Cowboys' Vice President, joins the proposed League in preparation to become Vice President/Chief Operating Officer.

August 14, 1989: Inaugural Board of Directors meetings held in Chicago. The charter board members include Dan Rooney of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Chairman), Tom Benson of the New Orleans Saints, Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs, Mike Lynn of the Minnesota Vikings, Victor Kiam of the New England Patriots, Norman Braman of the Philadelphia Eagles and Al Davis of the Los Angeles Raiders.

February 6, 1990: The World League announces a two-year agreement with ABC Sports to televise regular-season and post-season games, beginning in spring, 1991. ABC will televise exclusively 10 regular-season games on Sunday afternoons and playoff games.

March 10, 1990: The World League announces a four-year, prime-time cable television agreement with USA Network, beginning in the inaugural 1991 season.

March 15, 1990: Orlando, Fla., fast becoming one of the leading international cities in North America, is awarded the first franchise in the 12-team World League of American Football.

March 18, 1990: The World League announces the addition of its second charter franchise, Birmingham, Ala.

March 26, 1990: Montreal, Canada, long regarded as one of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, is awarded a World League franchise.

April 28, 1990: San Antonio, Texas, one of the top growth markets in the U.S., joins the World League as the fourth charter member.

May 19, 1990: Barcelona, Spain, a world-class city with an emerging reputation in international sports, is awarded Europe's first World League franchise, the fifth overall.

May 22, 1990: Jerry Vainisi, a well-respected and popular NFL executive with the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears for the past 19 years, is named Vice President of Football Management for the World League.

June 8, 1990: Sacramento, Calif., a burgeoning Top 20 television market and capital of the nation's most-populous state, becomes the sixth city to be officially awarded a World League team.

June 18, 1990: Frankfurt, Germany, an internationally-respected city and one of Western Europe's leaders in business, culture and sports, is awarded the seventh World League franchise.

August 3, 1990: London, England is officially awarded the eighth World League franchise. Wembley Stadium, one of the world's most revered sports stadiums, will be the franchise site of home games.

October 10, 1990: Mike Lynn of the Minnesota Vikings, the longest-tenured general manager in the NFL and a long-time proponent of international football, is named President/Chief Executive Officer of the World League by its Board of Directors. Lynn, whose Minnesota club was the first NFL team to play a game in Europe (in London in 1983), replaces Tex Schramm.

October 18, 1990: A nine-city North American player evaluation tour, beginning November 3 and ending December 2, is announced by the League. Players signed at these sessions will participate in the World League scouting combine and player allocation draft in February, 1991.

November 14, 1990: World League announces that it will kick off its inaugural season in 1991 with 10 charter franchises in a three divisional setup: Europe-Barcelona, Frankfurt and London; North America East-Montreal, New York, Orlando and Raleigh-Durham; and North America West-Birmingham, Sacramento and San Antonio. The League also announces that it has approved ownership commitments in eight of its 10 cities.

December 20, 1990: A 50-game regular season schedule that begins on March 23, 1991 and ends on May 27 is announced, with the first-ever World League game to be played in Frankfurt's Waldstadion, when the London Monarchs visit the Frankfurt Galaxy at 8 p.m. European time on March 23.

February 14, 1991: The New York/New Jersey Knights make the first selection of the World League draft and choose 6-3, 290-pound offensive tackle Caesar Rentie of Oklahoma.

February 24, 1991: League concludes its first annual draft and assigns 40 Operation Discovery players to its 10 teams.

March 23, 1991: The World League, the first major professional sports league to compete on a weekly, intercontinental basis, begins its inaugural season with weekend games in Frankfurt, Germany; Sacramento,California; Birmingham, Alabama; Barcelona, Spain; and Orlando, Florida.

June 9, 1991: A sellout crowd of 61,108 sees the London Monarchs defeat the Barcelona Dragons 21-0 at Wembley Stadium in London in World Bowl '91.

July 30, 1991: Mike Lynn resigns as President of the League to devote full time to his ownership duties with the Minnesota Vikings.

September 1, 1991: The NFL begins its 72nd season with 29 World League players on its active, practice or injured-reserved squads.

November 26, 1991: Columbus, Ohio is awarded the first expansion franchise in World League history.

February 20, 1992: League conducts its Player Allocation of NFL players, who will report to World League training camps on February 23.

March 21, 1992: World League opens its second season, with games in Barcelona, Sacramento, Orlando, San Antonio and London.

