LIVESTREAM Sweden: Stockholm Mean Machines @ Örebro Black Knights, April 2, 15:30 CET (3:30 pm, 09:30 am ET)

The Swedish Superserien kicks off its 2022 season Saturday, April 2 with a rematch of the 2021 title game as the Stockholm Mean Machines pay a visit to the reigning champion Örebro Black Knights.

The Black Knights captured their first ever Swedish championship last year, beating Stockholm 28-14 in front of a delirious hometown crowd. It was the first title for Örebro in seven attempts and the team looks like they intend to keep it this year as well.

Head coach Sam Eisenstadt, in his second year at the helm, has definitely prepared his team on offense and defense:

“Our key to success on offense this season is to be more balanced when it comes to the run and the pass. If we can keep building off the chemistry we built last season I feel very confident in what our offense can do this season. I believe we have a very talented group on defense this season. If we can all just stay focused on doing our job and giving great effort every single play I believe we will be a handful for any offense we face.”

Quarterback Trevor Vasey has returned and the 6’7″, 230-pound signal caller will have a talented receiving corps to throw to including Johannes Lindeus and Filip Wetterberg. Running backs Kasper Wedberg and  Timmy Göransson are keys along with Oscar Sundqvist and Gustav Rydberg on the offensive line. Defensively, the front seven is formidable and includes defensive linemen Tristen Cox, Sebastian Nilsson, and Martin Jappinen and linebackers Rikard Carlsson, Edvin Jönsson, Josh Murphy, and Filip Jönsson. The secondary features the other Murphy brother, Eric as well as Cewin Eriksson. 

For Stockholm head coach Fredrik Pilbäck, this will be a year of redemption after failing to win the championship for the past two seasons despite reaching the final both years. This is a team that had captured back-to-back titles in the previous two seasons (2018 and 2019).

His philosophy is pretty clear:

“Offensively, we have to control the ball.  We have enormous potential on offense to score points but ball control and keeping the opponents’ offense off the field creates peace of mind and self-confidence. On defense, we’re looking for attitude and communication. Minimizing big plays keeping the ball out of the end zone through attitude and communication ensure victories in the long run.”

At quarterback, Pilbäck has signed Mark Pappas from Morehead State (Division 1-AA FCS). He had an outstanding four-year career with the Morehead State Eagles throwing for 7,346 yards and 61 touchdowns in 31 games, averaging 237 yards a game. In other words, he can sling the ball. Returning at receiver to help him out is former All American WR Matt Retzlaff who returns for his fifth season with Stockholm. The versatile Retzlaff actually stepped in a quarterback for the Mean Machines last season when needed and was outstanding at times in that role. Defensively, Stockholm has added Finland’s Roni Salonen, arguably one of the finest linebackers in Europe. The 6’2″, 220 pound, 31-year-old native of Helsinki, Finland was the leading tackler for the Helsinki Roosters in Finland’s Maple League in 2021 where in seven games he racked up 43.5 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

This is the only game on tap in Sweden’s top division in the opening weekend of play and promises to deliver fireworks.

Watch the game live here.

Örebro Black Knights – Stockholm Mean Machines Herr from Örebro Black Knights on Vimeo.

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