Five takeaways from Week 14 in the European League of Football

The third regular season of the European League of Football (ELF) is finally over and the playoffs are just days away. With that said, it’s worth dwelling on the final week of football and the league itself.

Berlin make franchise history

Berlin have made franchise history and made it to their first ever playoff game. Granted, this is just their third attempt at doing so, but still, it’s an achievement. 

They will be going head to head with the red-hot Frankfurt Galaxy in what should be the game of the weekend in the new and improved playoff format.

The silent heroes 

We all know the big names in the league like Glen Toonga, Kyle Sweet, and AJ Wentland, but none of them are actually leading the league statistically. They are still outstanding players of course, but those who are leading the league seem to be flying under the radar.

Markell Castle (Munich Ravens): 97 rec, 1,580 yards, 17 touchdowns.

Dawid Brzozowski (Wroclaw Panthers): 1116 yards, 5.44 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns.

Luke Glenna (Barcelona Dragons): 135 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles.

Maceo Beard (Helvetic Guards): eight interceptions, 12 pass breakups, two defensive touchdowns.

Devan Burrell (Milano Seamen): 1,552 kick return yards, five kick return touchdowns.

NB: we all know Jadrian Clark is leading the league with a gazillion touchdowns.

What does the future hold for the bottom feeders

“Bottom feeders” is not an endearing term, and one used reluctantly. But it is a term that has been consistently used by those in and out of the league when speaking about the lowest tier of competition in the ELF.

The Prague Lions sold 250 tickets for their final game against the Vienna Vikings. With all the issues that have plagued them this year, the future does not look bright. They are not alone in their struggles though, and with the folding of Leipzig Kings just a few weeks ago due to financial difficulties, it’s anyone’s guess who will be the next team to leave the league.

ELF legacy

Year three of the regular season is now in the books for the European League of Football (ELF). The continent has not seen a true, fully-fledged pan-European league since the days of NFL Europe and the Football League of Europe (any guesses where ELF got its name from). Crowds hitting 10k+ and even 30k+ on the rare occasion show there is clearly a market for it, but what does the future hold?

The ELF has seen rapid expansion over three years, causing it to burst at the seams on more than one occasion, but it has continued to grow and remain innovative. The league has been entertaining and will surely continue to reproduce that in year four. 

Playoffs: who’s good?

We have a new and improved playoff structure. The top two seeds (Fire and Vikings) will finally be rewarded for their outstanding success and be gifted with a much needed bye week. This leaves room for two more teams (six in total) in the playoffs and a wildcard round.

The two wildcard contests will take place this weekend with the Berlin Thunder traveling to the Frankfurt Galaxy and Wroclaw Panthers traveling to the Stuttgart Surge. But which of these four wildcard teams is actually good? In short, all of them have shown flashes of brilliance this season but have been far too inconsistent. 

The home teams undoubtedly have the advantage going into the wildcard weekend, and not just because of home field advantage. The Galaxy went blow for blow with the Fire at home this past weekend and the Surge demolished the team that beat them just a few weeks ago.

For the Fire and Vikings, it is extremely unlikely any of these four teams will be able to knock them off. Rhein and Frankfurt is the game we’ve been waiting for all year and it looks like we’ll get it.

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.