The growth of ‘American Football’ in Europe: How does this bring fresh talent into the NFL?

We all know that finding fresh ways to have fun in your spare time is worthwhile. Not only does it help you relax after a busy day, but it also enables you to keep boredom at bay. While using NJ online casino apps to play fun internet-based slots is one way to go about it, many love to get involved with sports as well. Of course, football is still arguably THE biggest sport in the USA, and many millions of fans eagerly watch the action or find out the latest news on their team.

What is also true is that football is growing across Europe rapidly as the game takes greater hold in the region. Football has always had a hardcore of fans in places like the UK, Portugal, and Spain, but recent years have seen the global fanbase for football to swell to around 400 million!

What has been behind the growth of ‘American Football’ in Europe?

Whether it is people getting ready for the SAFV’s 2020 Fall schedule keeping track of other European leagues, the number of people following football in Europe has grown a lot in the last few years. But why is this?

One significant factor has been the growth of domestic football leagues around the continent. Most major European countries now have a football league, and this not only gives fans their chance to see games in person but also for football to gain more coverage globally.

Of course, TV coverage of games and online access to football news is also a major reason why the sport has become more popular recently in Europe. Fans in the region now have easy access to NFL and regional games, which brings more people into the sport. Being able to access more news online has also helped to explain the game to Europeans and make the NFL simpler to follow.

What does this mean for European players coming into the NFL?

The net result of this has been not only an explosion in Europeans watching football but also playing the game themselves. Over the years, some have even been good enough to make it in the NFL. This has mainly been down to the pathways established between the European teams/leagues and the NFL teams. This is not the only pathway for talented European players, though – some will pick up the game at high school after moving to the US or gain sporting scholarships from their own country to head over to America.

But who are the most famous examples of European born players who made it in the NFL?

Morten Andersen

Andersen was a Danish kicker who played in the NFL in the 1980s and 1990s. He is undoubtedly one of the most successful players from Europe to play in the NFL, as his 25-year career shows. Over this time, he picked up many records in his position, such as most career field goals and most consecutive scoring games. Andersen played for 5 NFL teams overall and won 7 Pro-Bowl selections. He was also nominated for the Pro Bowl Hall of Fame in 2016 for the third time!

Sebastian Janikowski

Hailing from Poland, Janikowski started playing sports in his home country initially. He demonstrated impressive sporting promise and was selected for the Polish Under 17 soccer side. Not long after, his family moved to the USA, and this was where his blossoming love for football took off. Named as the best kicker in the NFL for two years running, many will remember his huge 63-yard field goal in 2011! He is best known for his association with the LA/Oakland Raiders for whom he notched up 268 games.

Andreas Knappe

The story of NFL player Knappe is a funny one as he was initially into archery when a youngster in Denmark. At his parents’ behest, though, he soon was looking for a team sport to take up and stumbled upon an amateur football team in his hometown. At 6 feet 9 inches and over 300 pounds, he had all the attributes needed to succeed. He played for the dominant Triangle Razorbacks team in Denmark around 2011 before moving to the Atlanta Falcons in the 2017 draft.

Europe is now a football hotspot

As the above shows, Europe is not only a breeding ground for football fans but also exciting football talent as well. That will grow in the future as more European’s start to follow and play football – either in local European leagues to begin with or if they move to America with their families. It is great news for NFL teams who not only have a new audience to engage with but a fresh supply of new talent to draft.

AFI
American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!
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