By Doug Farrar, Seahawks.net
WORLD BOWL RE-MATCH
KICKS OFF 13TH SEASON
The NFL Europe League is ready to roar back into
action with its 13th season kicking off on April 2.
And history will be
made in the opening week of the new campaign as Saturdays clash between
the defending champion Berlin Thunder and the Frankfurt Galaxy marks the first
time ever that a season has begun with a re-match of the previous years
Also in Week 1, the Hamburg Sea Devils will take to the field
for the first time when they visit the Cologne Centurions.
The final action
on Saturday night sees the Amsterdam Admirals begin their bid for glory in 2005
by playing host to the Rhein Fire.
With a grueling training camp in Tampa
Bay, Florida, completed, it is time for the talking to stop and the battle for
a championship to begin. The road to Yello Strom World Bowl XIII in Düsseldorf,
Germany, on Saturday June 11 begins in earnest this weekend. Who will emerge as
championship material? Only time will tell.
following Patriots have been allocated to NFL Europe:
Cologne, Kory Chapman RB
Rhein, Cedric James WR
Frankfurt, Grant Steen LB
Amsterdam, Joel Jacobs TE
Hamburg, Ricky Bryant WR
SATURDAY APRIL 2
Galaxy at Berlin Thunder
Olympic Stadium, Berlin, 6:00 p.m.
Sea Devils at Cologne Centurions
Rhein Fire at Amsterdam Admirals
ArenA, Amsterdam, 7:00 p.m.
2004 AWARD WINNERS
MVP · ROHAN DAVEY · QB, Berlin
% of passes for 1,676 yards, 19 TDs and 6 interceptions for 105.6 QB rating (led
DEFENSIVE MVP · COREY JACKSON ·
26 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 4 passes
COACH OF THE YEAR · RICK LANTZ ·
Tied single season record set by 1991 London Monarchs
and 1995 Amsterdam Admirals (9-1). Guided club to third World Bowl win in four
NFLEL FACTS: Rush to
NFL Europe has been kind to those who run the football
in recent years as five of the last six League Offensive MVPs have played running
back. Berlin Thunder quarterback ROHAN DAVEY won the award in 2004. In the five
years prior to that, the winners were all running backs: 1999 LAWRENCE
PHILLIPS (Barcelona), 2000 AARON STECKER (Scotland), 2001 MIKE GREEN
(Barcelona), 2002 JAMAL ROBERTSON (Rhein) and 2003 KEN SIMONTON
NFLEL FACTS: Close encounters
has traditionally thrown up close games and wild finishes. The 2004 campaign was
a case in point as a record 23 of 30 regular season games were decided by one
score (8 points or less). In the past 10 seasons since 1995, 172 of 300 regular
season games (.573) have been decided by one score.
NEWS AND NOTES
Big names among record number of allocated players looking to shine
in NFL Europe
SOME of the NFLs brightest young stars, as well as
big-name players who will be familiar to football fans around the world, will
be on display throughout the 2005 NFL Europe League season.
In another outstanding
show of support for the NFL Europe League, the 32 NFL clubs allocated a record
271 players for the 2005 campaign.
Among a record 19 NFL quarterbacks assigned
to NFL Europe are passers who have started in the National Football League in
AKILI SMITH (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), DAVE RAGONE (Houston Texans) and KURT KITTNER
Smith was selected third overall in the 1999 NFL Draft
by the Cincinnati Bengals. He started 17 games from 1999-2002, throwing for 2,212
yards and 5 touchdowns. Smith will become the highest-ever draft pick to play
in NFL Europe when he takes his first snap as a member of the Frankfurt Galaxy.
says: "The amount of players, in particular quarterbacks, who have been in
NFL Europe and then come back to the NFL and had success is astonishing. I look
at that and knowing how beautiful Europe is to visit, that inspired me to come
to NFL Europe.
"A lot of people have not seen me play for over two
years now, so this will be an opportunity for me to remind them what I can do.
I plan on getting Frankfurt to a World Bowl. Thats why were here.
Everything else is nice but this is a team that is used to success and the World
Bowl is definitely in my plans."
Ragone started two games for the Houston
Texans as a rookie in 2003 and will spearhead the Berlin Thunders charge
for a fourth World Bowl crown in the past five seasons.
passer says: "Its like Im starting a new life. I feel almost
reborn. This league is very competitive and Ive got a chance to go out there
on the football field and be a leader for the Berlin Thunder. Im really
Kittner started four games for the Atlanta Falcons in 2003,
throwing for 391 yards and 2 touchdowns in place of injured superstar Michael Vick.
