8 Teams Vie for Austrian Football League (AFL) 2016 Title

Behind a brand new look, the Austrian Football League kicks off this weekend. Eight teams will battle for the title instead of five as there was last season.

The three new teams include the two 2015 finalists of Austria’s Division 1 (second division) the Cineplexx Blue Devils (Hohenems) and Mödling Rangers, along with Slovenia’s top team, the Ljubljana Silverhawks. They will join the defending champion Swarco Raiders, the Vienna Vikings, Prague Black Panthers, Danube Dragons and the Project Spielberg Graz Giants.

So most teams will play at least 10 games in the regular season. Add to that two wild card games, semi-finals and the Austrian Bowl XXXII, and the champion will play 13 games at minimum. However, the Raiders will play in the Big6 tournament as well as the Battle4Tirol so they could finish the season having played 19 games. The Prague Black Panthers will play, besides the Austrian regular season, 10 games in the Czech league plus a possible championship final so if they win both leagues, they will have played a 24 game season in total.

The Danube Dragons will play IFAF Europe Champions League so if they win both titles they will have played 18 games. The Vienna Vikings who play in the Big6 could conceivably play 17 games. By comparison, the Super Bowl winning team in the NFL plays a maximum of 20 games.

There are two games on tap Saturday, March 26. The Ljubljana Silverhawks will host the Graz Giants while the Swarco Raiders travel to Prague to face the Black Panthers. The opening weekend continues Easter Monday with the Mödling Rangers and Cineplexx Blue Devils continuing their rivalry, while in the battle for Vienna, the Danube Dragons and Vienna Vikings will tangle.

Austrian playoffs are scheduled for July 16-17 and Austrian Bowl XXXII takes place July 23.

Here then, are the eight teams vying for the Austrian title.

Austria - Swarco Raiders logoSwarco Raiders

Head Coach: Shuan Fatah (GER)
Home field:
Tivoli Innsbruck or Gernot Langes Stadion Wattens
Championships: 4 x winners of the Austrian Bowl, 3 x Euro Bowl, 1 x European Cup

Austria - Vikings logoVienna Vikings

Head Coach: Chris Calaycay (USA)
Home field:
FAC Place Vienna
Championships: 13 x Austrian Bowl, 5 x Euro Bowl

Austria - Prague Black Panthers logoPrague Black Panthers

Head Coach: Jim Ward (USA)
Home field:
Stadium Slavia Prague
Championships: 12 times Czech champion, 1x European Cup

Austria - Danube dragons logo.2Danube Dragons

Head Coach: Ivan Zivko (AUT)
Home field:
Stadium Stadlau Vienna
Championships: Austrian Bowl 2010

Austria - Graz logo.2Project Spielberg Graz Giants

Head Coach: Martin Kocian (CZE)
Home field:
ASKÖ Eggenberg Graz
Championships: 10 x Austrian Bowl, 3 x European Cup

Austria - Ljubjana Silverhawks logoLjubljana Silverhawks

Head Coach: Rok Stamcar
Home Stadium:
Sportpark ZAK or Kodeljevo Ljubljana
Championships: 1 x CEFL Bowl, since 2009 won every Slovenian championship

Austria - Cineplexx Blue Devils logoCineplexx Blue Devils

Head coach: Tyler Harlow (USA)
Home field:
Stadium Herrenried Hohenems
Achievements: 3 x Silver Bowl (Division 1), 1 x Iron Bowl (Division 2), 3 x Challenge Bowl (Division 3)

Austria - logo - MödlingMödling Rangers

Head Coach: Armin Schneider
Home field:
Stadium Mödlingnbsp
Achievements: 2 x Silver Bowl (Division 1), 2 x Iron Bowl (Division 2)

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