AFI’s Europe Top 20 To Be Released on Monday

On Monday, we will post our first edition of AFI’s Europe Top 20 for 2015.

Although there are other ranking lists for American Football in Europe, and they have been posting already, we like to wait until teams from every country have seen action on the field, in one form or other. This is not a computer generated list.

We watch scores, opponents and live games all over Europe every week. We confer with coaches and experts from throughout the continent. We feel we have the best rankings, but we are of course, open to opinion.

Germany - Braunschweig New Yorker Lions logo2

The German season enters its fifth weekend and we have already seen some surprises. The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns seem to be the team to beat in Germany’s South division and they beat up on the previously undefeated Allgau Comets who had not allowed a point against them in  three games. Where do the Unicorns fit in in the rankings?

Europe’s number one team for most of 2014, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions, have gotten off to a solid start, but dropped a tough game to the Dresden Monarchs, although they were without their starting quarterback Grant Enders. Can they return to the top spot?

The Vienna Vikings from Austria, who finished last year ranked second have already lost two games and playing without any imports do not seem to be the team they were in 2014. And their arch rivals and perennial contenders, the Swarco Raiders Tirol, have already lost three games, two in Austria and one to the New Yorker Lions. Do they belong in the top five?

Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders have picked up where they left off playing dominant football in the Swedish league and also dispensing the defending Champions League and Finnish champions the Helsinki Roosters as well as Danish title holders the Copenhagen Towers. Are they worthy of a spot in the top five?

Carlstad Crusaders logo

Last year’s surprise, Serbia’s Vukovi Belgrade remain undefeated in both Serbian and Champions League play. Where do they stand after losing nine starters from last year’s squad? France’s St. Ouen Cougars are undefeated in the French league while the Thonon Black Panthers, French defending champions, are on a roll and playing very impressively.

Where do the Italian teams stack up? The Lazio Marines and Ancona Dolphins have played extremely well in Italian Football league play and have looked solid. Last year’s defending champion, the Milano Seamen, have lost three games so far this year and do not look as impressive as last year.

The Prague Black Panthers have looked solid in Austrian League play and in Czech league action as well. How high up should they be ranked?

The Wroclaw Panthers in Poland have looked invincible. One of the top running backs in Germany last year, Marcus Sims, is in their backfield and making a difference. Is it time to place a Polish team in the top rankings?

With all this and much more in mind, we will follow the action and produce what we think is an accurate ranking of the top 20 American football teams each week until season’s end.

But we welcome your opinions so please let us know what you think.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.