Since 1945, the American Football Coaches Association has selected an All-America team. What makes this team special is that it is the only one selected exclusively by the men who know the most about the players, the coaches themselves.

The AFCA currently selects an All-America team in five divisions: Football Bowl Subdivision, Football Championship Subdivision, Division II, Division III and NAIA. Only one 25-player team is chosen in each division. There are no second or third teams or honorable mention awards.

The five teams now chosen for each AFCA division evolved from a single 11-player squad in 1945. From 1945 until 1967, only one team was chosen. From 1967 through 1971, two teams, University Division and College Division, were selected. In 1972, the College Division was split into College I and College II. In 1979, the University Division was split into two teams — FBS and FCS. In 1996, the College I and College II teams were renamed Division II and Division III respectively. In 2006, the Division I-A and Division I-AA teams were renamed Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), respectively. In 2006, the AFCA started selecting an NAIA-only team.

From 1945 through 1964, the Coaches’ All-America Team was one 11-player unit. The Association did not begin selecting both an offensive and a defensive unit until 1965.

The Coaches’ All-America Team has been sponsored by various entities throughout the years: 

1945-47: Published in Saturday Evening Post
1948-56: Published in Collier’s
1957-59: General Mills
1960-93: Eastman Kodak
1994: Schooner’s International
1997-1999: Burger King

The Team: The AFCA selects a 25-player team in each of its five divisions. The team is made up of 11 offensive players, 11 defensive players, a punter, a placekicker and an all-purpose player. The offensive unit normally consists of two wide receivers, one tight end, four offensive linemen, one center, one quarterback and two running backs. On defense, four defensive linemen, three linebackers and four defensive backs are normally chosen. 

On special teams, a punter, placekicker and an all-purpose player are chosen.

For selection purposes, offensive guards and tackles are grouped together as offensive linemen, fullbacks and running backs are grouped as running backs.

These numbers can change if there are more worthy candidates at one position than at another. For example, if there are four linebackers who deserve All-America honors and only three defensive linemen, a fourth linebacker may be substituted for a fourth defensive lineman.

The Committee: All five AFCA divisions have an All-America Selection Committee consisting of a committee chairman, a district representative head coach from each of the AFCA districts in each division and two committeemen in each district who are also head coaches. 

Team Selection: The selection committees in each division conduct a conference call to select the team. The committee chairman and the district representatives are on the call. The district committeemen are not.

Prior to the call, the district chairmen and his committeemen are responsible for gathering information on worthy players in their districts. In FBS and FCS, each head coach is polled in the preseason and at mid-season and asked for up to three deserving All-America candidates on their team and up to three players on other teams. Then in late October, the coaches vote on a 25-player team. The voting results are a part of the information that is considered when the selection committee names the team.

The Award: Each player receives a plaque signifying his selection as an AFCA All-American.