Calanda Broncos QB Conner Manning shoots for his second Swiss Bowl title

On Saturday, October 2, Calanda Broncos and former Georgia State quarterback Conner Manning will go toe to toe with the Bern Grizzlies in Swiss Bowl XXXV.

Manning came to Switzerland following an impressive career at Georgia State where he earned the 2016 Sun Belt Conference All-Newcomer, 2017 All-Sun Belt Conference (honorable mention) awards. He led the Panthers to their first-ever Cure Bowl championship, beating Western Kentucky, and earning Bowl MVP honors along the way. But it was his relationship with his former El Toro high school, Utah, and now Calanda head coach, Geoff Buffum, that brought him to Chur:

“I came to Calanda to play for my former high school coach Geoff Buffum. Wherever Buffum was, was where I wanted to play. I’ve fallen in love with this city and team so it was a no brainer to continue my European career here after last season.”

While his success on the field in Europe has remained consistent, his surroundings have not. Coming from a division one program to Swiss football was a culture shock for the young California native:

“From competition wise, and lifestyle they are very different. In college, football is more than a full time job while you’re in school to earn your degree. Out here things are a bit more relaxed for me and I’ve enjoyed that aspect a lot. It’s easier because this is my job, most of the guys are working a nine to five or in school all day. I have all the respect in the world for them because they are making sacrifices each and every day in order to play and achieve personal and team success.”

The Calanda Broncos have been borderline unstoppable over the past decade winning nine of the last 11 Swiss championships – and most in dominant fashion. But this weekend they will play the team that not only beat them in the 2016 Swiss Bowl but also earlier in the season, a game which Manning reflects upon and what it will take to win:

“In the first meeting against Bern they came out quick and we were fighting the whole game from behind. Credit to them, they are a great team, great players and coaches, we anticipate another tough game.

“To win this weekend will be in major part down to the preparation we have throughout the week. We have had some great practices, and will continue to grind and work hard in order to be successful. Our guys are extremely motivated and ready, we anticipate the same from them so it’s going to be an exciting game.”

It is unlikely that the Broncos will take the Grizzlies for granted again as they did earlier in the season, but whether they can secure their 15th Swiss Bowl title against a quarterback – Clark Evans – who won them two championships in 2017 and 2018, is another question. Either way, sparks are sure to fly in this highly anticipated championship game.

Watch the game live here. Bern Grizzlies vs Calanda Broncos, Oct. 2, 18:00 CET (6 pm, 12 noon ET)


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.