The Danish American Football Federation kicks off its National League this weekend with seven teams vying to win Mermaid Bowl XXXI.
One team is new to the league, the Odense Badgers who replace the Copenhagen Tomahawks.. The Copenhagen Towers will be looking to three-peat as Danish champions with the chief challengers being the Triangle Razorbacks and Aarhus Tigers. Dark horse contenders include the Søllerød Gold Diggers. The Frederikssund Oaks, Aalborg 89ers and the Badgers would have to be considered long shots to make the playoffs.
Aalborg 89ers (2018: 5-5)
The Aalborg 89ers finished the 2018 season with a 5-5 record, reaching the Danish semifinals after beating the Frederikssund Oaks in the wild card playoffs, 27-0. Aalborg were defeated by the Copenhagen Towers in the semifinal game 49-18.
The 89ers will be in tough but all they likely need to do is win three games to at least make the wild card playoffs.
Aarhus Tigers (2018: 7-3)
The Tigers, who were second place finishers in the league with a 7-3 record in 2018, were surprisingly bounced out of the semifinals by the Triangle Razorbacks, 16-14. This season they have added reinforcements in the form of quarterback Tim Morovick (Ottawa University) who played for the Wroclaw Panthers in Poland in 2018 and 2017 when he helped them win their second straight Polish title in 2017 while earning the league’s most valuable player award. He spent the 2016 campaign with the Albershausen Crusaders in Germany. Also returning to the team is defensive back/running back Ricky Stevens. Stevens led the Finnish league in rushing in 2017 while playing for the Porvoo Butchers.
Aarhus seems ready to challenge for the title again.
Copenhagen Towers (2018: 10-0 Champions)
Copenhagen, who lost only one game in 2018, to Austria’s Swarco Raiders in the NEFL/CEFLchampionship final, enter the game with a new quarterback, Danny Higgins from Bridgewater State University. The club has also signed running back Ashton Heard from North Greenville University.
Expect the Towers to be in the hunt again in 2019.
Frederikssund Oaks (2018: 3-7)
The Oaks, who finished their very first season in Denmark’s top league with a 3-7 record, have signed a pair of imports, linebacker Isiah Carter from the University of Southern Oregon and defensive lineman Darion Simmons from McKendree University. ‘They have also added an import quarterback, Jimmy Walker from Robert Morris University. Clearly, this is a team determined to improve on their 2018 finish. Can they get beyond the wild card playoffs?
Odense Badgers (New to National League)
Odense is new to the top league in Denmark this season having won the Danish division 2 title. The team has a pair of imports including Jawaugn Arnold, a 6’5″, 300 lb offensive lineman who played for the Badgers in 2018. Arnold has also played for Sweden’s Orebro Black Knights (2016) and the La Courneuve Flash in France where he helped them win the French championship. Odense has also signed RB Raymond Bradley (Iowa State) who has spent the past three season playing in Brazil for the Bulls Portiguars, Porto Alegre Pumpkins and UFERSA Petroleiros. He first came to Europe with the Trnava Bulldogs in the Czech league in 2015.
For a new team, the Badgers look like they are aiming beyond the wild card playoffs. They could surprise.
Søllerød Gold Diggers (2018: 3-7)
The Gold Diggers struggled through a 3-7 season in 2018, still reaching the wild card playoffs where they were ousted by the Triangle Razorbacks 45-16. The team is aiming much higher for 2019 and have signed Nick Rooney (Adams State University) at quarterback, Desmond Cooper at defensive back and Griffin Norberg (Valparaiso University) at wide receiver. Cooper played for the Wroclaw Panthers in Poland in 2018.
This is definitely a team which could challenge for the title.
Triangle Razorbacks (2018: 7-3)
The Triangle Razorbacks came so close to winning the Mermaid Bowl in 2018, being beaten by the Copenhagen Towers 23-22 on a late touchdown. Triangle had surprised all the experts after losing badly to the Towers only weeks before. Nevertheless, the seven-time champions have regrouped and intend to return to the title game.
Look for the Razorbacks to challenge for the championship against this season.