Monday Mailbag – Thunder prediction, roster rules and more
The European League of Football is close to its third season. It is finally time to figure out what teams will prevail and reach the championship game in Duisburg on September 24th! Will it be one of the new teams joining the league? Will the Vikings repeat their illustrious success of last season? Who are the best players coming into the season?
Those are questions that you may ask yourself and I am here to give you the best possible answer! If you have a question and want it to be answered in a future article, please look out on the league’s social channels every Monday. Just leave your question on Instagram or Twitter for me to answer!
Happy.alone (on Instagram): Could you please explain the roster rules? Like how many import players and what are the categories.
The European League of Football adapted their roster rules for the 2023 season. So, this year each team is allowed to have 65 players on their roster. There are 46 players allowed to be active for each team on gameday. The active roster itself is made up of 53 players. The difference of twelve players between the active roster and the general roster is forming the practice squad. Out of the total 65 players, there can be six E-players and four A-players on each team. The rest of the team has to be homegrown talent, thus players that are from the country the franchise is based in.
A homegrown players is a player whose nationality is the same of the team’s seat he is playing for. An A-player is considered a player who has not played his first organized American football outside of the United States, Mexico, Japan, or Canada. But instead has played high school, college, or professional football for at least one full season until the age of 18. E-players are all players who do not count as homegrown players or A-players.
Lennardtb12 (on Instagram): What do you think about the Thunder this year?
The Thunder are an interesting team this season. Although many important players at important positions are no longer with the team, for example quarterback Joe Germinerio, I think the Thunder will have their best season yet! Here is why:
I truly believe that Donavan Isom is an upgrade over Joe Germinerio. Yes, Germinerio threw for 2,443 yards and 21 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions. The passing yards placed him sixth amongst all quarterbacks in the league after the regular season was over. On top of his passing skills, Germinerio also ran for six touchdowns on the ground. Only retired 2022 league MVP Sean Shelton had more (8) at the quarterback position.
This may all sound great, but I believe that Isom can top those numbers in 2023 with the Thunder. His size (194cm/118kg) paired with his running style will be a dangerous combination when he takes off as a runner. He also had a great year with the Berlin Rebels last season in which he passed for 2686 yards, 26 touchdowns, and only four interceptions. He even added ten rushing touchdowns on the ground and produced all of these numbers in only ten games.
If you now look at his weapons for the 2023 season, there is even more reason to get excited. Both Robin Wilzeck and Nicolai Schumann proved to be reliable playmakers for the Thunder last season. Now add wide receivers Max Zimmermann and Aaron Jackson to the mix and you got yourself one of the better-looking pass catching groups in the league.
On the defensive side, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kyle Kitchens returns to lead his team through his second season with the Thunder. Look out for Berlin to have at least a positive record. Of course, you could dive even deeper into this topic, but this is meant to give a short overview of the most important changes and players that will effect the performance of the Berlin Thunder in 2023. In my opinion, only the Vienna Vikings are in their way to reach the top of the Eastern Conference when the regular season is over.
Bodnar.benedek (on Instagram): How do you imagine the league in the next years?
The European League of Football made big jumps over the last two seasons. Starting with eight teams in its inaugural season, the league has developed into a working continental league with 17 franchises located in nine different countries. The goal of the European League of Football is to have 24 franchises in 15 different countries across Europe. In each year so far, the league has added up to four teams.
If this pace is kept up, we could have a professional European league for American football with 24 franchises located in 15 different countries as soon as 2025. In my opinion, this is totally doable. However, the league should develop and grow in a sustainable manner. If this means reaching the final number of franchises in 2026 or later, I am all for it.