Five takeaways from Week 9 in the European League of Football

With Week 9 behind us, we have a league-wide bye week before the finishing straight of the regular season in the European League of Football (ELF). 

Of the six games played during Week 9, only one was competitive. The rest were overwhelmingly one sided, which didn’t make for great viewing. There were however a few takeaways we can ponder on going into the bye week.

Curtis Slater is still a difference maker

Any of you that’ve been around European football long enough will know who Curtis Slater is. After making his way over to Finland in 2016, the American defensive back spent the next six years dominating the Maple League, Finland’s highest level of competition. 

Slater is now 33-years old though, so when Hamburg picked him up three weeks ago to take one of their A spots, there were some questions. Those have now been put to bed. 

Slater has managed to get a pair of interceptions since entering the league and racked up 13 tackles. But his most significant impact came against the Centurions with the game on the line last weekend when he returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown and sealed a much-needed home game win.

Stuttgart Surge and their 78 points

There are so many takeaways from the Surge game. Firstly, David Gascon’s (@DavidJGascon) commentary was first class, a rarity in the ELF

Secondly, Kenyatte Allen: get that man drug tested. In just his second game with the Surge, Allen threw for 508 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a further 44 yards and four touchdowns, leading Stuttgart’s social media team to wittingly dub him ‘Kenn8 Allen’. It’s also worth noting that Allen came out before the end of the game.

And lastly, this beautiful offensive performance from the Surge points towards a sad fact: this game, along with four other games this weekend, was a blowout. The ELF continues to have serious competition issues.

Enthroners are stable

The Enthroners are the only team to have been obliterated in every single game they’ve played this season. And for all the financial issues clubs have faced this year leading to some folding and others nearly doing so, they have remained stable.

Whatever you want to say about the Enthroners on-field performance, they know how to run a club. This should be applauded.

P.S. please don’t fold Enthroners!

Don’t get too pretty

There was 1.47 left in the half. The Guards were trailing 9–6 but were driving and had the ball on the Ravens’ five-yard line. With Silas Nacita and Tristan Noble at your disposal, you’d be silly to do anything but run the ball. But the Guards decided to get pretty. Noble handed the ball off to Nacita who stopped in the middle of the line of scrimmage, leaped into the air, and attempted to throw a fade-away into the endzone. 

The ball was of course picked off. Instead of going in up at the half, they went in down three points and completely changed the momentum of the game. This is not the first time this has happened in tight games, and it certainly won’t be the last.

What do we do without ELF?

This weekend, IFAF European Championships will resume across seven countries. In light of the ELF’s new relationship with IFAF, there will be no football. This is logical and shows at least a small commitment to the development of football across Europe.

However, what will we do with ELF? Perhaps ponder on what has happened across the league in its third season. It has been dramatic to say the least. Some teams have folded, others have held out, we’ve seen record breaking scores, stadiums with 32,000 people in and others with 32. 

Whatever you want to say about the league, for all its pros and cons, it’s exhilarating. And with European football doing a lot of nothing over the last 15 years, this injection of adrenaline is something we all needed.

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.