ELF Championship signal callers: Rhein Fire QB Jadrian Clark took a winding path to the title game

This weekend, the Rhein Fire will face off against the Stuttgart Surge in the European League of Football (ELF) Championship Game. Confidently leading the Fire into the Championship game will be quarterback Jadrian Clark.

Clark is currently leading the league in just about every passing category. His insane 53 passing touchdowns is nearly double the next man down. But there was once upon a time when Clark wasn’t considered the GOAT of the ELF.

Clark’s first few years in Europe began well. He spent time in the GFL, where he reached the 2019 German Bowl with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, and in the GFL2 with the Kirchdorf Wildcats, where he won the GFL2 title. Clark quickly made a name for himself as one of the premier quarterbacks in Germany which led to him spending a year in Austria before his first ELF season in 2021.

The Sea Devils gave Clark his first ELF opportunity back in 2021 in its inaugural season. Over nine games, Clark threw for 1,380 yards, 15 touchdowns and ten interceptions. It was hardly a career season, but it was enough to get Hamburg to the Championship game. Clark played one of his best games of the season in the final but lost in the dying moments of the game 32–30.

Clark was then relegated to the GFL2 with the Lubeck Cougars after failing to find another ELF team for the 2022 season. Clark led the Cougars to a 4–2 record to begin the season, throwing for 1,150 yards and 13 touchdowns. It was around this time that the Rhein Fire found themselves in need of a quarterback after an injury to Matt Adam. Clark leaped at the opportunity to get back into the ELF and played out the rest of the season under the tutelage of Head Coach Jim Tomsula.

While with the Fire in 2022, Clark performed admirably. While his opponents weren’t the toughest (Kings, Centurions and Rams), he still proved formidable and threw for 2,120 yards, 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions, finishing with a 3–3 record.

But during the offseason the Fire went on a signing rampage. They successfully went after some of the biggest European imports as well as extending some of the Americans. The hype began growing around the Fire and as soon as the season kicked off, it was apparent that they and Clark were for real.

In his Week 3 performance against the Paris Musketeers, Clark threw for 513 yards, eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. It is these types of performances that have led to his outrageous stats and an unbeaten record. The Fire cruised in the playoffs, comfortably dispatching the Frankfurt Galaxy 42–23, a game in which Clark threw four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

With the Championship Game set to take place in Duisburg, just a stone’s throw away from Dusseldorf, Clark is charging towards, what is effectively, a home game, with one of the most complete rosters in ELF has ever seen. In addition to Clark’s outstanding arsenal of weapons, he’s playing probably the best football of his European career. It’s hard to imagine a world where he doesn’t leave with a ring and an MVP title.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.