The television series first aired on Japan's TV Tokyo network from April 6, 2005 to March 19, 2008.
The anime series was later licensed in North America by Toonami Jetstream as a joint effort with Viz Media, and aired on December 17, 2007 on its site, but before its completion, the streaming service was shut down. The whole series was streamed in English by Crunchyroll, while Sentai Filmworks licensed the series, with distribution from Section23 Films on DVDs.
The manga and anime have been featured at various times in the Top Ten lists of their respective media. The anime has been watched by a large number of television viewers in Japan, helping to raise American football's popularity in the country. Publications for manga, anime and others have commented on the Eyeshield 21 manga, which received positive comments for its artwork and characters, and negative responses to its non-football scenes.