The Portuguese League of American Football kicks off its 10th season this Saturday, January 5 with six of the seven teams in action.
The Lisboa Devils, Lisboa Navigators, Cascais Crusaders, Algarve Sharks, Paredes Lumberjacks, Porto Mutts and Braga Warriors will be vying for the title in 2019.
The defending champions, the Portuscale Dragons, have folded.
In the north of the country, the Braga Warriors will play host to the Lisboa Navigators in a rematch from last year’s playoffs where the Warriors went to the Navigators house and beat them taking them out of the competition.
However both teams are very different this year. The Warriors have a new head coach in João Pitrez (he was last year’s offensive coordinator) and the Navigators have Amílcar Piedade back after a couple years of absence.
Amílcar is the head coach with most titles (2013,2014,2015) to his name. The other head coaches who have won titles since the league’s inception: André Amorim (2016, 2017), Michael Cress (2010, 2011), Jason Evans (2012) and Awal Umaru (2018).
In the south of Portugal the Porto Mutts will travel 600 kms to face the Algarve Sharks around Faro. This will be a match between two teams that have a shared story with the Porto Mutts having a clear advantage when we look to the common history. However playing in Algarve after a long trip is a no joke and the game will be very tight. The Mutts have a new head coach in Brian Lopes (formerly the team’s quarterback) and the Sharks have Pedro Viana leading their team for another year.
In Lisbon, the Lisboa Devils will host the Cascais Crusaders in a rematch from the “Torneio Fundadores” (Founders Cup), a cup tournament that was created for the first time this year and was played between November and December 2018.
These two teams had a 2-0 score until the final game played in December 23, in Braga, and the Devils won 23-14 after entering the last quarter trailing 14-13. This will be clearly a very anticipated match between two teams that have had a great rivalry in recent years. It will be very interesting to see if the Devils can win again after just two weeks or if the Crusaders will bounce back with a win going into the first weekend of games in the Portuguese League. The Crusaders have Paulo Terrinca, their head coach and Team Portugal offensive coordinator, facing the Devils new (but already with a title) head coach Nuno Félix who is also defensive coordinator for Team Portugal.
The regular season in Portugal winds up in late April with the playoffs and championships scheduled for May.
Follow Federação Portuguesa de Futebol Americano – FPFA for more information and dates and times of games being livestreamed almost every weekend.