Show cover of Gridiron Japan

Gridiron Japan

A podcast devoted to the coverage of the latest happenings and news in the world of Japanese gridiron football, from the amateur level to the professional game.


Gridiron America’s 2024 CFL Preview
As we await the start of the autumn gridiron season here in Japan, Greg and his co-host of the From the 55 Yardline Podcast, Dave Cieslinski talk with Don and Heath of The Third Down Gamble Podcast⁠ to preview the upcoming 2024 CFL season. From the 55 Yardline is part of the Sports History Network - The Headquarters For Sports Yesteryear. EPISODE SUMMARY Greg and Dave are joined by Don and Heath of the Third Down Gamble podcast for the second year in a row to preview, here in the third week of the preseason, the upcoming CFL season. We start in the far east with defending Grey Cup champion Montreal and move our way west, team by team, and end with this year's Grey Cup host, the British Columbia Lions. The Third Down Gamble is going on five years and truly is "audio worth watching!" FROM THE 55 YARD LINE BACKGROUND From the 55 Yardline is anchored by former rugby player and sports executive David Cieslinski, who resides near the Canadian border, and retired naval intelligence and information warfare officer Greg St. James, who resides in Japan (he is also the co-host of the Gridiron Japan podcast). Both are avid armchair sports historians and sports simulation enthusiasts, who, despite the vastness of geography, have found a way to leverage technology to help keep the games they love truly alive, both on the screen and on the internet airwaves. In addition to Dave and Greg, From the 55 Yardline also features veteran journalist and contributor Fran Stuchbury, of, where he writes extensively on the happenings in minor league sports. The show was previously co-hosted by retired sports journalist Scott Adamson, whose continued writings. sports coverage and articles can be found at  David, Greg, and Fran can be contacted directly via the podcast's Twitter account at
90:35 5/31/24
Episode 47: Devin Phelps, The Man Who Wears The Star!
John and Greg are joined by star wide receiver Devin Phelps of the OrientalBio Silver Star to talk about his life and career in football, which has stretched from his childhood in Baltimore, to the Arizona desert and to the shores of Japan. They talk about Devin, John and Greg's favorite Chicago Bears' quarterback (who makes an unscheduled appearance during the livestream), how many touchdowns Devin will score on the BJ Beatty coached Fujitsu Frontier's defense, and much much more. You can catch the livestream of this broadcast over at our YouTube page at and our homepage at As for Devin, you can see more by following him on Instagram, YouTube, X (Twitter), and TikTok.
96:34 5/11/24
Episode 46: You Are Looking Live!
Gridiron Japan returns, broadcasting live to the internet airwaves, on YouTube, Facebook and X (Twitter)! John and Greg kickoff season 4 of the podcast, and season 1 of the livestreaming videocast to talk about all that has happened since Team Japan's upset over the Ivy League in January, including the promotion by one of our cohosts to the X-League coaching ranks! You can connect to Gridiron Japan via our main pages at | and
57:48 4/22/24
Episode 45: Boogie Knight & The Dream Japan Bowl
Greg and BJ sit down with Boogie Knight of the Asahi Soft Drink Challengers, and talk about his career in Japan and the 2023 season in which he was named rookie of the year and led the Super X-League in receiving and won the triple crown of touchdowns made, number of receptions and yards. As highlighted by the Challengers, Boogie is an exciting and dynamic player who reminds many older fans of NFL Hall of Famers like Steve Largent and Fred Biletnikoff. They also talk about his upcoming game in the Dream Japan Bowl, in which he will be playing for Team Japan, and also about his life in his first year in Japan as he looks toward a second season, as well as his interests outside of football. You can find Boogie's 2023 season highlights on Youtube, and also find him on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Boogie also sells his own line and brand of Zeal clothing on Bonfire. To learn more about the gridiron American football game in Japan, check out our home page, and also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
44:38 1/17/24
Episode 44: Rice Bowl Wrap Up, With Fujitsu Frontiers' Al-Rilwan Adeyemi
On a Sunday night, John, BJ and Greg are joined by Rice Bowl and X-League champion, as well as the most famous American playing football in Japan, Al-Rilwan Adeyemi of the Fujitsu Frontiers. They discuss with him the key moments of the game that led to the Frontiers' big win and also talk about his recent NFL360 spotlight on the NFL Network. Lastly, they discuss with him the upcoming Dream Japan Bowl that is taking place in Tokyo on January 21, 2024. To learn more about American football in Japan, please visit
69:42 1/7/24
Episode 43: Rice Bowl Preview/NFL Films Spotlight on Al-Rilwan Adeyemi
In the first part of the podcast John, BJ and Greg preview the upcoming matchup of Japan's championship game, which will be played on January 3rd, 2024 at the Tokyo Dome and feature a battle of two unbeaten teams, the Fujitsu Frontiers and Panasonic Impulse. During the second part the guys talk about the recent NFL360 episode, entitled "Ikigai", in which NFL Films puts a spotlight on the inspiring story of the Fujitsu Frontiers' Al-Rilwan Adeyemi.
