Big6 tourney finds last club, 2017 table set

After a few weeks of uncertainty and the decline by Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders, the Big6 tournament, formerly acknowledged as the premiere European club tournament, which culminates in the Eurobowl final crowning Europe’s top team, has finally been able to present its 2017 participant list.

After Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders declined to participate in the tournament due to pressure from the Swedish American Football Federation, there was a hole in the table. That has now been filled.

The original starting lineup has not changed much. No surprise is the return of the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions from Germany, defending champions and number one ranked team in Europe.

Joining them from Germany is the Frankfurt Universe in its Big6 tournament debut. Frankfurt made their entrance into the top league in Germany in 2016 with a stunning run into the playoffs.

The third team from Germany is the Berlin Rebels. The Rebels enjoyed a breakout season in 2016. The team improved from 4-8 in 2015 to 10-4 including a win over the eventual German champions, the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in the regular season.

The first surprise is from Italy. The two-time Italian champions, and 2016 IFAF Europe Champions League runners-up Milano Seamen will step onto a major international stage to compete for the Eurobowl championship. This will be the first time an Italian team will compete for the Eurobowl title since 2005 when the Bergamo Lions lost to the Vienna Vikings.

Holland’s Amsterdam Crusaders are another new entry as they enter the Big6 and Eurobowl tournament after a long hiatus. The last time Amsterdam appeared in the Eurobowl was 1993 when they lost to the London Olympians. In fact, the Crusaders played in the Eurobowl final five times winning it in 1991 and 1992.

The final spot will be filled by the Spanish champions, the Badalona Dracs. Badalona won the Spanish title in 2016 in spectacular fashion, going undefeated and overwhelming all of their opponents. The Dracs played in the European Football League – EFL – tournament in 2016 and intended to do the same in 2017 but after receiving the invitation to participate in the Big6, withdrew from the EFL and filled the spot left vacant by the Swedish champion Carlstad Crusaders.

Regarded as the premier club tournament in Europe, the Big6 has featured six of the top teams in Austria, Germany and France since its inception in 2014. The AFI Europe #1 and German champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions won the tournament in 2016 defeating the Swarco Raiders, Austrian champions in the Eurobowl final.

Notably missing from this year’s tournament are any teams from Austria or France.

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