Two Players That Prove Cancelling NFL Europe Was a Bad Idea

For college players in the United States, earning their shot at reaching the NFL is the ultimate. The elite players in the country strive over three years to prove their professional calibre to have a chance of being drafted by one of the 32 teams. Every year only 250 players are plucked using draft selections, while others make the grade as undrafted free agents, grinding their way to the top.

Even some players from Ohio State, Alabama and Clemson Tigers, who are among the leading contenders in the American football odds to win the National Championship, are forced to scrap their way onto NFL rosters. For many, the dream can die at an early stage, but for others, hope can be kindled by working their way onto practice squads or playing in the Canadian Football League. Playing regular football at a solid level helps keep players sharp even though they’re not operating at the peak of the game.

It also retains a pool of talent available to NFL teams, with many of the stars of the CFL being men that just failed to make the grade. The continued prominence of the league highlights how much of a disappointment it was to lose NFL Europe, which enjoyed a 12-year tenure from 1995 to 2007 featuring six teams from across the continent. They played a huge role in keeping alive the careers of players who would define an era in the NFL and the loss of the league may have prevented other breakout stars from emerging. We’ll now look back at two of the biggest players to have made an impact in the league and who continue to do so until this day.

Adam Vinatieri

Vinatieri will go down as the greatest kicker in NFL history when he retires. He is still kicking in the NFL even at the age of 46 for the Indianapolis Colts, although his powers are finally beginning to wane. He went undrafted out of South Dakota State and turned to NFL Europe in 1995 and the Amsterdam Admirals to keep his hopes alive. Vinatieri won a roster spot and throughout the season he impressed enough to earn a shot at the NFL with the New England Patriots.

There he helped forge a dynasty, kicking the game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI to defeat the St Louis Rams before performing the same feat two years later against the Carolina Panthers. Vinatieri won two more Super Bowls – another with the Patriots and one with the Colts. His reliability in the clutch and longevity has set him apart from his rivals. The 46-year-old is a class apart, but the NFL could so nearly have missed out on his talents.

Kurt Warner

Warner earned his way into the Hall of Fame, battling the odds to secure the yellow jacket in 2017 with a distinguished career. In 1994 he failed to make the grade as a backup behind Brett Favre in Green Bay and had to first turn to the Indoor Football League with the Iowa Barnstormers. A second opportunity arose with the Admirals in 1998 where he produced excellent form to earn a shot with the Rams in 1998.

He secured a backup spot behind Trent Green and when injury ruled out the starter, he seized the initiative. Warner was a revelation in 1999 – his first NFL season. The quarterback won the MVP and drove his side to their first Super Bowl win. He and his team-mates created one of the most devastating offenses in the NFL history – the ‘Greatest Show on Turf’, and he won a second MVP in 2001. Only Tom Brady, Vinatieri and the Patriots denied them a second ring.

Warner’s career meandered at St Louis and then with the New York Giants before Arizona breathed life into him. He revived the fortunes of the franchise, leading them to Super Bowl XLIII, but he and the Cardinals were undone by Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes’ late heroics. Warner was one of the most entertaining players in NFL history and life would have been so different without him.

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