45:25 12/29/23
Episode 42: X-League Semi-Finals & Koshien Bowl Wrap Up
John, BJ and Greg sit down and dissect the victories by Panasonic and Fujitsu in X-League semi-final action, including notes on attendance for the matches. They then discuss the victory by the KG Fighters over the Hosei Orange in the Koshien Bowl, Japan's collegiate gridiron championship. Lastly, they talk about what it is going to take, in their opinions, for American football to be grown at the grass roots and become more popular and widely known and followed in Japan.
49:25 12/22/23
Episode 41: X-League Super Semi-Final Preview Show
On the eve of the X-League semi-finals, Greg and John sit down to talk about the weekend's matchups (Fujitsu v. Obic and Panasonic v. IBM) to see who will square off in January's Rice Bowl, as well as the league's promotion/relegation games. After which they turn their attention to the college game and talk about the postseason changes coming in 2024, as well as the decision by administrators at Nihon University to disband the school's legendary gridiron program.
55:29 12/6/23
Episode 40: Japan's College Football Playoffs
John and Greg sit down and talk about the road to the Koshien Bowl and how the final team in Japan's college football semi-final playoffs was selected via a method that falls under the heading, "things that make you go...Huh??" The guys also talk about the upcoming Dream Japan Bowl, Mexican college football, and more!
48:49 11/26/23
Episode 39: "So You Want to Play Football in Japan?"
With BJ and John away, Greg is joined by 2022 X-League Area MVP Aaron Ellis, starting quarterback of the Dentsu Caterpillars and Gridiron Japan alumnus, and co-host of the USFL Podcast, sports media wunderkind Zach Keilman. During a very early morning for poor Zach, the three review the week that was during the first round of the Super X-League post season tournament. After which they discuss, with apologies to former Chunichi Dragon star baseball player Tom Selleck, the dreams of many young players to continue their gridiron careers in Japan, as well as the right and wrong ways to seek out opportunities in the X-League. Finally, Zach gives an update as to where the rumored merger talks are with the XFL and USFL. He provides insight as to what the ratings comparisons between the two entities really are, and what may happen with the leagues in the short term.
76:33 11/22/23
Episode 38: Playoff Fiesta
It's a playoff party on the eve of the Super X-League quarterfinals as Greg, BJ and John give their predictions for the upcoming tournament. The guys are joined by Dentsu Caterpillars starting quarterback, Aaron Ellis, who gives his perspective on the 2023 season. They also talk about the Road to the Koshien Bowl in Japan's college playoff tournament.
68:49 11/15/23
Episode 37: Flag Football in Japan and More!
While the rest of Japan is glued to the TV to watch baseball and the Japan Series, the guys sit down and talk gridiron. They start off with a talk about Japan's very own Hidetora Hanada, who is currently playing for the Colorado State University Rams. They then turn their attention to Japan's recent medal achievements in the Asian flag football tournaments for men and women, with a discussion about the growth of the domestic game. After which, they discuss their predictions for the final week of regular Super X-League play and the playoff scenarios.
82:38 11/1/23
Episode 36: B.J. Beatty and His DARE Initiative
On a cool October night, Greg and BJ review the scores from week 3, and preview week 4 of the Super X-League. After which BJ talks about his DARE Sports initiative that is designed to provide gridiron education in Japan for those players who want to excel and reach new heights both on and off the field. You can find out more about BJ and Dare Sports at the program's Instagram page and web site.
