AFI’s All-Pandemic Team: DE – James Brooks, IBM Big Blue

After viewing a video of James Brooks manhandling an opposition quarterback after taking care of the offensive lineman assigned to deal with him, the AFI All-Pandemic Team panel of judges did not need much more convincing.

The group was already well aware of the 32 year old 6’5″, 270 pound native of Flagstaff, Arizona and Arizona State alum. Brooks has been dominating offensive linemen since he first played abroad in Germany for the Cologne Falcons in 2013. His journey took him to Japan in 2014 and he has played for IBM Big Blue in Japan’s Xleague Super ever since. he has been All League in virtually every season, including this last one although his team went winless in the three games. For many years, he doubled up playing in both Europe and Japan. Following his season in Germany, Brooks played in Poland for Kozly Poznan (2014, 2015) and the Czech Republic with the Prague Lions (2016-18). In 2019, he served as the defensive coordinator for the Prague Black Panthers who reached the Austrian Football League semifinals.

IBM head coach Kevin Craft:

“James is a natural talent as a player, he has the size and athletic ability that everyone looks for, but also has a work ethic to train himself to become a truly dominant player. When you combine that with his knowledge of the game, it makes him the outstanding player he is today. He has a great competitive streak, and when we practice, we often say ‘I’m glad he’s on our side’.”

AFI All-Pandemic Team panel:

“His imposing presence seems to intimidate offensive linemen and teams routinely use double teams to deal with Brooks. His veteran savvy and experience, coupled with his physical stature and explosion as well as his impact on the field, make him an obvious choice for the All-Pandemic Team.”


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