ELF Expansion: Rhein Fire reignited

Yesterday the European League of Football announced the addition of the Düsseldorf Rhein Fire to the league for the 2022 season.

ELF‘s managing sports director Zeljko Karajica is thrilled to add the city Düsseldorf as the league’s newest franchise host:

“Düsseldorf is a city with a great football tradition, people love the mix of top-class sport and spectacle. That’s why we had also decided to hold our Bowl in the MERKUR SPIEL Arena. The location played a role in our planning from the and we are very happy that Rhein Fire will be competing in the European League of Football from 2022.“

The Rhein Fire has a historic place in the European American football scene as one of NFL Europe’s top franchises from 1995-2007. During that time, Düsseldorf reached the World Bowl five times claiming the title twice. The team also featured stars such as James Harrison, Fred Jackson, Danny Wuerffel, Tee Martin, Terry Crews, and John David Washington.

ELF‘s newest franchise becomes the sixth recalibrated NFL Europe franchise in ELF, alongside the Hamburg Sea Devils, Cologne Centurions, Frankfurt Galaxy, Berlin Thunder, and Barcelona Dragons.

Commissioner Patrick Esume on reigniting the once highly successful NFL Europe team:

 “At the end of the 1990s to the beginning of the 2000s, Düsseldorf was one of the best things that European football had to offer. We had some battles there. The atmosphere in the stadium was gigantic, every game a happening. So I can hardly wait to see the new team in our European League of Football.“

Former Pittsburgh Steelers edge defender James Harrison as a member of the Rhein Fire in 2004

The European League of Football will give fans their first taste of football in Düsseldorf as the capital of North RhineWestphalia will host the league’s inaugural championship game this afternoon. Düsseldorf has been mentioned as one of the top potential expansion sites for months as league officials have repeatedly expressed interest in the metropolis of over half a million inhabitants with an affinity for American football.

The addition of the former two-time World Bowl champions was hardly the only news yesterday, as the league also announced the addition of the Austrian powerhouse teams the Swarco Raiders and Dacia Vienna Vikings. With a total of 11 teams at the moment, commissioner Patrick Esume is eager to continue growing Europe’s most international league promising more expansion news soon:

“The league will grow until the start of the 2022 season, more teams will follow, that’s for sure. Düsseldorf Rhein Fire is number nine, but there will be at least twelve franchises competing, maybe even more. We are in promising talks and will be able to announce news promptly,”

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football