German football celebrates itself

Düsseldorf – Russell Wilson already has a small belly under the Seahawks jersey, but he has an extremely good eye for it.

A quick look at Odell Beckham Jr., who has put up a sprint, then Wilson quickly changes his mind and throws to Cam Newton. Jadrian Clark and Kasim Edebali watch with enthusiasm, while Aaron Rodgers nods benevolently and takes a good sip of beer.

A little further away, Jimmy Garoppolo bites into his sausage.

Only a short episode, a funny picture, before the fans from the different teams and players mingle with the audience again.

Relaxed atmosphere when together

Anyone who lined up between the Frankfurt Galaxy and the Hamburg Sea Devils in front of the north grandstand in the Düsseldorf Arena on Sunday before the EFL Bowl had a pretty good overview of a picture of German football fan culture that was as compressed as it was impressive. . “The fan mile was really unique. You can not do better,” said Sea Devils coach Andreas Nommensen.

Of course, almost all NFL teams were represented, and of course the two finalists from the first season of the European League of Football. In the midst of the countless barbecue stations, beverage stands, merchandise shops and the program scene, the difference to royal football was quite clear: a relaxed atmosphere, a coexistence of both camps, where the focus is on the sport – German football celebrates itself.

No doubt: It’s a different fan culture, but one that is no longer in its infancy.

For the grand finale of the debut season also showed the potential that American football has in Germany. With fans in a good mood who wanted a good game, drama and entertainment.

The mood? Rounded out the exciting and at times spectacular finale.

ELF is growing

With the European League of Football, the sport, which has enjoyed growing popularity in Germany for years thanks to #ranNFL, is also intended to grow outside the big NFL, not only in Germany but also beyond national borders. For example, a well-known name will return to the national stage in 2022.

Because the ELF will grow after its first season, from eight to at least eleven teams. Also present: Düsseldorf Rhein Brand. “All year long I’ve been getting messages from fans that I should bring Rhein Fire back. Now they’re back,” said Commissioner Coach Patrick Esume proudly.

The league will grow at the start of the 2022 season and other teams will follow, that’s for sure, Esume said: “Düsseldorf Rhein Fire is number eleven, but there will be at least twelve franchises, maybe even more. We are in promising talks and we can provide updates in a timely manner. “

For him as the initiator of the league, it was an emotional day.

Special moments for Coach Esume

Already the coin toss, to thunderous applause from the 21,000 spectators, was a special moment for Esume, it came full circle for him, just over three months after the first kickoff, as in June it was not yet clear where the journey would go. One thing is for sure: the league is on the right track.

“At the end of the season, I would say that there are a billion things that could have been different, better, more beautiful. On the other hand, I would have signed that we should have our final in Düsseldorf before. over 20,000 fans that we play all 43 matches in front of fans that we sold a total of over 100,000 tickets during the season, “said league manager Zeljko Karajica.

Another highlight for the commissioner and the league was the introduction of the three newcomers, because in addition to the Rhine Fire, the Vienna Vikings and Raiders Tyrol also had to enrich the league.

Important: Despite the good news, those in charge should not sit back and make improvements and changes. For ELF Bowlen, for example, it would be the break show, because the two world-class DJs Rafik and ESKEI83 played and fought a DJ match – but on the sidelines and therefore relatively unspectacular in relation to the NFL, which in many things, among other things. acts as a role model.

Dramatic final phase

The final itself was a promotion for the sport, with twists and lots of drama, with a brilliant hero, Jakeb Sullivan, settling the match with a quarterback sneak.

And with a shattered unlucky Philip Friis Andersen, who had the Sea Devils title victory in sight, but failed to convert field goal from 63 yards. Galaxy’s 32:30 was the sportingly spectacular end to a good debut season – with room for improvement.

After the match, the action continued in front of the north grandstand. Together of course. After all, everyone had something to celebrate – German football. And the European.

Andreas Reiners

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