Niall Padden – German Football League’s Top Tackler

Over the last two seasons, German Football League (GFL) fans may have noticed that the Allgäu Comets have risen dramatically in the standings.

The team from Kempten, Germany made the playoffs both years and boasted one of the league’s top five defenses in all categories. This defense was led by their import linebacker Niall Padden. The 2016 season was Padden’s second in Kempten. The American Montana Tech University Diggers alum chatted with American Football International aboout his season, the Allgäu Comets organization, and his defensive teammates.

American Football International: You led the German Football League (GFL) in tackles this year. What made this possible for you?:

Niall Padden: It has to start always with the defensive line, and my production this season I wholly attribute to them. As hard as I have worked and studied, I could not have achieved the success I did without them. When I have men like that in front of me it really does give me more opportunities to have an impact. They were exceptional this year, and they enabled me to preform the way I did. We worked great as a unit.

AFI: Can you tell me a little about the Allgäu Comets organization?:

NP: There are too many individuals to mention by name, so I am glad I can talk about them all as the Allgäu Comet organization. They are exceptional. Since my arrival here, I have felt like a member of a family and I am proud to regard myself as such. This is an organization that any man, any one, would be proud to be a member of. The personal contribution that individuals have made to be a part of this organization is remarkable. It would not be possible for the team or myself to enjoy the modest success we have without their dedication and support. They are to be commended. None of it could happen without them. I have met some of the finest people I have ever met here in Bavaria, especially in Kempten.

AFI: How important was the rest of the Comets defense?:

NP: Having Francis Bah as a defensive player/coach significantly and positively impacted the performance of the front seven players, myself included. With the addition of players like Arentsen, Liebold, Frahm, and Ziebart we could not have been competitive on the defensive line. It started there for the defense, as it always does. At the start of the season we had a solid linebacker core and secondary. It is inevitable that during the course of a season players get injured. This year was no exception. We had many good players get injured on the defensive line, linebacker, and secondary positions. Some of them were irreplaceable. Fortunately many players who otherwise would not have played got an opportunity to do so, and did a very good job filling the gaps caused by the injuries. I felt confident in their abilities. That is where the Comets are, proof positive, an organization.

AFI: What are your plans for 2017? Returning to Germany?

NP: I am proud to say that I have been invited back to Kempten (Allgau Comets) for the 2017 season. I had a week off, Oktoberfest, but I am now fully focused on training and preparing for the next season. I have been given an opportunity to live locally and help prepare the Comets for the upcoming season, which is a great opportunity for me. Go Comets, and Go Brách!

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.