June 6, 1992: The Sacramento Surge defeats the Orlando Thunder 21-17 in World Bowl 1992 before a crowd of 43,789 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium.

July, 1992: As NFL training camps open, 219 of 360 World League players are signed to NFL contracts.

September 17, 1992: At a meeting in Dallas, NFL clubs approve a proposal by the World League Board of Directors to restructure the World League in a format that will include more European teams. Play is suspended for the 1993 season.

October 27, 1993: NFL clubs, meeting in Chicago, approve a plan to form a new six-team European league with joint-venture partners to begin play in 1995.

March 23, 1994: NFL and Fox announce a joint-partnership in new World League to begin play in 1995. The new league will have six teams in Europe, including the London Monarchs, Frankfurt Galaxy and Barcelona Dragons. The league will be governed by a board of directors with equal representation from the NFL and Fox.

July 27, 1994: At a press conference in London, NFL President Neil Austrian announces that the Amsterdam Admirals, Scottish Claymores, and Rhein Fire, located in Düsseldorf, Germany, will join the Barcelona Dragons, London Monarchs, and Frankfurt Galaxy in the new league. The World League's 10-week season will begin on April 8, 1995 and conclude with World Bowl '95 on June 17 or 18. Rosters will consist of 40 players including seven national players per team.

September 4, 1994: NFL Opening Day rosters reveal 43 players with World League experience.

September 12, 1994: Marc Lory, a native of France with more than 20 years of international marketing experience, is named President and CEO of the league.

January 17, 1995: Forty-two European players from eight countries across Europe are selected by World League teams.

February 20, 1995: Shaumbe Wright-Fair, running back out of Washington State, is the first player chosen in the 1995 draft. He was selected by the Rhein Fire.

February 20, 1995: NFL teams allocate 37 players to World League teams. The New Orleans Saints send an NFL-high seven players to the World League.

March 1, 1995: World League of American Football opens training camp in Atlanta, Georgia.

April 8, 1995: 1995 World League season kicks off with Frankfurt Galaxy beating the London Monarchs 45-22 in front of 28,021 at the Waldstadion. League newcomers Amsterdam Admirals beat Barcelona Dragons 17-13 in their debut game.

May 7, 1995: The World League creates history as London Monarchs kicker Don Silvestri kicks football's first four-point field goal, awarded for successful attempts from 50 yards or more.

June 17, 1995: Paul Justin throws for 308 yards and 3 touchdowns as Frankfurt beats Amsterdam to win the World Bowl 26-22 in front of 23,847 at Amsterdam's Olympic Stadium. The game is broadcast to 52 countries.

July 13, 1995: Oliver Luck, former NFL quarterback and general manager of Frankfurt Galaxy and the Rhein Fire is appointed President of the World League.

September 3-4 1995: Seventy-two players on NFL Opening Day rosters boast World League experience.

November, 1995: Manfred Burgsmuller, one of the most famous names in German soccer history, is signed to kick for the Rhein Fire.

December 14, 1995: San Diego Chargers punter Darren Bennett, an all-league selection for the Amsterdam Admirals in 1995, becomes the first World League player selected to the NFL Pro Bowl.

February 19, 1996: NFL teams allocate 72 players to World League teams.

February 20, 1996: Ty Parten, a defensive end out of the University of Arizona, is the first player overall chosen in the 1996 draft by the Rhein Fire.

February 22, 1996: Gavin Hastings, recently retired captain of the Scottish Rugby Union, is signed to kick for the Scottish Claymores.

February 26, 1996: London Monarchs announce the signing of William 'The Refrigerator' Perry for the 1996 season.

February 26, 1996: Three Japanese players -- Takuro Abe, Takahiro Ikenoue, and Shigemasa Ito -- are selected to play in the World League following tryouts in Tokyo. The trio are the first Japanese players to play professional football.

June 16, 1996: Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge ground becomes the third stadium to act as home venue for the London Monarchs when it stages the season finale against the Rhein Fire.

June 23, 1996: The Scottish Claymores beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 32-27 in front of crowd of 38,982 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh, in World Bowl '96. The Claymores complete their worst-to-first season before the biggest World League crowd in the United Kingdom since World Bowl '91. The game reaches an estimated 200 million television viewers in 126 countries, including an audience watching live in the United States on the Fox network.

