Gridiron in the ACT began in 1990 with the formation of the Canberra Sabretooths, who played in the NSW Gridiron League. The ACT Gridiron League was formed in 1993 with five teams competing for the Capital Bowl trophy; the Belconnen Thunderbolts, the Tuggeranong Tornadoes, the University of Canberra Firebirds, the Tidbinbilla Space Cadets and the Queanbeyan Wolverines.
In 1995, a number of ex-Sabretooths joined with the remaining members of the Belconnen Thunderbolts and Tidbinbilla Space Cadets to form the Canberra Tigers.
The foundation Queanbeyan Wolverines folded mid-way through the 1998 season, but another Queanbeyan-based team, named the Warriors, formed in 2000 and competed until 2005.
In 2001, the ACT Astros were renamed the Astros and entered the ACT Competition after withdrawing from the NSWGFL, replacing the Canberra Tigers side which folded after the 2000 season. The Astros continued operations until the end of the 2011 season.
ACT Gridiron welcomed two expansion teams in 2007 with the formation of the Centurions and the Gladiators.
A further addition was made in 2009, with the Gungahlin Wildcats who commenced playing in 2010.
The Central Spears began play in 2012, effectively taking over the operation of the Astros club.