AFI’s Way Too Early ELF Power-Rankings: The Top Five revealed (1–5)

Earlier this week, AFI’s European League of Football Panel announced the launch of its Way Too Early ELF Power Rankings revealing the spots 106

and spots 17-11.

Now that same panel will show which five teams have topped the rankings placing themselves 15.

1. Rhein Fire

The Fire began last season on a high but their 2022 season was quickly derailed following a quarterback change that they never really recovered from. However, this past off-season the Fire have come out guns blazing and secured some of the best talent in Europe to help bolster an already solid American import group.

With the signings the Fire have made, there will be little they can’t do on either side of the ball. And with former NFL Head Coach Jim Tomsula and the biggest fanbase in Europe, the ELF Championship will be theirs to lose this year.

2. Vienna Vikings

The Vienna Vikings were the most complete team in the ELF in 2022. This showed dividends as they cruised their way to the championship game, and ultimately the title. 

To make matters worse for their opponents, they haven’t actually lost any of the team that got them there, and if anything, added a quarterback in Chris Helbig who can offer their offense more dynamism. The only reason they precariously sit at number two is because the other teams in the league have had such aggressive off-seasons.

Check out AFI’s Cover 7 State of Franchise – Vienna Vikings Here:

3. Stuttgart Surge

For anyone who watched the first two years of ELF and ignored the off-season, Stuttgart sitting at three would be bewildering as they only won two games. But what the Surge have done is remarkable. They have effectively convinced the European powerhouse Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns to pack their bags and head down the road to Stuttgart.

The charge will be led by former Unicorns Head Coach Jordan Neuman (who last year strongly sided with the GFL over the ELF) who has pulled out his black book on contacts and corralled all the best players who have ever passed through Schwäbisch Hall. On top of this, they have the standouts that played for the Surge last year too.

Despite the team having gone through an overwhelmingly tumultuous past 12 months, Neuman will surely be the man to help them weather the storm and come out the other side as ELF’s dark horse.

Check out AFI’s Cover 7 State of Franchise – Stuttgart Surge Here:

4. Paris Musketeers

ELF’s two most exciting players to watch last year were arguably quarterback Zach Edwards and receiver Kyle Sweet. The pair tore the league up and forged the way for the Barcelona Dragons to the playoffs in 2022. Both Sweet and Edwards are now sitting in Paris as part of the new kid on the block.

Paris has often been referred to as an untapped source for talent and athleticism in Europe. It will be on Head Coach Marc Matiolli to mold what should be one of the most explosive teams in ELF. The Paris Flash will undoubtedly make up a large percentage of the team’s roster due to proximity, but with French football often flying under the radar, on the whole the team remains somewhat of an unknown. 

Check out AFI’s Cover 7 State of Franchise – Paris Musketeers Here:

5. Hamburg Sea Devils

The Sea Devils were a one-trick-pony last year: an outstanding run game and suffocating defense. Their formula was so finely tuned that they made their way to the final for a second year in a row. But their predictability in the final proved to be their undoing as they had little else to offer when the run-game got stuffed.

This year however, the Sea Devils have diversified. They have brought in European coaching veteran Brett Morgan as their Offensive Coordinator to add a level of dynamism the team hasn’t seen before.

Despite losing some key Europeans on both sides of the ball, the team has added a number of Germans with college experience as well as former Oklahoma Baptist (NCAA, DI) quarterback Preston Haire and former NFL, CFL and XFL defensive back Deion Harris.

Check out AFI’s Cover 7 State of Franchise – Hamburg Sea Devils Here:

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.