Finnish Maple Bowl: Helsinki Roosters vs Kuopio Steelers – the QBs speak out

When the Maple Bowl kicks off on Sunday, it will be a meeting of the two best offenses in Finland.

The Kuopio Steelers and Helsinki Roosters are the top two teams in both scoring and total offense, a major factor in why each blew past their semi-final opponents a week ago.

A big reason why is their quarterback situation, where both teams have highly efficient starters. For the Steelers, import Joey Bradley has stepped in seamlessly for the defending champions and supplemented Kuopio’s aggressive running game. Since jumping to Finland from the Czech league, Bradley has completed 114-of-186 passes for a league-leading 61.3 percent completion rate, 1,542 yards, 13 touchdowns, and six interceptions to help claim the top seed in Finland.

Nipping at Kuopio’s heels, the Roosters are once again led by homegrown quarterback Miro Kadmiry. Still one of the best European-born passers, Kadmiry has connected on 126-of-206 passes for 1,683 yards, 21 touchdowns, and just six picks in seven games. That leads all of Finland in touchdown passes despite playing one fewer contest than most other quarterbacks.

The first time Kuopio and Helsinki met this year, the result was a hard-fought 35-32 Steelers victory. There is much more at stake ahead in the rematch with a Maple Bowl title up for grabs. AFI reached out to both quarterbacks ahead of the game to get their thoughts.

Kuopio Steelers QB Joey Bradley Photo: Jari Turunen

Question: There is no question that the two most dominant teams in Finland have advanced to the Maple Bowl. As a player, did this matchup feel predestined?

Joey Bradley: Definitely!

Miro Kadmiry: I think this is the right matchup for the final game. The best teams played and performed well in the semifinals, so this is the matchup that had to happen.

Q: Champions at built through adversity. What sort of hurdles have you and your team overcome this year?

JB: The season getting delayed. We also had some little injuries throughout the year and then had to forget about and overcome our loss in the last regular-season game.

MK: We have had a lot of injuries throughout the year at multiple positions, but we have depth on our roster and have been able to push through!

Q: The only game between these two teams this season was determined by just 3 points. What did you learn from that contest that will put your team on top this weekend?

JB: The Roosters are a well coached team that is solid from top to bottom. They don’t give too many chances for big plays but when and if they do, you must capitalize.

MK: We learned that every game is important and is a full four quarters. I think in many situations we slowed down too early, but I know that’s not happening in a game like this.

Helsinki Roosters QB Miro Kadmiry Photo: Jari Turunen

Q: What do you view as your team’s greatest strength?

JB: Our team chemistry and the line play on both sides of the ball.

MK: We are a true team! We have the best coaching staff in Finland and good experienced players.

Q: What challenges does your opponent pose to you defensively and how will you overcome it?

JB: The Roosters’ defensive line is also very good and experienced, so keeping those guys in check will be important.

MK: This I will not answer. (Miro’s answer included a playful wink)

Q: Each quarterback will face one of the Maple League’s best pass rushers in Roni Salonen and Semmie Radji. What impact do you expect them to have on the game and how do you limit that effect on your offence?

JB: Hopefully Semmie gets sacks and Roni doesn’t.

MK: I doubt it will limit anything on either side, but it is a fact that both these athletes are very good players! They can make a great impact on the passing game and can end drives by themselves by sacking quarterbacks.

Q: What would winning the 2021 Maple Bowl mean to you?

JB: Championships are why I play this game, so it would mean a lot in regards to the football aspect of my life.

MK: It would mean a lot! Last season ended too early for me by us not getting to the playoffs and suffering an injury. Coming back from an injury and winning the Maple Bowl would mean a lot!

Watch the 2021 Maple Bowl live on 

J.C. Abbott is a student at the University of British Columbia and amateur football coach in Vancouver, Canada. A CFL writer for 3DownNation, his love of travel has been the root of his fascination with the global game.