NFL Europa
Sport American football
Founded 1991
No. of teams 6
Country Germany, Netherlands
Current champions Frankfurt Galaxy
Official website

NFL Europa was the new moniker for NFL Europe on September 11, 2006, it officially re-branded itself as NFL Europa to reflect the name used for Europe in most European languages. Informally, the name "NFL Europe" continued to be used in the United States, including for the league's English-language Web site, On 29 June 2007, NFL officials announced that the league would be disbanded effective immediately,[1] calling the decision a sound business move that will allow for a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States. The announcement came less than a week after the Hamburg Sea Devils beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 37–28 in the World Bowl championship in Frankfurt in front of a crowd of 48,125.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell thanked the fans for their support but said it was time to develop a new international strategy, terming the move to fold NFL Europa the "best business decision." The league reportedly was losing about $30 million a season.


The league's managing director Jim Connelly has put forward plans for the league's future - with the ultimate goal of "...establishing American football as a major spectator and participation sport in Europe." Following the success in Germany, and the ultimate failure of former franchises in Spain, England, and Scotland, the logical consequence is focusing the league even more on Germany:

  • shifting the league's head office from London to Frankfurt
  • employing a top-end US coach in this relocated HQ to "...oversee a stepped-up plan to develop more German players";
  • players becoming a permanent part of their teams, even going so far as living in their host cities for PR and grass-roots development
  • aiming for an eight-team, two-division, 12-game regular season with proper playoffs in 2010

Whether the Amsterdam Admirals remain in their current city or not seems increasingly down to how well they perform, as following World Bowl XIV, Connelly said at a press conference that the NFL-E Board "...heard updates on the status of other German markets that remain interested in securing an NFLEL franchise". No indication was made whether these would be expansions or relocations. The two leading potential cities have been listed as Leipzig and Hanover - this would mean that the supposedly pan-European league would have become seven-eighths German, compared to the original single German Team in the original World League [1]

Experimental RulesEdit

NFL Europa was used to develop young players for the NFL:and also to test rule changes with the result that the rules of NFL Europa would be quite different from standard NFL rules. Sometimes these rules proved to be popular and were adopted by the NFL The most famous example is the 2-point conversion rule, in which the ball is passed or run into the endzone again following a touchdown instead of a kick between the uprights. This rule was tested in the World League before it was adopted by the NFL in 1994. Other minor tweaks in gameplay, such as a shorter kickoff tee, were also first used in the WLAF.

The NFL traditionally used a sudden-death format for overtime. Regular season games have a single period of overtime during which the first team to score wins the game. If neither team scores, the game is declared a tie. In post-season games, overtime is extended indefinitely until one team scores. In NFL Europa, however, the overtime period lasts for 10 minutes with the requirement that each team must have the opportunity of possession at least once. (This gives the format some similarities with the NCAA's overtime format.) So, in NFL Europa, it was possible for one team to score in overtime then have to kick-off to the opponent and give them a chance to either equalise or win the game (still possible on just one possession each; if one team scores a TD followed by an extra point, their opponents could still win by scoring a touchdown followed by a 2-point conversion). The winner is the team with the highest score after both teams have had possession. Only two games have ever remained tied after OT in WLAF/NFL Europa history: London Monarchs vs Birmingham Fire in Week 4 of the 1992 season, and Berlin Thunder at Hamburg Sea Devils, on April 1 2006. The score of both games was 17-17. In 2011, The NFL adopted the rule for the overtime period in the NFL Playoffs.

With soccer being the traditionally popular sport in Europe and American Football being a relative newcomer, the rules were changed slightly to encourage a greater element of kicking which was intended to make the game more enjoyable for soccer and rugby fans. They did this by awarding 4 points to field goals of more than 50 yards, as opposed to 3 points in the NFL. This has the interesting side-effect that a touchdown lead (6 points) can be overcome by one regular field goal (3 points) as well as a long field goal (4 points).

Also, there was a requirement that at least one player of Non-American extraction, referred to as "national" players, participate in every down for both teams as of the 2006 season (in previous seasons one was required to play only on every down of every other series). In addition to European players a number of Mexican and Japanese players have played as national players. Up until the 2004 season kicked conversion attempts and short field goals were attempted by national players. Since there are few European players who have had the chance to compete at a level comparable to U.S. College Football and the NFL, many of the most useful European players have prior experience in soccer or rugby so become Kickers in NFL Europa. This, in conjunction with the 4-point field goal rule, meant that, while European players were a small minority of players, they still had a significant involvement in scoring points.

NFL Europa Teams (1991-2007)Edit

Teams disbanded in 2007Edit

Team Founded
Amsterdam Admirals 1995
Berlin Thunder 1999
Cologne Centurions 2004
Frankfurt Galaxy 1991
Hamburg Sea Devils 2005
Rhein Fire 1995

Other NFL Europe teamsEdit

Team Years
London/England Monarchs 1991-1998
(F.C.) Barcelona Dragons 1991-2003
Scottish Claymores 1995-2004

WLAF Teams based in North America (1991-92)Edit

Team Years
New York/New Jersey Knights 1991-1993
Ohio Glory 1992
Orlando Thunder 1991-1992
Montreal Machine 1991-1992
Raleigh-Durham Skyhawks 1991
Birmingham Fire 1991-1992
San Antonio Riders 1991-1992
Sacramento Surge 1991-1992

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.