July 27, 1996: The World League's trio of Japanese players, Shigemasa Ito, Takahiro Ikenoue and Takuro Abe, create history by becoming the first players from their country to participate in an NFL game when they play in the American Bowl in Tokyo between the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Diego Chargers.

September 1, 1996: A record number of World League players are on NFL rosters as the 1996 season kicks off. In all, 116 World Leaguers appear on NFL rosters during the course of the season.

September 4, 1996: Ray Willsey, who won three World Bowl rings as defensive coordinator with three different clubs, is named as the league's New York-based Director of Player Personnel.

January 26, 1997: New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri, formerly of the Amsterdam Admirals, becomes the first World League player to score in the Super Bowl.

February 18, 1997: WL announces that a record 112 current NFL roster players from 28 teams have been allocated for the 1997 season.

April 12, 1997: The World League's fifth season kicks off.

June 22, 1997: Jon Kitna passes for a World Bowl record 401 yards as the Barcelona Dragons beat the Rhein Fire 38-24 in front of 31,000 fans in the Estadi Olimpic.

October 7, 1997: London Monarchs announce they are to play two home games outside London in 1998 and will be renamed the England Monarchs. Team will play three home games at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, plus games in Bristol and Birmingham.

January 22, 1998: NFL announces that the World League will now be known as NFL Europe, strengthening the link between the NFL and the game in Europe.

April 4, 1998: New NFL Europe season kicks off with the 200th game in league history - Rhein vs Amsterdam.

June 13, 1998: NFLEL announces that Berlin, Germany's capital city, has been awarded a team to begin play in 1999.

June 14,1998: Jim Arellanes passes for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns to earn MVP honors as Rhein beats Frankfurt 34-10 in the Waldstadion to win its first World Bowl. The crowd of 47,846 is the NFLEL's biggest since returning in 1995.

June 24, 1998: The NFLEL suspends operations of the England Monarchs and announces that the league will remain with six teams in 1999.

July 1, 1998: Bill Peterson becomes NFL Europe's Managing Director for the UK, Spain and Netherlands after three years as general of the Amsterdam Admirals.

November 5, 1998: Berlin selects defensive end Vladi Ilic as the first pick in the NFLEL's inaugural German national player draft.

November 16, 1998: NFLEL announces that its newest team will be called the Berlin Thunder.

December 17, 1998: NFLEL announces that 1999 training camp will be held in Orlando, Florida.

January 31, 1999: Denver Broncos win Super Bowl XXXIII in Miami, Florida, with seven NFLEL veterans on their roster.

February 22, 1999: NFL teams allocate a record 152 players to play in Europe in the upcoming season. Of the 31 NFL teams, 29 allocate players.

April 17, 1999: NFLEL kicks off its seventh regular season.

May 22, 1999: Scottish Claymores quarterback Dameyune Craig sets a pro football record by passing for 611 yards in his team's 42-35 victory at Frankfurt.

June 20, 1999: Barcelona Dragons running back Lawrence Phillips finishes season with league-record 1,021 rushing yards.

June 27, 1999: Andy McCullough takes MVP honors with three touchdown catches as Frankfurt beats Barcelona 38-24 in World Bowl '99 in the Rheinstadion, becoming the first franchise to win a second championship.

November 8, 1999: Bill Peterson, a nine-year veteran of American football in Europe and former GM of the Amsterdam Admirals, is named as President of NFL Europe. He succeeds Oliver Luck, who is to return to the US after four years as president.

November 14, 1999: Amsterdam Admirals announce they will change their shirt colors to orange, the traditional color of Dutch national sports teams, from the start of the 2000 season.

January 5, 2000: Ex-Amsterdam Admirals Kurt Warner is named MVP of the NFL season after leading the St Louis Rams to a 13-3 record with 4,353 yards and 41 touchdown passes. He is one of 180 NFL Europe League veterans to have appeared on NFL rosters during the season, including 11 quarterbacks who started games.

February 18, 2000: One day after 109 NFL players are assigned to NFLEL teams for 2000, another 32 players are chosen in the league first NFL Allocated Player Draft.

February 25, 2000: The NFL allocation program concludes with assignment of kickers and punters, bringing the total number of allocated players to a record 153.

April 15, 2000: NFL Europe League's eighth season kicks off.

June 18, 2000: Former University of Florida quarterback Danny Wuerffel finishes season with single-season record 25 touchdown passes for Rhein Fire.

