ELF: Central Conference offseason preview

With less than a week before the offseason officially begins on November 1st, teams across the European League of Football are mapping out their offseason plans.  Continuing on our series of identifying what each organization needs to do this offseason to improve, here is a look at the Central Conference teams.  

Frankfurt Galaxy

After winning the ELF championship in the league’s inaugural campaign, the Frankfurt Galaxy missed the playoffs last year in a disappointing season.  The Galaxy ranked slightly above average in most categories on both sides of the ball last season, but it was not enough to earn them a postseason berth.  One area that the team struggled in was forcing turnovers, as they ranked 9th out of 12 teams in that category with 22 turnovers forced on the season.  As such, if there was one area to address in the offseason, it would be bringing in some playmaking defenders that could help them make big plays on defense and shift momentum in games.

Stuttgart Surge

Through two seasons in the ELF, the Stuttgart Surge have won just two games, as they followed a 2-8 season in their first year with a brutal 0-12 campaign this past year.  Needless to say, the Surge should look for upgrades all over the roster.  However, the Surge have already secured a major victory this offseason, as the team recently announced the hiring of Jordan Neuman as head coach.  Neuman had previously been the coach of the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, one of the prominent teams in the German Football League for the past decade.  After being named coach in late 2016, Neuman took the Unicorns to the next five German Bowls, winning three of them, including this season’s championship game on October 8th.  Neuman and his staff will have the task of reshaping the Surge organization as the team tries to find some success next season.

Tirol Raiders

In their first season in the ELF, the Raiders earned a wild card berth in the playoffs before falling to the Hamburg Sea Devils in the semifinals.  While the season was a successful one for the team from Innsbruck, Austria, there is work to be done in the offseason.  Sean Shelton, the Raiders’ quarterback last season who won the league’s MVP award, has retired, so the Raiders’ top priority needs to be finding a replacement for Shelton who could pick up where he left off.  Last season, the Raiders’ ranked highly in virtually all offensive and defensive categories, so they should do what they can to bring their core players back.  If there was one position (outside of quarterback) to potentially add a standout player to the mix, it would be at pass rusher, as the Raiders defense was in the bottom half of the league last year in sacks.

Vienna Vikings

Last month, the Vienna Vikings completed a dream first season in the ELF by winning in the championship game to claim the league crown.  With such a well-structured and balanced roster, there is little doubt that the Vikings will be highly competitive again next season.  However, they know that the rest of the league will be trying to knock them off, so they should look to bolster their roster in the offseason.  Vienna should try to land a big-time player or two, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.  The Vikings’ biggest weakness as a team last year (if we’re being nit-picky) was a lack of forced turnovers, as they ranked 3rd from the bottom in the league in that category, just ahead of Stuttgart and Istanbul, so a disruptive defensive player could help them improve in that area.  Ultimately, though, the Vikings’ top priority should be bringing their key players from last year’s championship team back.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.