55:18 10/18/23
Episode 35: Rise Up! With Colby Campbell of the Nojima Sagamihara Rise
In this episode, with BJ away at team practice, John and Greg sit down with Nojima Sagamihara Rise linebacker Colby Campbell to talk about his life and journey to Japan. From South Carolina to Finland to Germany and to Japan, Colby has had an interesting and varied journey during his young gridiron career! The three discuss not just his life on the field, but also his experiences off the field in Japan. Colby can be found online at his YouTube channel where he is presently publishing videos on his travels, as well as on X and Instagram.
54:53 10/5/23
Episode 34: Week 1 & 2 Review of Super X-League
As the X-League teams play every two weeks, the guys are back after the season openers and subsequent games to review the power rankings of the 12 teams that make up the X-League Super, Japan's premier football league. The guys also discuss the planned return of the Ivy League in January 2024 for a rematch with Japan's gridiron all-stars.
92:13 9/26/23
Episode 33- X League Super Preview
John Gunning, BJ Beatty, and Greg James return for the third season of the Gridiron Japan podcast to preview the upcoming 2023 season of the X-League Super. The three discuss the probable and likely results, as well as the possible upsets, along with talk about the new and returning players from America.
50:38 9/8/23
Episode 32: Spring Season Wrap Up
Joining BJ, John and Greg in this episode is Dentsu Caterpillar QB, Aaron Ellis. The guys spend time reviewing the scores of the final games of the Spring X-League season and look ahead at the upcoming fall season and schedule. They also talk about the international gridiron game in Europe and Mexico, and Aaron's experience in both Japan and in the European leagues. Unfortunately, no predictions were made by Aaron as to how many fantasy points he is likely to owe BJ at the end of the '23 X-League season ;-).
79:19 7/1/23
Episode 31: The Blue Men Group
The guys return this week, and after about an hour of candid blue conversation, in the second hour they hit the record button and talk about the latest scores and news going on in the world of spring Japanese gridiron. Amongst their topics are the unexpected loss by Fujitsu, import quarterbacks, and why NAIA quarterbacks from Illinois, like Aaron Ellis, should never be discounted.
69:49 5/31/23
Episode 30: Let's Go You Hiroshima Hawks!
In what is this podcast's first interview with an active head coach, John and Greg sit down with new X3 Hiroshima Hawks head coach A.J. Koikoi to talk about his playing and coaching career in the Chugoku (Okayama & Hiroshima) region of Japan and his work developing local talent. We also talk about his college playing days, his career with the UN, and his commitment and work towards social justice. Lastly, we manage to sneak in some Baltimore football talk, as A.J. is a proud Baltimore Ravens fan and student of Baltimore gridiron history.
53:04 5/16/23
Episode 29: Week 1 of the Spring Japanese Gridiron Season
The spring exhibition season has begun for both the X-League and collegiate teams, and the three provide the scores of all the games played. The guys also talk about many of the off season moves of the X-League. In addition, the guys discuss how to watch the upcoming fall X-League and major college season via a revamped joint streaming service.
53:37 5/8/23
Episode 28: The 2023 Spring Gridiron Season in Japan is Here!
On the day the Japanese high school baseball tournament has begun and the focus of the nation is on Koshien Stadium, as well as Team Samurai Japan in the World Baseball Classic, the guys look at the upcoming spring gridiron season and the upcoming changes for the X-League moving into 2023, including the move of one franchise to the western side of Honshu. As the spring season kicks off here in Japan, make sure to check out to stay abreast of all the scores and how to watch the games (many of which which will be available either on X-League TV or on YouTube). In addition to the game here at home, John, B.J. & Greg also take a look across to the Pacific where the Canadian Football League has been most welcoming of the great talent being found on the gridirons of Japan.
64:16 3/18/23
Episode 27: Antoine Sinclair, Japan's Gridiron Renaissance Man
In this episode John, BJ and Greg sit down with X2 Blue Thunder player Antoine Sinclair to talk about his life and journey to Japan. From Georgia to Japan, and from the rugby pitch to the gridiron, Antoine has had an interesting and varied journey! The four also discuss the recent CFL combine in Tokyo where John was present. 
