Can You Win With a European Quarterback?

Editor’s note: Although this article was written in 2015, the question remains relevant today. Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns QB Marco Ehrenfried has now won a German championship. Who is the next top European quarterback? 

 How Good Can European Quarterbacks Be?

When we think of the quarterback position, we think of a player who is not only an accomplished athlete, but who has exceptionally good game intelligence. More than anyone else on the field we expect that he has been weaned on football since the day he was born.

NFL legend Joe Namath - Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

NFL legend Joe Namath – Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

What happens then when a quarterback has not grown up in a small football-crazy town in Pennsylvania, like Joe Namath or Texas, where Drew Brees is from?

What happens when he has grown up in the suburbs of Paris, in a village in Norway, or Sweden or Germany?

Answer: It depends on the person.

In recent years, a number of exciting young quarterbacks have proven that nationality or where one has grown up have no bearing on how a person performs at that position. Admittedly, it will be a long time before we see a Finnish, Norwegian or Italian quarterback in the NFL, but players with nationalities other than American or Canadian and different experiences than North American experiences, have long since proven that you can win in good American football leagues with a local guy too.

Anders Hermodsson

Anders Hermodsson

Sometimes coaches find ways to win where the quarterback plays a less prominent role, but at other times they also prove that European quarterbacks can air the ball out, guiding a potent aerial attack.

Germany’s Marco Ehrenfried, who is the quarterback for German Bowl finalist for the past three years, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, may stand as a good example of the latter. Although he has not won the German title, he has one of the best winning percentages of all quarterbacks in Europe and while playing for the German national team and for his team during the German season this season (where he led all passers), he has proven that he qualitatively can outperform import players at the quarterback position.

Ehrenfried’s 4,053 yards passing, 49 touchdowns through the air (with only 13 interceptions) and 64% completion percentage demonstrates that he helps the team get better, and is not a player who hurts his team’s chances.

Christoph Gross

Christoph Gross

And he’s not alone.

Austrian Christoph Gross, who has now hung up his cleats in spite of his young age, Denmark’s Alexander Cimadon (also retired) and Sweden’s Anders Hermodsson can all stand as examples of quarterbacks who have risen to the tops of their leagues where most quarterbacks are North American and been able to help their teams win too.

In Norway as well, there have been a number of exciting homegrown quarterbacks in recent years. Eivind Brekke with the Eidsvoll 1814s and Pål Dannevig with the AFC Show are two.

Back to Germany and Schwäbisch Hall.  Their starting quarterback, Marco Ehrenfried as mentioned had an outstanding season in 2017. Take a look at him in action from 2014 below!

2014 Highlights Marco Ehrenfried

Can you win with a European quarterback?

Yes, you definitely can.


JM Henriksen is a football coach in Norway. He currently spends most his time writing for the Norwegian-language website . Henriksen first got involved in football in 1989, and has been coaching several club teams as well as the