AFI’s Year-End Europe Top 25 rankings countdown continues with #20-11

We continue AFI’s countdown of the top 25 teams in Europe with the next installation.

The AFI team is proud to present our Year-End Europe Top 25 countdown. This year’s rankings were difficult as we covered all of Europe’s top teams and top leagues across the continent.

Our six-man panel includes former and current players and coaches and we have carefully reviewed all the teams and games in Europe. You may not agree with all the picks. We get that so feel free to send in your comments and there are usually plenty of them. See rankings 25-21 here:

Using the NCAA AP ranking points system, we have arrived at the Top 25 teams in Europe. Today we’ll continue the list by taking a look at the rankings 20-11.

20 – Munich Cowboys (2022 Record: 8-2-1)

Munich finished second in the GFL South and lost a nail-biter 31-34 to the Cologne Crocodiles in the first round of the playoffs. The Cowboys finished the regular season with an impressive record as Nadine Nuraysid was named GFL Coach of the Year.

19 – Berlin Adler (2022 Record: 6-5)

The Adler qualified for the GFL playoffs, finishing fourth in the tough GFL North behind the leadership of head coach Shuan Fatah. The Adler had impressive wins against the Dresden Monarchs and Cologne Crocodiles and gave the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns one of their closest games all season in the playoffs.

18 – Braunschweig New Yorker Lions (2022 Record: 6-5)

Injuries held back a talented Lions squad this year as both Jacob Parks and GFL legend Casey Therriault played behind center for coach Troy Tomlin this summer. Impressive wins included sweeping the defending champion Dresden Monarchs and beating the Berlin Adler and Cologne Crocodiles.

17 – Vienna Danube Dragons (2022 Record: 11-1)

The Dragons lost a head coach and multiple domestic and import players this year. Despite the tumultuous season, Danube hoisted their first ever Austrian Bowl trophy this year with the help of long-time Dragon quarterback, Chad Jeffries. Their ability to fight through adversity and remain malleable was undoubtedly what led to them being the most dominant team in the Austrian domestic league.

16 – Stockholm Mean Machines (2022 Record: 12-0)

Led by new quarterback Mark Pappas, the Mean Machines went unbeaten in 2022, taking home the Swedish Championship dominating all opponents during the short Superserien season while also comfortably handling the teams in the Scandinavian Cup. Stockholm downed the Norwegian champion Oslo Vikings on the way to hoisting the first annual Scandinavian Cup. 

15: Wroclaw Panthers: (2022 Record: 5-7)

Wroclaw’s record wasn’t amazing; However, the team was still loaded with both import and domestic talent. The Panthers played well against some of best teams in Europe losing to the Frankfurt Galaxy (29-30) and Hamburg Sea Devils (23-26) by razor thin margins. Injuries also played a role in the underwhelming record as they seemed to be just a play or two away in many games. 

14 – Cologne Crocodiles (2022 Record: 8-4)

The Cologne Crocodiles rode one the GFL’s top offenses to an impressive record and a semifinals appearance. The Crocodiles earned wins against solid teams in the Munich Cowboys, New Yorker Lions, and Dresden Monarchs. Cologne advanced to the German Football League semifinals defeating the Munich Cowboys in the first round of the playoffs, before falling to the Potsdam Royals. 

13 – Berlin Thunder (2022 Record: 7-5)

Simply put, the Thunder were one of the best teams in the ELF to not make the playoffs right behind the Frankfurt Galaxy. Berlin had the third best defense statistically which paired well with a run first offense. They were able to notch big wins against Wroclaw Panthers, Leipzig Kings, and Cologne Centurions. However, they were beaten handily by the Hamburg Sea Devils and Tirol Raiders.

12 – La Courneuve Flash (2022 Record 13-2)

The La Courneuve Flash were without a doubt the best team in France in 2022.  After a 9-1 regular season in league play, they won the FFFA title by defeating the Thononlesbains Black Panthers in the championship game.  They put up a fight against the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns in CEFL competition as well.  Unfortunately, questions have risen about their future with the birth of the Paris Football Team in the ELF

11 – Milano Seamen (2022 Record: 9-1)

The Milano Seamen have been Italy’s premier team for the better part of the decade showcasing high quality youth development and a professional approach to the game. They have won five of the last eight Italian Bowls and will rightly take their place in Europe’s best league, the European League of Football in 2023.

Stay tuned for the AFI Top Ten in Europe coming soon, see numbers 25-21 here.

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