78:30 2/28/23
Episode 26: Ocean Bowl and Super Bowl Roundtable
The guys in this episode sit down on a cold Thursday night to talk about the upcoming championship game of the Japan Private Football Federation, the "Ocean Bowl.". After which the guys talk about the upcoming Super Bowl, make their predictions, and share the best memories of past games that cemented them forever as fans. Also, they share the news about the signing by the Calgary Stampeders of friend of the show, Toshiki Sato.
52:41 2/9/23
Episode 25: Dream Bowl Review
Greg sits down with B.J. to review Team Japan's loss to the Ivy League All-Stars and his experiences during the game. They also discuss the current changes happening with the Obic Seagulls, as the X-League looks forward to the new 2023 season.
46:52 2/3/23
Episode 24: Dream Bowl Preview
With BJ at practice for Team Japan, John and Greg sit down to preview the upcoming matchup of Japan's top players versus the Ivy League all-stars. The two review the history of the Ivy League playing in Japan and discuss the possible implications for the game in Japan, with what they both hope is a decisive win by the home team.  They also discuss flag football in Japan and how the country is a unique experience for any person wishing to not just play football, but also broaden their cultural horizons.
57:04 1/19/23
Episode 23: Super X-League- The Rice Bowl and a Time For Glory
In this week's Gridiron Japan episode, John, B.J., and Greg review the Super X-League championship game, the Rice Bowl, and break down the performances that led to the Fujitsu Frontier's victory over the Panasonic Impulse. We then discuss the upcoming Dream Bowl game in Tokyo, with our very own B.J. Beatty leading the charge of Team Japan, when they square off against the American Ivy League all-stars. 
66:30 1/9/23
Episode 22: Time Well Spent With the Best Quarterback in Chicago, the X-League's Aaron Ellis
B.J. and Greg return after the Christmas holiday, with guest and X-League Area MVP Aaron Ellis, the star QB of the Dentsu Caterpillars (in Chicago freezing his butt off and pinch hitting this week for John) to talk about his championship all-pro year in Japan, the prospects for his return, and his upcoming season in Austria with the Telfs Patriots.  Greg then talks on his attendance of his first football game in Japan, at the Koshien Bowl, which is the same venue he saw his first Japanese baseball game, and opines about the vintage feel of the setting in comparison to a typical American game. The guys then turn their attention to the Rice Bowl, with all three leaning toward a Panasonic Impulse victory over the Fujitsu Frontiers. Lastly, Greg and B.J. compare notes about Christmas Bowl LIII, the Japanese high school national championship game.
73:35 12/29/22
Episode 21: Super X-League- To The Dream Bowl and Beyond
For the first time in many weeks, all three co-hosts (John, BJ, and Greg) sit down to review the past week's action and preview the X-League semi final matchups. In addition, the guys talk about the Dream Bowl, and specifically the selection of BJ to the team in what very well may be the future Hall of Famer's final game.  For those new to the show, please give our past episodes a listen to learn more about the gridiron game in Japan!
85:08 11/30/22
Episode 20: Super X-League- Quarterfinal Predictions
Greg has finally landed in Japan and has overcome his jet lag to sit down with BJ and review the upcoming slate of quarterfinal matches and a discussion as to who might be relegated to Area play in 2023.  They also talk about the upcoming post season championship games, including the Koshien, Rice and Dream Bowls. 
46:43 11/17/22
Episode 19: Super X League 2022- Where Have You Gone Aaron Ellis? Sumimasen!
In this episode, BJ and Greg review the results of Week 4 in Super X-League play, from the blowouts to nail bitters, and look ahead to the teams on the bubble for relegation, and also on the rise in the Area division for promotion, including the Dentsu Caterpillars, whose star QB, and friend of the show, Aaron Ellis, did not respond to BJ's on air request. We have to assume he was busy at practice studying the playbook :-). We also talk a bit about the college championship game of Japan, the Koshien Bowl.  *Note, this game was recorded on Wednesday Japan time, but due to Greg's moving out of his house in Chicago over the course of the next 3 days, this episode was not able to be edited and published until Saturday morning. SUMIMASEN!
61:26 10/29/22