Can the Stockholm Mean Machines return to greatness in Sweden?

The Stockholm Mean Machines have returned to prominence in Sweden after a dismal half decade in the Swedish Superserien.

Last season, Stockholm finished the year with a record of 6-4 and a spot in the Swedish semifinals where they were ousted by the Orebro Black Knights. It was a remarkable turnaround.

The Mean Machines won more games in 2017 than they did in the previous five years combined. Their record from 2012 through 2016 was a miserable 5-44.

Stockholm last won the Swedish title in 2009, their 10th Swedish championship, and in 2018, following their incredible resurgence, may well be in a position to challenge for it again.

With the return of all star quarterback Anders Hermodsson, the Mean Machines offense will be a serious threat. Hermodsson threw for 1,751 yards and 18 touchdowns in the Swedish league in 2017, his first with the Mean Machines, second only to Carlstad Crusaders quarterback Philip Juhlin.

Hermodsson scrambling against Carlstad Photo: Tommy Andersson

Hermodsson won four straight Swedish titles (2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015) with the Carlstad Crusaders before playing in Italy with the Lazio Marines in 2016. He will have a key target to throw to this year with the signing of All American wide receiver Matthew Retzlaff from Southern Oregon University.

The Mean Machines offense will be run by new offensive coordinator Fred Armstrong whose resume includes the New York Giants and New York Jets. With a head coaching career spanning 22 years, Armstrong started out as the head coach of national teams in Sweden, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic. In 1998, he was awarded the European Federation of American Football (EFAF) Ampro’s Coach of the Year with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League. Armstrong also won three national titles in Sweden. At the collegiate level, Armstrong has worked as an assistant coach for Lehigh University and Framingham State University as well as Waldorf University.

Head Coach Fredrik Pilbäck is optimistic about his team’s chances in 2018 especially with the return of defensive lineman Malcom Engström. Engström is coming off an MVP performance in Sweden’s win over Great Britain in 2017.

He will be joined on the defensive line by New Zealander Lance Tongakilo. Another key returning defensive player is defensive back Omar Fall who anchors the third best secondary in Sweden.

Will the Mean Machines be able to improve on their 6-4 record from 2017, and possibly challenge Carlstad for the Swedish title? That may seem to be a tall order but with the new additions and a quarterback of the caliber of Hermodsson, Stockholm could continue to surprise in 2018.

The Stockholm Mean Machines open their 2018 season at home on April 6 against the newly-promoted Göteborg Marvels.

Thanks to Swedish Football Network.

 

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