Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional

The Professional American Football League (Spanish: Liga de Fútbol Americano Profesional or LFA) is a professional American football spring league in Mexico, founded in 2016. Starting with four teams, the LFA has since expanded to eight members as of 2019. The championship game is called Tazón México (Mexico Bowl), and it is currently played on the second Sunday in May. The players are drafted from the country's two college football conferences: ONEFA and CONADEIP.

Professional American Football League
Current season, competition or edition:
2021 LFA season
SportAmerican football
FoundedJanuary 12, 2016 (2016-01-12)
DirectorAlejandro Jaimes
No. of teams10
HeadquartersMexico City, Mexico
Most recent
(1st title)
Most titlesMayas (2 titles)
TV partner(s)Claro
RCG Televisión
Nuestra Visión


American football has been played in Mexico since the 1920s and is the fourth most popular sport in the country. The LFA was the brainchild of Juan Carlos Vázquez, a former Fox Sports commentator. Vázquez was a huge fan of the previous American football league in Mexico called Liga Master, and he had always dreamed of creating his own league. In 2015, Vázquez (along with Edgar Zapata) managed to put together a group of investors who decided to offer football while the NFL, NCAA, ONEFA, and CONADEIP are in the offseason and founded the LFA, which would start two weeks after Super Bowl 50. The LFA would be the first American football league in Mexico in 20 years.[3]

Four charter members participated in the inaugural 2016 season: the Eagles, the Raptors, the Mayas, and the Condors. All teams were based in Mexico City. The first game was played February 21, 2016, between the Raptors and the Mayas, with the Mayas winning the game 34–6. The first title game, the Tazón México (Mexico Bowl), was held on April 10, 2016 between the Mayas and the Raptors. The Mayas won Tazón México I, 29–13. All games were played at the Palillo Martínez Stadium of Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City. The LFA experienced significant financial problems during 2016, with a season average attendance of only 2,000 per game.

Despite the financial difficulties of 2016, the LFA expanded to six teams in 2017, with the addition of Dinos Saltillo and Fundidores Monterrey (Spanish for smelters or founders), who took players from the college programs in the ONEFA and CONADEIP. Due to the difficulty of travel, the Dinos nearly canceled going to Tazón México II.[4] In the end, the game was played on April 30, 2017 at Jesús Martínez "Palillo" between the Mayas and the Dinos. The Mayas maintained dominance over the league and won the Tazón México for the second time, 24–18.

On October 28, 2017, Juan Carlos Vázquez left the presidency of the LFA. The title of President was eliminated and the position of the Commissioner was created, which was occupied by Guillermo Ruiz Burguete[5] On January 16, the newly appointed LFA commissioner, Guillermo Ruiz Burguete, resigned. The league did not announce his replacement. For operational purposes, the activities of the commissioner were absorbed by the president of the board of directors of the league, Óscar Pérez.[6]

During the 2018 season, the Eagles were renamed the Mexicas. In March, the Mexicas generated controversy by refusing to play against the Dinos in Week 3, after a serious knee injury to wide receiver Mubalama Massimango that occurred in Week 1. The Mexicas claim the injury was not properly attended to by the LFA. Although the league recognized that there was an administrative problem with the medical expenses insurance policy, the Mexicas were punished for their actions. The LFA ruled the Dinos game as a forfeit by the Mexicas, and the Mexicas team was fined Mex$657,820.00 (approximately US$32,000) for damages caused to the league, its TV partners, its press partners, the Dinos team, and the fans. Additional, the Mexicas would have to change their franchisee for the 2019 season.[7][8]

On April 22, 2018, the Tazón México was held on a neutral site for the first time, at Estadio Azul. Originally a half-time show was planned, but the band canceled due to recommendation of Civil Protection force. Tazón México III featured the Mexicas and the Raptors, with the Mexicas winning their first title by a shutout of 17–0.

In November 2018, the LFA signed a non-binding Letter of Intent with the Canadian Football League to share resources and to allow for at least one CFL game to be played in Mexico.[9] CFL commissioner Randy Ambroise said of the deal later that he hopes it'll raise the level of competition in the LFA and give Canadian football players another competition to compete in if they get dropped from the CFL. "For so many, if they finish their junior career or college career and they’re not on a CFL roster then there’s kind of nowhere to go and their dream ends, I think that’s a tragedy. This is really about growing the game of football." The CFL later held a draft in January 2019.[10]

The LFA considered expanding to 10 teams for the 2019 season, with Guadalajara, Puebla, Querétaro and even Tamaulipas among the four possible expansion candidates.[11] However, the league only added two additional franchises: the Osos Toluca (Bears) and the Artilleros Puebla (Artillerymen). A new commissioner was announced, Alejandro Jaimes Trujillo.[12] In January 2019, the CFL held a draft for interested LFA players, with 27 of the 51 players selected.

