German Football League Update for 2023 – Minimum standards, schedule, key signings & more

While the European League of Football has dominated the off-season headlines, the winds of change are blowing in the once top-dog German Football League. After many players, coaches, and fans seemed to flock to the ELF, the German Football League looks to improve by making several key changes to the structure of operations of its team members.

The German Football League’s board has voted and agreed to set a 2023 schedule along with implementing several key requirements for how all 32 of its GFL and GFL 2 must operate during the upcoming season.

Minimum Standards:

Earlier this month the ERIMA GFL board met and agreed on several necessary developments for the league. These standards go across multiple areas including social media, live streaming, and other organisation must-haves.

  “Such standards are not only important for a better public image of the GFL product,” emphasized LV-GFL Chairman Carsten Dalkowski. “We also need this to develop our league step by step, to increase its attractiveness and to maintain equal opportunities among the clubs. Other sports, such as basketball, handball and volleyball, have imposed even stricter and more demanding requirements, from which everyone benefits at the end of the day. They have a few years head start in this area and it is time for us to take further, consistent steps here as well.”

Last season the GFL expanded its media presence partnering with Sportdeutschland.TV for live streams. Christoph Wolk, the GFL’s head of finance, has also promised significant funds for the media communication of the GFL and its livestream production subsidiaries.

Axel Streich, a long-standing board member also commented on an increased social media presence for the GFL, currently being built out.

“We will reorganize the central media work of the league and also invest in it’, It is also important to bundle the large, decentralized reach potential of the 32 clubs better and to use it profitably for everyone. We are investing on the part of the league and are building on the fact that the clubs are actively involved at their locations.”

Overall, the league’s new requirements included s a total of 40 different specifications and requirements in the areas of playing field structure, appearance, match day organisation, live streaming, public relations and implementation of the corporate identity that teams will have to comply to in 2023.

German Bowl 2018

Schedule:

The GFL season kickoff on May 20th and finish with German Bowl XLIV on October 14 set to take place in in the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt am Main. Each team will play 12 regular season games, followed by relegation or playoffs for some teams.  Teams will play each team in their division twice, along with one game against the team in their respective conferences’ other division, and in a new wrinkle, two games of inter-conference play.

Via GFL

Interconference play:

After 11 years without regular season games between the North and South, the GFL will have each team play an opponent from the opposing conference twice next season. The board highlighted exciting postseason matchups such as the Potsdam Royals and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, or Cologne Crocodiles and Munich Cowboys.

“We’re looking forward to exciting IC games that are interesting for everyone involved,” says Jörg Dreßler, who is responsible for game operations on the GFL league board. “The offer of the Erima GFL for the fans and partners is thus expanded and upgraded.” 

GFL 2:

The GFL 2 will follow a similar format with 16 teams divided into two conferences with four divisions of four teams. The GFL’s second league will also play inter-conference games and 12 game seasons for all 16 teams. GFL2 play will begin one week after the GFL on May 27th.

Via GFL

The Coaching & Player Carousel:

Many German Football League teams have been relatively quiet this off-season as many home grown players and coaches have signed with the ELF.

However, two of the GFL’s projected top teams, the Schwäbisch  Hall Unicorns and Potsdam Royals have been signing import players and making several announcements around their respective staffs.

Potsdam, last year’s runner ups, have brought former Frankfurt Galaxy and Potsdam star running back in Gennadiy Adams, along with re-signing receiver Brandon Polk and tight end Jerome Valbon. They’ve also signed former Muhlenberg College (NCAA DIII) receiver Thomas Jenkins and former Barcelona Dragons defender Yago Rivero (Spain).

In Schwäbisch Hall, long time assistant Christian Rothe takes over for recently departed head coach Jordan Neumann who left for the Stuttgart Surge of the ELF. Rothe, will be helped by longtime Unicorns player and assistant coach Felix Brenner.

While several key Unicorn players have announced they will not return, star receiver Tyler Rutenbeck, running backs Larz Kozwalski, and Mike Gentili, lineman Moritz Schreiber, and defender Tobias Loffler have announced they will be back in green and white next season. Ian Gehrke will also return from his time with the Berlin Thunder and play quarterback as the Unicorns look to defend the title.

Other key signings around the GFL include head coach Troy Tomlin, and players OJ Thompson and Benjamin Krahl returning to the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions. In the capital city, Douglas Fryer will be head coach for the Berlin Rebels in 2023.

The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes are one of only three teams too have found their quarterback for the upcoming season, signing former Marseille Blue Stars (France) and St. Mary’s University (Canada) passer Kaleb Scott who briefly suited up them last season, making one appearance.

Shuan Fatah’s Berlin Adler have been one of the league’s most active team, signing Europeans LB Jaymyn Haddad (UK), Nemanja Graovac (Serbia) DB Alex Knight (FRA/SWE), LB Teo Knight (FRA/SWE), DL Serif Djirila (Serbia), and American imports LB Ippokratis Geogiadis, WR Joey Walden, and DB Keenan Black (Delaware State NCAA DI FCS). Veteran quarterback Zachary Cavanaugh will return behind center.

In the South, Augie Stevens will remain head coach in Marburg, while long time player Niall Padden takes over as defensive coordinator for the Allgäu Comets. The 2022 Coach of the Year, Nadine Nurasyid will also be back roaming the sidelines for the Munich Cowboys. Staying in Bavaria, the Ingolstadt Dukes have signed American defensive back Rashad Greene and several local players. Meanwhile, head coach Sascha Brändle will take over the Razorbacks in Ravensburg.

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and