Braunschweig New Yorker Lions head coach Troy Tomlin is no stranger to championship games. After taking over the Lions in 2013, he guided his team to five straight German Football League title games, winning the first four, and losing the fifth on a last second blocked field goal.
He is preparing his team for German Bowl XLI Saturday, October 12 where they will face the team that has become their arch rivals, the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, winners of the last two German championships, and the team that snapped their GFL title-winning streak.
Both teams enter the game unbeaten.
What better lead up to the biggest game of the year.
AFI: You are heading into your sixth German Bowl as head coach of the Lions in seven years. Has your approach to preparation changed at all over the years?
Tomlin: Not really. We usually practice during the off week between the semi-final and Final and make any new installations at that time for our opponent. Then, on game week we will have finalized our game plan and focus on getting reps.
AFI: Your team is again entering this game unbeaten but is this a factor in a final?
Tomlin: I don’t think the records, up to this point, matter. Right now we have a 1 game season and we want to go 1 and 0.
AFI: The Schwabisch Hall Unicorns are your foes for the fifth time in six years. Is this a special feeling or does it make any difference who you are facing?
Tomlin: I think this helps create great rivalries. They are a great team and the defending Champs. I think this makes the league interesting.
AFI: Your running game was by far the best in the league led by Chris McClendon. Will your game plan change much against a good rushing defense like the Unicorns have?
Tomlin: Really depends on what the situation dictates. We will operate our offense, defense, and special teams as we have all year. Now is not the time to make drastic changes.
AFI: Brandon Connette runs the most efficient offense in the GFL behind arguably the best offensive line. Your team leads the league in rushing and has given up only seven sacks all season, by far the best in the country. Will you do much different in terms of blocking and protection?
Tomlin: Again this depends on the situation presented to us. We will have to make adjustments to match up with their great defense.
AFI: You are playing against your starting quarterback from 2018. Does that give you any added advantage?
Tomlin: I think most of these match ups with previous players are more interesting for the media and the fans. We know Jadrian and he knows us. We will have to play our best football ever to stop them.
AFI: Which 3-4 players do you have to look out for?
Tomlin: They have talent everywhere. Each man has to do his job. Can not key just one or two guys. Team game.
AFI: This maybe an obvious question but does the loss from two years ago, when a blocked field goal late in the game determined the result, have any kind of impact still?
Tomlin: I would like to think we have learned some things from that game. We will see on Saturday.
AFI: You are one of the most successful coaches in Europe over the past decade. Do you still get the same feeling going into a championship game?
Tomlin: Every game I am a little nervous, a little excited, a little mad, and a little happy. Most of all I am Very intense. Just want to win no matter what! TST.