Big-name performers competing for glory in Yello Strom World Bowl
XIII in June are not just restricted to the quarterback position.
PAYTON (Tennessee Titans), son of the late NFL legend and Hall of Fame running
back Walter Payton, will hope to guide the Amsterdam Admirals to a first World
Bowl appearance in team history after shining at the running back position during
preseason training in Tampa Bay, Florida.
Payton, who starred at the University
of Miami before entering the professional ranks, says: "I have worked very
hard since I discovered I was going to be in NFL Europe because I take this very
seriously as a chance to get my NFL career on the road.
"I want to
break the single-season rushing record which means going over 1,051 yards.
I have always been taught to shoot for the stars, and thats what Im
doing as far as my personal ambitions for the season.
goal of them all though is to get this team to a World Bowl. Not many of us have
won a championship at any level. To be able to win a championship with a bunch
of guys who dont really know each other but are just coming together
that would be special."
Fellow running back LARRY CROOM (Arizona Cardinals)
started one game in place of the legendary Emmitt Smith in 2004 and ended his
rookie campaign with the Cards having rushed for 76 yards on 29 carries. He added
2 receptions for 16 yards and ran back 16 kickoffs for 314 yards.
of the Hamburg Sea Devils, says: "I talked to coach Dennis Green and he said
it would be a good idea to come to Europe, not only for the experience I would
get as a player, but also to see the world.
"I welcome the chance to
play football and to see some stuff I never saw before. I said yes on the spot."
suiting up for the Sea Devils in 2005 will be former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback
Crouch was named college footballs best player in 2001
as he threw for 1,510 yards and rushed for 1,115 yards at Nebraska. He set an
NCAA record with 59 rushing touchdowns during his college career but is switching
to defense in NFL Europe and will line up at safety.
He becomes the third
Heisman Trophy winner to play in NFL Europe, following in the footsteps of quarterbacks
GINO TORRETTA (Rhein Fire 1995) and ANDRE WARE (Berlin Thunder 1999).
says: "My goal is to help the Sea Devils win a World Bowl in their first
season. Im a competitor and I want to win every single game this year. I
hope we mesh together as a team and play well."
FACTS: History maker
When the 2005 season kicks off, JACK BICKNELL
will become the first head coach in league history to take charge of three different
teams. Prior to leading the Hamburg Sea Devils in 2005, Bicknell coached the Scottish
Claymores in 2004 and the Barcelona Dragons from 1991-2003. Only two other men
have served as head coaches of more than one NFLEL team during their careers
PETER VAAS (Berlin 2000-03/Cologne 2004) and GALEN HALL (Orlando 1992/Rhein 1995-2000).
How NFLEL teams are built
Here is how NFL Europe League
rosters are built:
2 Active NFLEL players (eligible to play in games)
Inactive NFLEL Practice Squad players (ineligible to play in games)
8 Active roster players. Three teams will carry
an additional national player during the 2004 season and these players will be
listed as Active NFLEL players.
TOTAL ROSTER SIZE
(46 Active, 2 Inactive / 40 American, 8 National)
After selecting the team's 36 active American players at the end
of training camp, teams, in consultation with the league office, selected two
additional players to be part of the active roster. These players are designated
as Active NFLEL players.
Teams, in consultation with the league office,
have also designated two players to become part of the NFLEL Practice Squad.
of which team roster the players are on, all Active NFLEL players and all NFLEL
Practice Squad players are the 'property' of the league office.
In the case
of injuries etc., teams can request that an NFLEL Practice Squad player or an
Active NFLEL player is reassigned from the roster of another team. A decision
will be made by the NFLEL personnel department in consultation with the relevant
teams. Competitive balance remains the most important factor in such decisions.
Wherever possible, NFLEL Practice Squad players will be reassigned before Active
NFLEL regular season rosters will indicate those players
who are Active NFLEL players and members of the NFLEL Practice Squad.
tuned as Seahawks.NET will bring you weekly NFL Europe reports throughout the
Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free
to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Insider will continue to bring you Seahawks.net's coverage of NFL Europe as it
hits the wire. With a number of Patriots players in the league, it bears watching
to see if any of these prospects can return to the US and grab a roster spot.
With the team looking to upgrade, or at least supplement, their wide receiving
corp, don't be surprised to see one of the trio assigned to NFLE actually make
it through training camp and onto the 2005 Patriots final roster.
more about NFL Europe, visit the official site NFLEurope.com or Talk about it
with fellow Patriots fans in