9 Nations Represented in AFI’s Top 20 Week of 5/24

Our second Top 20 of 2017 includes the input of some of the best coaches in Europe. With all the European seasons now underway we now present the AFI Top 20.

Our panel, which will grow to include many more coaches throughout Europe, takes a look at the strength of schedules within each league. This is the same approach used in all other ranking systems. Although this is not perfect, it is as close as we can come at this point. We continually work to improve and always welcome your comments and insight.

There have been a number of changes in the Top 10 although the German season is still in its early stages. We are aware that there are still a number of undefeated teams throughout the leagues in Europe. And we know that many feel they deserve to be on our list. We do our best to examine all leagues and their leading teams.

There is a controversy brewing in Serbia. The Belgrade Blue Dragons defeated the Kragujevac Wild Boars two weeks ago, but used a possibly suspended player. The Wild Boars protested the game but the Serbian federation ruled in favor of Belgrade. However, Kragujevac filed an appeal which is still pending. Nevertheless, the coaches panel has taken this into consideration and since  the Blue Dragons beat the previous #11 team in Europe, they have entered the list at the #20 spot.

If you are interested in being a part of the AFI Coaches Poll please email [email protected].

Now, on to the rankings!

The defending German and Eurobowl champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions remain in the #1 spot after comfortably winning two games in ther GFL and two in the Big6. Quarterback Casey Therriault’s return has kept the offense running smoothly despite the loss of a couple of key players.

The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns have moved up into the #2 spot and do not seem to have missed a beat under new head coach Jordan Neuman. They have averaged 50 points a game in their four wins while allowing 14.

The Dresden Monarchs also move up from #4 to #3. and with little change in the roster apart from Garrett Safron in place of quarterback Brandon Connette, the offense has looked impressive. In their two games against the Hildesheim Invaders the Monarchs have also averaged 50 points per game.

Head coach Marcus Herford has his Kiel Baltic Hurricanes playing very well. Kiel has moved up to #4 after making some impressive additions in the offseason. With Australia national team quarterback Jared Stegman behind center they intend to challenge for the title in Germany this season.

The Vienna Vikings from Austria scored an upset in beating the previous #2 the Swarco Raiders in Austrian Football League play. They remain at #5 on our list after an impressive showing so far in the Austrian league in part due to the play of  import quarterback Kevin Burke.

Austria’s Swarco Raiders dropped to #6 after losing a tough game to arch rivals the Dacia Vienna Vikings in Austrian league action. Still, they have looked very strong and have looked impressive early in the Austrian season. They have also beaten Poland’s top team, the Wroclaw Panthers.

 

Finland’s Helsinki Roosters have made a huge jump from #16 to #7 after knocking off the previous #7, Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders to win the Northern European Football League title. The Roosters have not slowed down after the departure of head coach Juha Hakala to Italy’s Lazio Marines. The Roosters new head coach  Marquette Floyd added the top quarterback in Germany in 2016, Brandon Connette who moved over from the Dresden Monarchs. Helsinki has also won both regular season Maple League games handily.

Reigning Italian champions, the Milano Rhinos, remain undefeated in Italy and in European Football League play and have moved up from #10 to #8. In fact, under head coach Chris Ault, they have not lost a game since 2015.

The Amsterdam Crusaders have moved up to #9 after they have picked up where they left off in 2016 waltzing through the Dutch league and playing  even with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions before losing 20-6. They also easily defeated the Spanish title holders the Badalona Dracs.

The #10 spot goes to Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers who surprised the powerful Swarco Raiders in Central European Football League last month, forcing the Raiders to come from behind to win the game. The Panthers are undefeated in Poland and soundly beat Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks last week. They are the reigning Polish champions and under head coach Nick Johansen along with Rick Rhoades, they look to defend their Polish title.

Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders have dropped from #7 to # 11 following their overtime loss to the visiting Helsinki Roosters in the Northern European Football League (NEFL) championship game last weekend. However, they had beaten both the Copenhagen Towers and London Warriors and have also looked dominant in the Swedish Superserien.

The Berlin Rebels come in at #12 after solid wins in the German Football League and a narrow victory over the Frankfurt Universe in the Big6.

French number one, La Courneuve Flash, enter the rankings at #13 after disposing of the Thonon Black Panthers to take over sole possession of first in France two weeks ago and have steadily improved.

The Frankfurt Universe slid down the list to #14 after losing to the Berlin Rebels in Big6 play. Nevertheless, their offense got a boost this week with the arrival of new QB Dan Collins. They have looked impressive in GFL play and in their Big6 win over Italy’s Milano Seamen.

Italy’s Parma Panthers have entered the list at #15 after a solid string of wins in the Italian Football League. They downed both the Seamen and the Bolzano Giants, largely relying on a tough defense.

 

The Cologne Crocodiles are also newcomers to the Top 20 coming in a#16 after a strong showing so far in the German Football League.

Sweden’s Orebro Black Knights are also new to the list after looking extremely impressive in Sweden’s Superserien.

The Graz Giants are third in the Austrian Football League and looked strong against the Swarco Raiders a couple of weeks ago and enter the rankings at #18.

The Wasa Royals in Finland have made a a strong entrance in the Maple League and many tout them as title challengers. They also make their debut on the Top 20 at #19.

Finally our #20 team is Serbia’s Belgrade Blue Dragons who defeated the former #11 Kragujevac Wild Boars 14-7 in a game which is still being disputed. Nevertheless, the coaches panel felt that they still deserved the final spot.

Honorable mentions: Kragujevac Wild Boars (Serbia), Koc Rams, Turkey, Lisbon Devils (Portugal), Badalona Dracs (Spain), Triangle Razorbacks, (Denmark), Stuttgart Scorpions (Germany), Calanda Broncos (Switzerland), Gdynia Seahawks (Poland), SBB Vukovi Belgrade (Serbia), Prague Black Panthers (Czech Republic), Reus Imperials (Spain), Thonon Black Panthers (France), Copenhagen Towers (Denmark).

AFI
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