Stefán Númi Stefánsson: The Icelandic Block

It has 356,991 inhabitants, covers only 40,000 square miles, one football team.

Welcome to Iceland

In a country known for northern lights, powerlifters, and a blue lagoons, the Austrian football powerhouse Swarco Raiders found a key part of their offensive line in 6’5″, 310 pound Icelandic giant, Stefán Númi Stefánsson.

Swarco’s big men up front have been vital in the team’s rise to the top. Excellent offensive line play has propelled the Raiders to the Austrian Bowl title four out of the last five seasons. The veteran group of blockers returns in 2021 with the same championship expectations. This year however, the Raiders most cohesive unit welcomed Stefánsson from way up north.

The Raiders newest lineman on how it feels to be part of Innsbruck’s powerhouse program.

“It’s another kind of feeling to be apart of this organization! It’s run so professionally and done so well!”

Stefánsson most recently played for the Aarhus Tigers in Denmark. In the Danish league, Stefánsson dominated his competition as a strong but agile offensive tackle, showing the all too rare combination of fast feet and heavy hands.

Stefánsson on playing in Aarhus:

“They are my family! I can’t say it enough how good of an organization it is. All the teammates, coaches, board members, and all the amazing people that keeps the fire going in the team.”

Stefánsson developed his quick feet as a young basketball player in his hometown of Egilsstaðir, a small town in eastern Iceland. As a big kid, Stefánsson played handball, soccer, and golf, but it was basketball that became his first love.

Sports quickly enveloped Stefánsson who moved to Denmark in 2016, attending a sports academy in Sønderborg. After finishing school, the former power forward discovered Denmark’s emerging American football scene. Stefánsson had always been a fan of the NFL staying up late watching YouTube highlights in his bed. It didn’t take long for him to trade in his sneakers for a helmet.

“It was there that I figured out that American Football was a thing in Europe and there were  pretty good leagues in Denmark. I decided that I wanted to try to play football.”

After a season with the local Horsens Stallions, Stefánsson played two exhibition games in his home country suiting up for Iceland’s lone American football team the Reykjavik Einherjar. The self-proclaimed “Icelandic Polar Bear” played with Aarus in 2019 before heading to sunny Mallorca as a part of the Voltors in Spain’s top league.

Stefánsson and fellow Icelandic lineman Nikulás Snær Magnússon were part of a 3-1 Voltors team before the pandemic cancelled their season.

Stefánsson on his time in Mallorca:

“Our season was good! We played very well, we went in to the second half of the season 3-1 and were in very good spot to head into the playoffs.”

Now Stefánsson’s football career has taken him to his fourth country as he suits up one of the best football teams in Europe. His quick rise in American football is a testament to his hard work, passion, and of course his massive size. In only a three short years, Stefánsson risen from a rookie on the local Horsens Stallions to playing in the top leagues in Denmark, Spain, and now Austria. Look for the 25-year-old Icelander to keep pushing himself achieve even more on the gridiron.

“I want to reach as far as I can with football and make it into my career! Even though I’ve only played for two seasons going and I’m going into my third one I can feel that there is a big possibility to make it somewhere. I’m willing to work harder than the person beside me! I’m hungry to learn everything that has to do with offensive line!”

So far this season, Stefánsson has been only been able to play in Central European Football League games outside of the Austrian American football federation due to eligibility issues. Now he has finally be cleared to compete in the Austrian league. His first AFL test comes at the perfect time as the Raiders will need Stefánsson’s size and tenacity facing their arch rival Vienna Vikings.

Catch Stefánsson and the Swarco Raiders Tirol as they take on the Dacia Vienna Vikings this Sunday at 15:00 (CET) on AFI.tv.

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