Our final Top 20 of 2017 includes the input of some of the best coaches in Europe. With all of the European seasons wrapped up we present our last Top 20 of 2017 with a new number one team for the first time in 2017.
Our panel, which grew to include many more coaches throughout Europe, takes a look at the strength of schedules within each league. This is the same approach used in all other ranking systems. Although this is not perfect, it is as close as we can come at this point. We continually work to improve and always welcome your comments and insight. A special thank you for the input this year from Johannes Woudenberg.
If you are interested in being a part of the AFI Coaches Poll in 2018 please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now, our final rankings for 2017!
The Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns finally pulled off the upset and knocked off the defending champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions in German Bowl XXXIX and finished the season undefeated with a 17-0 record. They have taken over the top spot in AFI’s Top 20 for the first time ever!
The defending Eurobowl champion Braunschweig New Yorker Lions were undone in the German championship game by a last second blocked field goal and lost their first game all year to the Unicorns and for the first time all year dropped to the number two spot. They won the Eurobowl championship over the Frankfurt Universe.
The Vienna Vikings from Austria enjoyed a resurgent year and finished back on top of the Austrian league, winning the Austrian title with a decisive victory over the Swarco Raiders. They finish as our #3 team.
The Frankfurt Universe finally found a quarterback they had confidence in and played outstanding football down the stretch, pushing the New Yorker Lions to the limit in the German semifinals, losing by two points. They have jumped all the way from #9 to #4.
Austria’s Swarco Raiders remain at #5 although they lost the Austrian final. They played impressively in the Austrian Football League and dominated Serbia’s Kragujevac Wild Boars (#16) in the Central European Football League (CEFL) final.
The Kiel Baltic Hurricanes have slid down to #6 after losing their final two regular season games and then losing to Schwäbisch Hall 33-11 in the German semifinal.
Finland’s Helsinki Roosters marched through Finland’s Maple League with an 11-1 record and dismantled all opposition in the playoffs to win the Finnish title. They sit solidly in the #7 spot. They defeated Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders to win the Northern European Football League title.
Sweden’s Carlstad Crusaders move to #8 following their continued dominant march to their 8th Swedish title. They suffered an overtime loss to the visiting Helsinki Roosters in the Northern European Football League (NEFL) championship game but rebounded to capture the Swedish championship.
The #9 spot goes to Poland’s Wroclaw Panthers who won the Polish championship in dominant fashion. They surprised the powerful Swarco Raiders in Central European Football League earlier this year, forcing the Raiders to come from behind to win the game. The Panthers are undefeated in Poland and soundly beat Denmark’s Triangle Razorbacks. They are the back-to-back Polish champions under head coach Nick Johansen along with Rick Rhoades.
The Dresden Monarchs finished 2017 as the #10 team in Europe after losing two of their last two games including the quarterfinal game to the Frankfurt Universe.
The Amsterdam Crusaders are our #11 team after waltzing through the Dutch league and playing even with the Braunschweig New Yorker Lions before losing 20-6. They also easily defeated the Spanish title holders the Badalona Dracs.
French champions the La Courneuve Flash, finish as #12. The staged a come-from-behind victory to win the French title, beating the Thonon Black Panthers.
Our #13 team is the Marburg Mercenaries who reached the German quarterfinals where they lost to the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes. Marburg finished the year in the German Football League South with an 8-7 record marking the biggest improvement of any team in the league.
The Berlin Rebels finish the year in the #14 slot but maybe could be higher. They lost in the German quarterfinals to eventual champions the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns but pushed the Unicorns to overtime.
Italy’s Milano Seamen hold on to their #15 spot after their upset victory over the Milano Rhinos to win the Italian championship.
The Kragujevac Wild Boars finished the Serbian season in style winning the championship game over the Novi Sad Dukes to defend their title. They also held their own against the Swarco Raiders in losing the Central European title game.
Denmark’s Copenhagen Towers rebounded in the Danish league and dominated the Sollerod Gold Diggers in Mermaid Bowl XXIX to win the Danish championship.
Great Britain’s Tamworth Phoenix who upset the London Blitz to win Britbowl XXXI wind up the year as our #18 team. Tamworth is the first non-London team to win the British championship in 10 years.
The Prague Black Panthers from the Czech Republic are our #19 team after running away with the Czech league blanking the Ostrava Steelers in the championship game.
The Calanda Broncos enter the list at #20 with their impressive play in the Swiss league and lopsided win in the championship game over the Basel Gladiators. They returned to the podium after a one year absence.
Honorable mentions (not in any order): Wasa Royals (Finland), Milano Rhinos (Italy), Novi Sad Dukes (Serbia), Graz Giants (Austria), Ingolstadt Dukes (Germany), Hämeenlinna Huskies (Finland), Koc Rams, Turkey, Lisbon Devils (Portugal), Thonon Black Panthers (France), Badalona Dracs (Spain), Gdynia Seahawks (Poland), Örebro Black Knights (Sweden), London Blitz (Great Britain), Ostrava Steelers (Czech Republic), Søllerød Gold Diggers (Denmark), Brussels Black Angels (Belgium), Moscow Patriots (Russia), Dublin Rebels (Ireland), Oslo Vikings (Norway).