Final AFI Europe Top 20 Of 2016

With the European seasons now ended for 2016 we are proud to present our final Top 20 ranking of the year.

It has been a few weeks since our last Top 20 and in our final ranking of 2016 there have been changes at the top and a new Number one.

The Braunschweig New Yorker Lions have returned to the #1 spot for the first time since the summer and deservedly so. After a couple of months where the club struggled some, which is a relative term, and lost to the Berlin Rebels and tied both Dresden and Kiel, they found their stride again. They played consistent football over the last weeks of the regular season and then took care of business in the playoffs dispensing the Allgäu Comets, Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and Schwäbisch  Hall Unicorns en route to their fourth straight German title. They also captured the Eurobowl title in June, beating the Swarco Raiders in the process.

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Austria’s Swarco Raiders have dropped down to the #2 spot in our Top 20.  This was not an easy decision but the Lions edge them out. Nevertheless, the Raiders enjoyed a superb season. They won their second straight Austrian Bowl with a 51-7 drubbing of the Graz Giants and they played more games than almost any other team in Europe losing only two. They also defeated the Elmhurst Bluejays, an NCAA Div. III college.

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The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns slide down to #3 after losing to the Lions in the German final. They finished the year with a 16-1 record in Germany. They did get beaten by Swarco in Big 6 play earlier in the season 34-0.

The Dresden Monarchs have moved up to #4 with the highest scoring offense in Germany and also after reaching the semifinals for the fourth straight year.

The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes made the jump from sixth to fifth after advancing to the German semifinals, losing to the eventual champions, the New Yorker Lions. The team started the year slowly but picked up momentum and did not lose a single game after dropping a tight decision to the Lions on May 28. Until they played them again in the playoffs.

The Frankfurt Universe fall one spot to#6 after losing a close, defensive battle to Kiel in the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, they have demonstrated great offense to go along with their tough defense. They only lost two regular season games all year, both to the Unicorns but by close scores.

Austria’s Projekt Spielberg Graz Giants enjoyed an outstanding season and although they were overwhelmed in the Austrian Bowl, they lost to Europe’s #2 team, the Swarco Raiders. They have earned #7.

Holland’s Amsterdam Crusaders at #8 proved they belong in the top 10 after beating both the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes and Hamburg Huskies from Germany in EFL play. They won the Dutch league in dominant fashion going undefeated.

The Berlin Rebels from Germany finish at #9. After surprising the league throughout the year, they seemed to tail off towards the end of the season, suffered a beating at the hands of Braunschweig in the final regular season game of the German season and dropping a tough one to Schwäbisch Hall in the quarterfinals.

The Vienna Vikings (#10) lost the Austrian semifinal to the Project Spielberg Graz Giants but still remain within the Top 10.

The Milano Rhinos from Italy are at #11 after an undefeated season winning the Italian championship going away against the Bolzano Giants 44-18.

Rhinos Milano Campioni IFL 2016

The Wroclaw Panthers (#12) from Poland finished the season on a roll winning the Polish championship in a rout beating the defending champion Gdynia Seahawks 56-13. Wroclaw then went on to win the IFAF Europe Champions League title.

Germany’s Saarland Hurricanes slid one spot to #13 after they scraped into the playoffs and were soundly beaten in the German quarterfinals by the Dresden Monarchs. However, they did beat the Allgäu Comets twice in the regular season and advanced to the German playoffs for the second year in a row.

Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders have earned the #14 spot winning the Swedish championship and going undefeated in Sweden.

The Allgäu Comets drop to #15 after losing their quarterfinal matchup against the eventual German champions, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions as well as four of their last seven games and losing both key games to division rival the Saarland Hurricanes.

Finland’s Helsinki Roosters won their fifth straight Finnish Maple League championship and stay at #16.

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Turkey’s Koc Rams are at #17. They finished the season undefeated in the Turkish league after winning the Turkish championship and they beat Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders in IFAF Europe Champions League play.

Serbia’s Kragujevac Wild Boars remain at #18 after an impressive Serbian Bowl win against SBB Vukovi Belgrade.

The London Warriors won their 4th consecutive BritBowl and were dominant all season in Great Britain. They deserve a Top 20 position.

Rounding out the Top 20 rankings is the St. Ouen Cougars from France after winning the French championships last month for the second year in a row.

Honorable mentions: Triangle Razorbacks, (Denmark), London Blitz (Great Britain), Stuttgart Scorpions (Germany), Hildesheim Invaders (Germany), Bolzano Giants (Italy), Milano Seamen (Italy), Bern Grizzlies (Switzerland), Gdynia Seahawks (Poland), SBB Vukovi Belgrade (Serbia), Prague Black Panthers (Czech Republic), Ljubljana Silverhawks (Slovenia), Badalona Dracs (Spain), Białystok Lowlanders (Poland), Seinäjoki Crocodiles (Finland), Nice Dauphins (France), Copenhagen Towers (Denmark), Uppsala 86ers (Sweden), Prague Lions (Czech Republic).

AFI
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