June 25, 2000: Pepe Pearson scores on a 1-yard run with 1:12 remaining as the Fire beat the Claymores 13-10 to win World Bowl 2000 in Frankfurt. League Offensive MVP Aaron Stecker is named MVP after rushing for 92 yards and catching 4 passes for the Claymores.

September 27, 2000: NFLEL announces training camp is moving to the Tampa Bay area, Florida.

November 1, 2000: John Beake, former general manager of the Denver Broncos, is named NFLEL Managing Director of Football Operations and NFL Vice-President of Players Development. He will handle the football responsibilities previously handled by Bill Peterson, who has returned to work in the United States.

November 9, 2000: NFLEL announces that 2001 season will kick off on April 21 and that NFL teams have agreed to allocate at least six players each for the new season.

December 25, 2000: Final day of an NFL season which has seen a record 187 former NFLEL players on NFL rosters and four ex-NFLEL players selected for the Pro Bowl.

March 5, 2001: Training camp opens in Tampa Bay with the league's first-ever mini-camp for national players. A record 229 NFL-allocated players report to camp in 2001.

April 21, 2001: NFL Europe League kicks off its ninth season.

June 17, 2001: A crowd of 51,719, the biggest since the NFLEL relaunched in 1995, watches the Rhein Fire beat the Frankfurt Galaxy in Düsseldorf's Rheinstadion.

June 30, 2001: Jonathan Quinn throws three touchdown passes, including a game-winning 53-yarder to Duane Jones in the fourth quarter, as the Berlin Thunder beats the Barcelona Dragons 24-17 in World Bowl IX in front of 32,116 fans in the Amsterdam ArenA.

January 31, 2002: NFL announces that the Barcelona Dragons will change their name to the F.C. Barcelona Dragons as part of a historic partnership with one of the biggest soccer clubs in Europe. The Dragons will play at F.C. Barcelona's Mini Estadi.

February 3, 2002: Ex-Amsterdam kicker Adam Vinatieri lands a 48-yard field goal as time expires to give the New England Patriots a 20-17 victory against the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. It caps an NFL season that has seen 217 former NFLEL players on NFL rosters, including 10 quarterbacks who started games during the NFL season. Former Admirals quarterback Kurt Warner won his second MVP award and was one of four NFLEL veterans selected for the Pro Bowl.

February 12, 2002: NFLEL announces that NFL teams are allocating a record 257 players for the 2002 season.

April 13, 2002: NFLEL kicks off its tenth season.

June 8, 2002: NFLEL record crowd of 58,527 sees the Frankfurt Galaxy play host to Rhein Fire in the Waldstadion.

June 22, 2002: Berlin Thunder becomes first NFLEL team to win back-to-back World Bowls, beating Rhein Fire 26-20 in the Rheinstadion, Düsseldorf, the final event before the stadium is rebuilt.

October 15, 2002: Rhein Fire announces it will play home games in the 62,000-capacity ArenaAufschalke in Gelsenkirchen for at least two years.

November 27, 2002: Berlin Thunder announces that team will play home games in Olympic Stadium in 2003.

January 26, 2003: A record 18 former NFLEL players are on the Super Bowl rosters of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, including game-winning quarterback Brad Johnson of the Buccaneers, a former London Monarch. It caps a season in which a record 257 ex-NFLEL players have appeared on NFL rosters and a record eight have been selected for Pro Bowl.

April 5, 2003: NFLEL kicks off its eleventh season.

June 14, 2003: Frankfurt Galaxy beats Rhein Fire 35-16 to win World Bowl XI at Glasgow's Hampden Park, becoming the first franchise to win three World Bowls.

October 28, 2003: NFLEL announces that it has suspended operations of the Barcelona Dragons due to falling attendances.

November 3, 2003: The German city of Cologne is named as the site of a new NFLEL franchise. Former Berlin Thunder head coach Peter Vaas is names as the team's head coach.

December 19, 2003: The NFLEL's newest team is officially named as the Cologne Centurions.

February 1, 2004: Ex-Admiral Adam Vinatieri kicks a 41-yard field goal with four seconds remaining as the New England Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston. Former Amsterdam and Frankfurt quarterback Jake Delhomme starts for the Panthers, becoming the fourth NFLEL quarterback in five years to start in Super Bowl. The game caps a season in which 232 ex-NFLEL players appear on NFL rosters.

April 3: NFLEL's twelfth season kicks off.

NFL News
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