Hungary’s Rejuvenated Budapest Cowbells Aiming For Championship Title

The Hungarian Football League is gearing up to kick off the 2017 season on March 25th. We continue to preview the six teams with last year’s runner ups, the Budapest Cowbells up next. AFI’s László Makranczi sat down with Cowbells general manager Csanád Magyar to ask him about the upcoming season.

The 2016 season was almost perfect for the Budapest Cowbells. Only one thing was missing and that was the Hungarian Bowl trophy. They played a memorable game against the Miskolc Steelers in the 2016 final. They even had the cup in their hands. But then came Troy Rice who clinched the title for Miskolc.

Now, the Cowbells have the chance to strike back in the opening game of the season since they will be visiting the Steelers in Felsőzsolca. Despite having a few question marks from last year’s squad, the 2017 Cowbells’ roster seems to be more solid.

Csanád Magyar Photo: Váradi Barna and Király Etelka

Cowbells manager Csanád Magyar states that they will start the season with 110 players who will fill the rosters of two teams; the Hungarian Football League team and the Division 1 squad. In addition, he said that fans will be supplied with actual cowbells for the Division I league games as well to support the team and make life miserable for opposing teams.

Photo: Radó Norbert

Your first league game is against the Miskolc Steelers. Are you seeking revenge?

Magyar: Of course! Last year I had to watch on the field when they took away the gold from us in the last seconds of the final. We are beginning this season highly motivated because that loss just made us a better team.

You did not announce any changes in the roster. Are there any new players or do you have your fixed squad reinforced with some Hungarian players?

Magyar: We never bought a pig in a poke and we are not going to start now. 40 players joined our Division I roster under our freshman training program, Thus, we will start the two Hungarian divisions with 110 players. Last year, Michael Smith helped us as a coach but this season he is going to be an important part of our D-Line as a player. We have some Hungarian newcomers as well. I would mention two players: Norbert Nagy, nicknamed ‘Yeti’, who was formerly the player of Nyíregyháza Tigers. Balázs Szabolcska also joined our team. He caught the game winning touchdown for Hungary against Poland last autumn. There will be other newcomers but I cannot reveal these players yet.

Do you think some youngsters in Cowbells will get more opportunities to play in HFL and Division I?

Magyar Absolutely! Every year about 3 or 4 players retire from the club. They are key members. I think, we could fill up the space they left behind. The HFL roster got a bit younger but the Division I squad got older. We have a lot of “senior” rookies.

How do you see your chances in the HFL title race? Based on the last season it is not going to be easy.
Magyar: Even if it did not seem like it, I was happy about the growth of the championship’s quality. It is another question, why it happened. Since the fusion of the Cowboys and the Rebels, every year we are in the top three in the league and we do not want to lower this level. We prepared a new playbook and a new kind of training method, and if only 50 percent of it will succeed, then we will give hard times to every team in the championship.

Regular Season of Budapest Cowbells:
March 26.: Miskolc Steelers (Felsőzsolca)
April 22.: Győr Sharks (Budapest)
May 7.: Eger Heroes (Budapest)
May 21.: Budapest Wolves (Budapest)
June 5.: DAK Acél Dunaújváros Gorillaz (Dunaújvaros)

Budapest Cowbells Established in: 2014
Home Field: Elmű Stadium
Coaching Staff: Karim Trabelsi (head coach, HFL defense, QB/WR coach), Andre Bynoe (HFL offense, RB coach), Gyula Németh (HFL defense, LB coach), Sergio Varela (Division I. head coach and defense, LB coach), Gergely Mocskonyi (Division I offense, OL coach), Michael Smith (DL coach)
New Players: Michael Smith, Norbert Nagy, Balázs Szabolcska and others…
Championships: HFL champion (2014), HFL 2nd place (2016), HFL 3rd place (2015)

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American