On September 4, 2019, the LFA announced plans for expansion for the 2020 season. The newest addition, the Pioneros Querétaro, were not a LFA expansion team in the truest sense. They are an existing team that joined from another league, the Mexican Football League (FAM), where they were crowned champions in their first season. The Pioneros will play their games at the La Pirámide Stadium, which is located in the El Pueblito Sports Unit, in the municipality of Corregidora.[13] But with only one new expansion team, the league had an unbalanced number of teams, presenting difficulty for scheduling. The LFA decided it would only field 8 teams for the 2020 season, with the Mayas going on hiatus for a year.[14] There is talk of a possible change of headquarters in the south of the republic, or its permanence in Mexico City. On March 16, the LFA announced the suspension of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On February 16, 2021 the LFA announced that Marco Montes would be the new owner of the Mayas and that the franchise would be relocated to Puebla City.[15]

In 2021, the LFA and the Pioneros Querétaro parted ways.[16][17]


Team City Stadium Capacity First season Head coach
Condors Querétaro City, Querétaro Estadio Corregidora 34,130 2016 Félix Buendía
Dinos Saltillo, Coahuila Estadio Olímpico Francisco I. Madero 8,000 2017 Javier Adame
Fundidores Monterrey, Nuevo León Estadio Banorte 10,057 2017 Carlos Strevel
Galgos Tijuana, Baja California Estadio Caliente 27,333 2022 Guillermo Ruíz
Mexicas Mexico City Estadio Perros Negros 2,500 2016* Héctor Toxqui
Raptors Naucalpan de Juárez, Mexico Estadio José Ortega Martínez 3,700 2016 Guillermo Gutiérrez
Reyes Guadalajara, Jalisco 2022
Without participating
Mayas Puebla City, Puebla Estadio Universitario BUAP 19,283 2019 Gustavo Torres
Osos Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico Fortaleza Siglo XXI 4,000 2019

* as the Eagles

Former and current teams


Game Rules

The rules of the game are the same as those of the NFL. Some of the most notable rules are the instant replay reviews, the two-minute warning, the coach's challenge, and the requirement that receivers must have both feet touch the ground in bounds to complete a reception. However, the league has been criticized for not providing adequate refereeing, and it is common for some rules of NCAA football to be applied randomly in games, causing confusion among fans, players, and coaches.

Salary Cap

Like the NFL, the LFA has a salary cap. With the intention of maintaining sports balance, the League has a salary cap that prevents teams from differentiating each other in terms of the level of players they hire. The salary cap is MX$2,000,000, approximately $100,000 . There are four salary levels, each of which is determined by the League and is invariable for any team:

  • Level 1: foreign players, 5 for each team and 2 Canadians, have the highest salary and bonuses for housing and food.
  • Level 2: franchise players, an offensive and a defensive, must be Mexican and have the second best salary.
  • Level 3: starters, 17 to 20 per team, have a lower salary than level 2.
  • Level 4: depth chart players receive a symbolic bonus.
  • Level 5: practice squad players receive a bonus only if they get to play.

Season Format


Players must have finished their eligibility in college football before playing professionally. Currently, there are two collegiate leagues, the Liga Mayor ONEFA and the Liga Premier CONADEIP. In these leagues, each player can play five or six years, after which they become eligible for the LFA (they can also declare themselves eligible before finishing their period in college, but it is not usual).

Players coming from college football should express their interest in being hired by the LFA. The LFA gives the list of interested players to their teams and they are classified according to the positions they need and the level of each of the players.

Each year in January, interested players and LFA teams meet in a one-day player draft. Each team can choose a player in each of the seven rounds of the draft. The draft order is determined by each team's record from the previous year; the team that finished with the worst record has the first draft pick, the team with the second worst record has the next pick, and so on. Once all the teams have made their first selection, one round ends and the second begins, until the seventh and final round. There are also complementary rounds in case any team still requires players. The best players are very coveted, so being selected in the first round is considered a great honor, especially if it is the very first selection overall.

Regular season

The regular season consists of 10 games: 6 divisional games (home and away series) and 4 interdivisional games (two away and two home). The season starts on the third weekend of February and ends in April.

Post Season

At the end of the regular season, a direct elimination tournament called postseason or playoffs begins, in which the two best teams of each division face each other in the Division Championship in the home stadium of the team with the better record. The postseason occurs between April and May. The winners of these games go to the Tazón México bowl.

Central Division
Team Championships
1 (2017)
1 (2018)
1 (2019)
North Division
Team Championships
2 (2018, 2019)
1 (2017)

Tazón México

Tazon México trophy

The Tazón México (English: Mexico Bowl) is the title game for the LFA that determines the National Champion. The champions of the North Division and the Central Division meet in a neutral stadium. Each edition of the Tazón México is designated with consecutive Roman numerals, similar to the Super Bowl. In certain editions, the name of a company has been added for sponsorship reasons. It is expected that in the future the Tazón México will have a halftime show. The team with the most championships in the Tazón México is Mayas with two. The team with the most appearances in this event is Raptors with three. The current champion is the Condors, who defeated the Raptors in Tazon Mexico IV by 20–16 at the Estadio Azul in Mexico City.

Tazón México Champions

SeasonChampionScoreRunner UpWinner head coachMVP
2016Mayas29–13RaptorsErnesto AlfaroJosué Martínez (WR)
2017Mayas24–18DinosErnesto AlfaroMarco García (QB)
2018Mexicas17–0RaptorsRafael DukGuillermo Villalobos (WR)
2019Condors20–16RaptorsFélix BuendíaDiego Pérez Arvizu (QB)

See also


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