Madre 2K: Cologne Centurions Madre London sets a high bar in ELF’s first season

With one week left in the regular season of the European League of Football, fans have been on a rollercoaster ride.

Teams have come and gone, coaches have left, players have been banned and yet thousands have regularly tuned in to watch Europe’s newest league. Its high production value and talent have attracted solid fan support both in the stands and at home. Throughout the unpredictable inaugural season, there has been one thing these loyal fans could rely on week in and week out. That’s Cologne Centurions’ running back Madre London dominating an opposing defense.

His stats are astounding – 223.2 yards a game and 7.5 yards a carry are numbers many might find hard to top in the latest Madden video game. London’s eye-popping stat line puts the 6’1″, 215 pound running back’s current totals at 2,009 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns. For comparison, London’s 138 points scored are just one more big game away from topping the total of the entire production of the Stuttgart Surge (157). However, don’t expect London’s workload to diminish as the 5-4 Centurions will need his stellar play to finish out the regular season and make a run at the league’s first-ever title.

Last week, the Centurions were able to clinch their spot in the playoffs, as well as help London cross the two-thousand-yard threshold. Despite the incredible numbers the Cologne’s brightest star maintains a team-first attitude:

“It’s a milestone for sure, for the team and myself. But it’s not over, I can’t be satisfied. We’re excited to be apart of the first European League of Football playoff game” (via European League of Football)

Madre London breaking tackles Photo Credit: Cologne Centurions

For the Little Rock, Arkansas native, the breakout season comes after years of splitting carries and fighting for reps in both college and other semi-professional leagues, all the while waiting for the chance to truly showcase his big-play ability.

That big-play potential first flashed while playing for powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas high school in Florida. Following his prep career, the three-star prospect ventured north joining the Michigan State Spartans (NCAA D1). After an initial redshirt season, London seemed to be on track for a decorated career rushing for 500 yards during his second year in East Lansing. However, a combination of injuries and coaching decisions saw London’s touches and production decline for the following two seasons, leaving him wondering about the next step in his college football journey.

Madre London as a Michigan State Spartan Photo Credit: Mike Carter USA Today

After earning his degree, the powerful tailback joined the University of Tennessee (NCAA D1) as a graduate transfer, eager to fill the hole left by recently drafted Alvin Kamara. London used his prior college experience to quickly crack the rotation, rushing for 206 yards and scoring three touchdowns in his final collegiate season in the ultra-competitive South-Eastern Conference. London commented on his unique college career playing in two top NCAA conferences:

“I take everything as a lesson, not a loss. It was a blessing to play for both those colleges. It led me to be able to showcase my game here” (via Gridiron Gallery Podcast)

London fighting for extra yards Photo Credit: Wade Payne

After five years, London’s college career was over. He had shown flashes of the potential he possessed, scoring 12 touchdowns and totaling 1,235 yards from scrimmage. Yet, without ever solidifying himself as a starter, no NFL or CFL team was willing to take a chance on him. London reflected on the Pro evaluation process and his pro dreams:

“I don’t point the finger at anyone but myself. I could have done a lot of things differently during the process and took things more seriously. But everything happens for a reason.” He said “Right now I’m just doing what I’m supposed to making good film, hopefully, I can get an opportunity to go to the NFL. If not, I’ll keep being me and everything will take care of itself.” (via Gridiron Gallery Podcast)

Determined to keep his dream alive, the former Spartan signed with the Spring League for the 2020 season. Once again, London found himself battling for playing time with other talented ball carriers. However, his play in the developmental league was enough to catch the attention of yet another alternative football league, the Fan-Controlled Football League. There, London played indoor football alongside both former NFL stars Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon and future European League of Football players David Meza (Stuttgart Surge) and Kyle Kitchens (Leipzig Kings). Once again London found himself splitting carries in a pass-happy league.

Soon thereafter, London made the trip overseas agreeing to join the European League of Football. Lured to Cologne by Centurions general manager David Drane, It’s safe to say Drane has an eye for talent as London has been the story of the new league just about every weekend.

Madre London escaping defenders Photo Credit Cologne Centurions

London’s gamble to fly overseas and test the new league has more than paid off. The 25-year-old has taken advantage of his role in Cologne and blossomed into arguably the league’s biggest name. If the Centurions star can continue at this pace he should be able to give his team a legit shot at the first-ever ELF championship. London and his teammates have one more regular-season game this weekend before they prepare for the post-season. ELF’s leading rusher feels confident in Cologne’s championship chances:

“We can do whatever we want to do in this league. We have a high-powered offense and defense is coming along as well.” he said, “If we take care of our business, we’ll be great.” (via Gridiron Gallery Podcast)

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football