Five takeaways from Week 3 in the European League of Football

Week 3 of the European League of Football (ELF) offered some of the highest scores the league has ever seen in one weekend.

Behind the scores though were a number of significant events that deserve to be highlighted.

Reilly ‘Griddy’ Hennessey

NFL wideout Justin Jefferson’s first touchdown in September 2020 for the Minnesota Vikings was a thing of beauty. What made this moment so much more special was his “Griddy Dance” into the endzone. This set off a chain reaction around the world with teenagers dancing in their parents’ front room on TikTok

Fast forward three years and the Griddy is a staple in modern culture (unfortunately). It is for this reason that Reilly Hennessey’s attempt at a Griddy is unacceptable. As an ELF commentator makes clear, no matter how many Italian, French, and maybe even ELF championships you win, you cannot butcher the Griddy like that.

The highest scoring weekend in ELF history

In Week 3 of the ELF, 518 points were scored collectively. Even though there are now more teams, this is still an astonishing amount of points. But it does beg the question, are offenses better now, or have defenses got a whole lot worse? It is probably a combination of the two mixed with a few teams biting off more than they can chew by entering the ELF.

Robin Wilzeck, master of YAC

When you look at the box score from the Berlin game, you will see a 61-yard touchdown from Donovan Isom to Robin Wilzeck. In most instances it would be logical to assume this was a deep ball. But in reality, Wilzeck caught a hitch and blazed through the Panther’s secondary. This is now the norm.

Last year, Wilzeck proved to be one of the best receivers in the league. His yards per catch were one of the highest in the league, and he’s doing the same once again. Isom is surely praying that the league doesn’t start recording YAC…

Christian Strong isn’t who we thought he was

Tirol Raiders’ quarterback Christian Strong spent the first two years of his career in the German Football League with the Cologne Crocodiles. He put up fantastic numbers with two American receivers but threw a few too many interceptions, earning himself a reputation as a gunslinger. 

This led league analysts to question how he would do with the Raiders who operate more on timing and possession in the passing game. Since joining the league however, he has blown all expectations out of the water. In three games, he has thrown for 951 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. But more importantly he has completed over 70% of his passes, ranking first in the league. 

Strong is far more than we thought he was coming into this season and is quickly establishing himself as one of the best passers in the league.

Jim Tomsula’s NFL Europe jacket

In 2006, a relatively unknown Jim Tomsula was announced as the Rhein Fire’s Head Coach in NFL Europe. They would go on to finish third in the league and Tomsula would head back state-side for his first coaching job in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers.

Fast forward 17 years and Tomsula is back in Düsseldorf with the Fire destroying all competition on his way to what looks like his first ELF championship. But watching the 55-year old Pennsylvanian on the sideline, his Fire apparel seems to be unique. No one else has the same team gear he does.

It is for this reason that I posit to you, the ELF fans, the most important question the league has faced since its inception: is Tomsula’s Fire jacket in fact from NFL Europe?!

Considering the superstitious nature of athletes and coaches alike, it seems likely. But his holding on to this jacket and still wearing it, if that’s what it is, shows the connection he has with the team personally and what European football has meant to him over the years.

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.