ELF: Homegrown Hero Series – Rhein Fire fan favorite Patrick Poetsch getting ready for Championship Game

The Championship Game is upon us in the European League of Football. As only two teams remain looking to raise the 2023 trophy, we’ll continue to highlight the league’s best international players, as the ELF Homegrown Hero series aims to shine a light on those players outside of the US and Canada making an impact on the ELF and maybe even becoming champions this season.

The Rhein Fire have been the class of the European League of Football as they look to put the cherry on top of a perfect season this Sunday in the championship. One of their biggest keys to success has been their dominant and physical run game led by the league’s strongest offensive line and a stable of running backs including 2022 league-leading rusher Glen Toonga.

Another key component in the well-oiled machine that is the Fire’s run game is veteran fullback and fan favorite Patrick Peotsch, While the fullback position may be dying off in the NFL. Poetsch has been opening holes in the ELF as a physical blocker and surprising defenses with soft hands and receiving ability since the league’s first season.

The 33-year-old fullback has been loved by fans for his passionate style of play and seemed to have been fully embraced by the rowdy Rhein Fire faithful as he made the change to the Düsselldorf team after one season with the Cologne Centurions. This year, the 5’10 260-pound fullback has been a fun wrinkle to watch in the Fire offense scoring three receiving touchdowns while continuing to pave the way for the league’s best rushing attack. 

Peotsch sat down with AFI for a quick Q&A on his football journey and his thoughts on the upcoming 2023 Championship Game.

AFI: How did you start playing football?

Peotsch: Funny story, my mom forced me. Plain and simple, she said I got to go to the summer camp from my local team Remscheid Amboss, I said no, and she said if I don’t go I won’t get any allowances.

AFI: What is your goal through the sport?

Peotsch: My goal is to become the best version of myself and help my team in any function possible. I want to compete against the best players possible here in Europe.

AFI: What’s your favorite football memory so far?

Peotsch: This is a tough one, there are so many compiled through the years. One of my favorites though is leading the St Poelten Invaders to the win in overtime in 2016 as an import player.

AFI: What’s the future of Football in Germany?

Peotsch: The future is bright here with the ELF. But there is so much to do, and I am happy that league and federation actually speak with each other instead of fighting. 

AFI: How does it feel to be be a fan favorite in the elf? 

Peotsch: In all honesty, it feels unreal. I appreciate each and every fan who is cheering for my team and me! But I will always be just Patrick.

AFI: Who did play for before joining the Centurions in 2021?

Peotsch: Oh jeez, that’s a handful, but here we go, Remscheid Amboss Youth, Gulf Islands Secondary School (BC, Canada), Remscheid Amboss Seniors, Bonn Gamecocks, Düsseldorf Panther, Solingen Paladins, William Penn University, St Poelten Invaders, Amstetten Thunder (both Austrian), and the German National team.

AFI: How would you describe your role in the Rhein Fire team? 

Peotsch: My role with Rhein Fire is simple, be where I need to be and do what is asked of me. blocking, snapping, catching, you name it. Also, as a veteran to help my guys to keep their composure.

AFI: What made you choose the Rhein Fire?

Peotsch: I love what the organization established in year 1, so for me going for year 2 was pretty much a very reasonable and fitting choice. Coach Weidinger and Tomsula also may play a big role in why I chose to stay with Rhein Fire besides the great fans and organization.

AFI: How do you balance football and work?

Peotsch: It is very challenging for me. Working in petrochemistry doesn’t make it easy. It takes planning and sacrifice to fulfill both jobs. But to me, it’s worth it.

AFI: What’s it like playing for Jim Tomsula? 

Peotsch: I love playing for Coach Tomsula! He respects his players and pushes us where we need to be pushed. I love how he treats everyone, beginning with staff and fans with respect and admiration. And besides his great football knowledge, he knows how to handle life.

AFI: How’s it been being part of the Rhein Fire this season? 

Peotsch: I love it! Wouldn’t trade it for any other team. With this group of people, I’d do it all over again.

AFI: What do you do outside of football? 

Peotsch: I like to play Warhammer 40.000 and play on my computer with my friends. Funny story a few of my friends in the League play it as well. For example #94 Berend Grube from Hamburg or #43 Ben Spiess from Surge play Warhammer 40K with me. But I also like to be social and go out here and there.

AFI: What would a championship mean to you this year? 

Peotsch: A championship means everything this year. All the hard work that has been put in means nothing if we don’t win it.

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