Belgian American Football League kicks off 33rd season

The Belgian American Football League, BAFL, kicks off its 33rd season Sunday with the same eight-team format they have had since 2017.

The Brussels Black Angels, winners of the last three Belgian crowns, will be challenged in 2020 by the Limburg Shotguns, Liege Monarchs, Ostend Pirates, Charleroi Coal Miners, Brussels Tigers, Antwerp Argonauts and the returning Ghent Gators.

The Belgian Bowl is scheduled for the weekend of June 27/28.

Brussels Black Angels (2019: 9-0, Belgian champions)

The powerhouse of the league for the past half decade, the Black Angels have won four of the past five Belgian titles and have lost only one game in that time span. They are on a 27 game winning streak in Belgium. The last time they lost a game was in the 2016 final when the Ostend Pirates upset them 16-15.

Expect more dominance in 2020.

Limburg Shotguns (2019: 8-1, Belgian Finalists)

With the arrival of All-Europe running back Jaycen Taylor in 2018, the Shotguns have reached the last two Belgian championship game. They have lost just five games in the past two seasons, four to the Black Angels. Taylor is back strictly as a player this season and with a revamped coaching staff, Limburg will be dangerous.

Liege Monarchs (2019: 7-4-1, Belgian Semifinalists)

The Liege Monarchs were a surprise semifinalist in 2019 but the best of a weak field behind the Black Angels and Shotguns. They made the playoffs with a 3-3-1 record but it was their best record since 2015.

Ostend Pirates (2019: 3-5-0) Belgian Semifinalists)

The Ostend Pirates are a perennial playoff team. Since 2014 they have reached the semifinals five times and won the championship once, in 2016. They made it to the semifinal round again in 2019 only to fall to Limburg.

Will this be the year they repeat the magic of 2016?

Charleroi Coal Miners (2019: 3-4-0)

The Coal Miners are entering their third season in Belgium’s top league and have shown steady improvement but have still not been able to crack the .500 winning record barrier.

Brussels Tigers (2019: 3-4-0)

The Tigers suffered their worst season in a decade in 2019 with a below .500 record for the first time in recent memory. It was the first year in a decade they did not reach the playoffs. This is the most successful team in Belgium outside of the Black Angels and since 2010 have won the title twice (2012 and 2013), reached the final four times and made it to the semifinal stage three times.

Can they regain any of their former glory in 2020?

Antwerp Argonauts (2019: 2-4-1)

This will be the fourth year in Belgian’s top league for the Argonauts and hopefully better than last year. In 2019, Antwerp struggled through a rough season after showing vast improvement in 2018 when they reached the semifinals.

Can they bounce back in 2020?

Ghent Gators (2019: New to the league)

The Ghent Gators return to Belgium’s top league for the first time since 2017 when they relegated to the second division for forfeiting a game. It took two tried to regain their status in the BAFL. The Gators won the title in 2014 and prior to their bump to the lower ranks were a perennial contender.

Expect Ghent to be back challenging for a playoff spot in 2020.

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