ELF: 2023 season schedule & playoff format

Shortly following the announcement of the Istanbul Rams pulling out of the league and its three new conferences, the European League of Football announced its scheduling plan and playoff formats for the 2023 season.

Let’s dive into the regular season schedule format and post-season expansion below:

Regular Season Schedule

Twelve games over 14 weeks is the premise for the 2023 European League of Football schedule. Most games will be conference play as each team will face their conference opponents twice.  The league’s three conferences (Eastern, Central, and Western) are however uneven as the league has 17 teams.

In order to fill out the gap and create a 12-game schedule, the Western Conference (which has only five teams, compared to six in the Eastern and Central) will play two separate home and home series games against a team out of the Eastern or Central Conference.

In order to keep one of Europe’s best American football rivalries alive, the league has set up a home-and-home series between the two Austrian powerhouses, the Raiders Tirol and Vienna Vikings. This will be the only game between Eastern and Central conference teams.

See all inter-conference matchups below:

via ELF

There seems to be a bit of luck in this, as some teams will have more favorable matchups in this format. While fans will be treated to what could be great games between quickly rising teams like Paris and Stuttgart, or the Rhein Fire and Helvetic Guards.

New Playoff Format – More Football!

Due to popular demand, the European League of Football will expand its post-season to six teams following the format used by the NFL from 1990 – 2020. Playoff seeds three through six will play in a Wild Card round in the opening week of the postseason. This will be followed by the semifinals where the winners will meet the first and second seeds coming off of a bye. The winners of those games will advance to the championship game in Duisburg, Germany on September 24th.

Other Notes:

  • Conference champions will be ranked #1 to #3
  • The best remaining teams will be ranked #4 to #6
  • Seed #1 and #2 will have a first-round bye and automatically move to the semi-finals

via ELF

Playoff Tie Breakers

If teams are tied by the number of wins, the following tiebreakers will determine the post-season position:

1.     Head-to-head matchups

2.     Points difference in head-to-head matchups

3.     Points scored in head-to-head matchups

4.     Pointes scored at away games of head-to-head matchups

5.     Total points difference

6.     Total points scored

7.     Points scored at away games

8.     Last resort! A dramatic coin toss performed by the Commissioner or a person determined by the Commissioner, Friday Night Lights Style! 

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and