International players Efe Obada and David Bada share the field on the Commanders defensive line

The Washington Commanders’ season has sputtered out, as the team has not won a game since November 27th and had their playoff hopes squashed in a disappointing 24-10 loss on New Year’s Day to the Cleveland Browns

While most of the fans and the media devoted their attention to the lackluster performance of Carson Wentz and the rest of the offense, an interesting development on the Commanders’ defense took place.  A pair of international defensive linemen in Efe Obada and David Bada took the field for Washington, marking a rare occurrence of two foreign-born players playing a role in the same defensive unit for an NFL team.

Both Obada and Bada saw snaps on both defense and special teams in the game against the Browns.  The two were pressed into duty particularly after Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jonathan Allen went down with an injury in the second quarter.  Throughout the course of the game, Obada played 23 snaps on defense and recorded three total tackles, while Bada played 14 snaps and recorded two total tackles.  

Though the two may share similar last names, Obada and Bada have made distinctly different journeys to earn a spot on an NFL field.  The 30-year-old Obada was born in Nigeria and spent time growing up in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.  He joined the London Warriors of the British National Leagues, where his potential was identified by his coach Aden Durde, who recommended him to his connections with the Dallas Cowboys.  He bounced around from the Cowboys to the Chiefs to the Falcons, before landing with the Carolina Panthers and carving out a role there.  After three years in Carolina, he spent the 2021 season with the Bills before signing with the Commanders before this season.  With Washington, Obada has appeared in each game as a pass rusher, recording 23 combined tackles and three sacks with one game remaining.

For the 27-year-old Bada, on the other hand, the game against Cleveland was his NFL regular season.  Born in Munich, Germany, Bada played several years in the German Football League with the Munich Cowboys, Ingolstadt Dukes, and the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, with whom he won a German Bowl title in 2018.  He later joined the NFL’s International Pathway Program and was assigned to Washington in 2020.  He spent the entire 2021 season on the practice squad and spent most of the 2022 season there before being activated to the main roster on December 31st.

Both players are active for the Commanders’ season finale against the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday.  With Allen confirmed to be out for the game, and with the team having little to play for, expect Obada and Bada to have plenty of opportunities to show what they can do.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.