American football evolves every year, and with it, the illusion of facing new challenges from all corners of Europe. Each season, the European League of Football welcomes more followers who believe in this project. Teams with nostalgia or created from scratch; everyone has a place. And they all have a story to tell. For this reason, we want to bring you, the fans, a little piece of each one of them. So that you put a face and eyes on the rivals who are going to fight with the Barcelona Dragons to travel a path to Duisburg.
The second rival to analyze is Tirol Raiders. We left an alpine region divided between Italy and Austria. The corsairs were founded in September 1992, even before the national league was created, which would be born a year later. The Raiders started in the third category of Austrian American football, but the first year they already showed their skills. They were unbeaten and promoted to Second. Just four years later, in 1998, they would rise victorious again and manage to reach the elite of the AFL (Austrian Football League).
At the beginning of the 21st century, the Raiders won seven of eight games in the first round, as well as the postseason game. That fact prompted the team to play the final (the Austrian Bowl) against an old acquaintance for us: the Vienna Vikings. The Tyrolean team lost that match by 28:34. However, in 2004 the same scenario would be repeated: the Austrian Bowl once again welcomed privateers and Vikings, this time giving the Tirol Raides as winners, rising as champions for the first time in their history. Not content with it, that same year they would win the EFAF Cup.
In 2008, the franchise partnered with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and there have been many relationships between the two entities. From that historic day in 2004 to the present, the Tyroleans have garnered eight national titles. Being one of the most powerful sets in Austria. This year, they could see their faces again with their staunch enemies again, but with a totally different context.
PLAYERS TO HIGHLIGHT
1. Christian Strong: Canadian. One of the best Quarterbacks of the last few seasons in the GFL (German Football League), being an All-Star in 2021 and 2022.
2. Jarvis McClam: American, WR. He and Strong have been playing together since 2013, a rarity in American football. Wherever one went, the other came. Whether in teams from the United States, Australia or Germany. Now, both embark on the ELF. There are no words about how they know each other.
3. Ja’Len Embry: American, DB. Latest import from the Tyrolean outfit. He played in college divisions with Iowa, Iowa Central CC, and Northern Illinois. Last year he wore the jersey of the Frankfurt Galaxy, where he played as Safety and had a total of 4 interceptions.
4. Sandro Platzgummer: Austrian, RB. He began his career with the Tirol Raiders, and after 16 years, he earned a spot on the NFL’s New York Giants Practice Squad. Three unforgettable seasons, plus being the first Austrian outfield player to sign with an NFL franchise.