Breaking: Victory In Europe!

29 06 2007

Victory In Europe

It’s official: the Arena League has outlasted NFL Europe/Europa/A Bunch of Teams Mostly in Germany!

Where are all the mediocre players that the NFL wants to develop going to go? Is the talent level of the AFL going to increase dramatically? I’d be perfectly happy to see the AFL become the pseudo-NFL Development League that NFL Deutchland was. That’s probably unlikely to happen, at least in an official capacity, sadly. However, the NFL’s castoffs have to go somewhere, which means my dream of instituting a system of AFL/af2 promotion and relegation is one step closer to reality.

A requiem for a league, after das jumpen:

Last Paycheck

We also would’ve accepted: Surprised QB is Surprised His League Was Shut Down

Good news: The AFL manages to outlast and out-profit another awkward, crippled football venture. Even better is that it was, until it last-gasped today, sanctioned by the NFL. Bad news: as has been mentioned in the comments, the option to play a season in Madden as the Frankfurt Galaxy has been ripped from the gaming community’s grasp. I remember the heady days of high school, when I sucked at Madden, and would force my friend to play against me with the Barcelona Dragons, so I had a fighting chance.

He’s From Barcelona

“I speak Eenglish ver’ well – I learn it from a boook.”
-Former Barcelona Dragons QB

Attendance was up this year, with an average of 20,000 people per game, and more than 48,000 spectators attended the World Bowl in Commerzbank Arena, but even still, the league was reportedly going to hemmorhage more than $30 million. Roger Goodell looked around, put his steely-eyed assassin face on, and, shouting “I’M THE COMMISSIONER OF THE MOST POWERFUL SPORTING LEAGUE ON EARTH,” told the league it was time to pack up its leiderhosen. Drunk with power (also possibly gin), he released the following statement:

“A foundation of American football fans in key European markets has been created and the time is right to shift our strategy. The next phase of our international growth is to focus on initiatives with global impact, including taking advantage of developing technologies that make the NFL more accessible on a global scale and ensuring the success of our new international series of regular-season games.”

He added, “While you’re figuring out what that means, I’m going to suspend some more players,” pulled out his crossbow, kicked out the window, fired a zipline to the adjoining building and made his escape.

Goodell

Historians call this the “Reign of Terror Stare”

Robespierre

See? Uncanny.

But, you might ask, why do we give a shit? Does NFL Europe play with nets at the back of their end zones? No. Do they play on a miniature field? Not since the London Monarchs stopped trying to fit a 100-yard field with two 10-yard end zones into a space measuring 93 yards total. (I have no idea how they did this.) Do they score points like ordinary people buy Cheerios at Costco? No. It’s because J.T. O’Sullivan, formerly of the Frankfurt Whatevers, now is available to either the Bears (who technically still have his rights) or the Columbus Destroyers. A bigger selection of fair-to-middlin’ players means (theoretically) less god-awful play in the Arena League.

If I had my druthers, I’d have a dispersal draft, and with the extra players, promote whatever af2 team wins the Arena Stein (okay, Arena Cup, but by God, I’m sticking with the German theme if it kills me), and relegating the Las Vegas Gladiators. Hell, promote two teams, to make the conferences even, and relegate the Gladiators. I. Want. Relegation.

If I didn’t have extra puppies to kill in the Bankingdrome today (We hired extra people – we’re gonna need a bigger blender.) I would’ve set up that dispersal draft. Alas, the plan failed, much like the league that inspired the plan. Auf weidershen, World League of American Football/NFL Europe/NFL Europa; drunken Belgian tourists unable to get tickets to the Bundesliga now have nowhere to turn but to their lagers and schnitzels. 

NFL Europa

1991-2007

“…It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time…”

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8 responses

29 06 2007
Extra P.

Whoa, is the league folding? That would explain why the NFL Europa dude I was trying to email-interview has suddenly stopped returning my emails.

29 06 2007
J Fizzle

Wait, so does that mean I won’t be able to GM the Rhein Fire in Madden ’08? There goes my winter.

29 06 2007
Extra P.

I don’t know who’s going to break this news to Mike over at Digital Headbutt – he was writing about the UNC players in NFL Europe every week.

29 06 2007
J Fizzle

At least I’ll enjoy increased productivity at work now that my NFLE fantasy league is kaput.

29 06 2007
jcompton

Hey, wow, you guys really know your off-brand football. (Or are just hitting wikipedia again.)

I’m sad about the news, but only because it means the World League (old-school) will never, ever get back to being as good as it was when it launched. I learned to actually appreciate pro football through the inaugural World League season, when my completely-randomly-picked-when-I-started-watching-in-week-2 London Monarchs stomped the league en route to a championship season. (Stan Gelbaugh was my first true sports hero, and arguably the only living one I have left now that Rod Beck is dead.) The original 10-team NA+Euro league was a really interesting concept and was a lot of fun to watch. (And gave us football on USA Network, and color commentary on ABC by a very crabby Dick Vermeil! Imagine!)

Honestly, I’m surprised that the league has hung on as long as it did with the lame-ass six-team format of the 1995 revival. Six teams is at least two too few to build any sort of excitement or drama through a season (something the CFL and even Vince McMahon get/got, for chrissake) and despite the occasional “we are looking into expanding to Austria and East Uganda” they’d roll out in rumors every season, they just kept laming out. I know the fans in Europe who followed their teams were passionate, but when they kept making changes that resulted in virtually no roster carryover from year to year, and banished all those old football lifers like Steve Pelluer to favor the 22-25 year old bubble guys, it lost what little allure it had left for me. Not to mention, yes, the tremendous embarrassment that was the Monarchs playing on the undersized soccer field at White Hart Lane, where they alternately used 7-yard end zones or the 94-yard main field (which just didn’t have a “50” line, it wrapped at the 47), after the team had played in the decidedly-nicer Wembley just a few years before… ugh.

The sad thing is, the NFL will probably turn a profit on their one “real” European game per year instead of the 31 World League games per year fielded before. The business decision makes sense, but for those who love off-brand football, it’s a sad day.

The league will have to live on through (I’m not kidding) the Fantasy World League, http://www.fwl.org.uk , now entering its (really) eleventh year of operation.

AFL-relevant content for this comment: Sherdrick Bonner was my QB for a few seasons back when I ran the FWL’s London Monarchs. His digital FWL self just retired, sadly.

3 07 2007
tcmcg

Thanks, jcompton! I wish I had noticed your comment earlier. We are a little wikipedia-heavy, I’ll admit, but I knew the story of the London Monarch’s minifield from something I read roughly a million years ago – it’s the sort of thing that sticks with you. Your commentary is much appreciated, as we’re usually winging a lot of our analysis, and it’s useful to have someone who knows more of what they’re talking about back us up like that.

3 07 2007
John

You guys don’t have the slightest clue what you are talking about, when talking about NFLEurope (Never liked the new name NFLEuropa). Never ever say that there is no excitement in a NFLE game or in a league with 6 teams…In some ways the NFLE is even more exciting than the NFL. At least off the field but at the stands it was a great 15 years of Football in Europe….too bad it has been killed off now.

3 07 2007
J Fizzle

How dare you disparage the NFLE, TC!
[checks column]
Where exactly did you dare to disparage the NFLE, TC?

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