Dec 18th, 2022 00:00, by Dominik Krauss

How are things going for the Munich Ravens?

How one of the newest European League of Football franchises faces adversity and builds its roster.

General Manager Sebastian Stolz and Director of Sports Operations Sean Shelton are buidling the Munich Ravens from the ground up. ©Florian Schust

Dec 18th, 2022 00:00, by Dominik Krauss

How are things going for the Munich Ravens?

How one of the newest European League of Football franchises faces adversity and builds its roster.

The Munich Ravens are one of the six new franchises for the upcoming 2023 European League of Football. But unlike the Milano Seamen, Fehérvár Enthroners and Prague Lions, the Ravens are not an already existing team, but are built from scratch. While Paris and the Helvetic Guards are new teams too, Munich is far from being the only team in their country.

But despite the fierce recruiting competition, the Ravens are doing an outstanding job. A lot of it has to do with the overall quality of talent in Bavaria.

Building a Bavarian roster

“Bavaria is one of the more underrated areas of football in Europe. The foundation from a football standpoint is very strong. We are kind of spoiled with having a state of Bavaria that is equal to most countries in terms of football. Coming from Austria, Bavaria has more football than Austria in total,” said European League of Football MVP Sean Shelton, who is the Director of Sports Operations for the Munich franchise.

High expectations and big challenges

Although the Ravens are a new team, expectations are already high outside, but also within the organization: “Munich is a sports market that demands success. We want to be successful on and off the field,” said General Manager Sebastian Stolz.

Fans not only in Munich, but all over Bavaria are looking forward to seeing the Ravens play. The Munich Ravens GM had the following to say: “Everywhere we showed up, whether it has been around the Munich NFL Game or in Klagenfurt for the league finals, there were people from all over Bavaria that were extremely excited. It’s not just Munich which is even more exciting.”

But even though the Ravens might make it look easy, it definitely is not. Building a roster from scratch and finding a practice facility and a stadium to play in is no easy task. But Sebastian Stolz has an update on the situation: “The stadium is taking a lot of time and a lot of energy. We are very, very, very close to finally having a deal in place and we are looking forward to it. When that is finally signed, a lot of new challenges arise.”

Challenges like finding sponsors and getting the ticketing going, are still on the horizon for the Ravens.

Signing leaders and difference makers

From a sports perspective though, things are going pretty fast. After signing one of the faces of the league in Darius Robinson as the first ever player in franchise history, the Ravens added their quarterback for the 2023 season just a few weeks ago. Sean Shelton has high praise of both of those guys.

When asked about why he added former Tirol teammate Darius Robinson, Shelton had the following to say: “Not only because of what he does on the field, actually what I value more is what he does off the field. He is the type of player you want on a team from a characteristic standpoint, from a professionalism standpoint, from being ambitious. You want to surround yourself with people like Darius Robinson because they elevate everybody around them.”

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Finding a franchise quarterback

When it comes to the quarterback position, Shelton has high demands. But Chad Jeffries, whom he played double-digit times has two very special traits: “First of all, he turns the ball over less than any quarterback I have seen in Europe including myself, which is a pretty good feed because that was something I really valued in my play. The fact that he does it even better than I did was something I valued very, very highly.”

The second trait is something that does not show up in the statistics, but might be even more valuable: “I could see that his team absolutely loved him. It was very obvious that his teammates really thought highly of him and played hard for him, probably overachieved a lot of the times. That is something that is immeasurable. There is not a better combination for a start-up than a guy that takes care of the football and does not make a ton of mistakes, but also has teammates that love him.”

With many players already signed, the Ravens are looking to round out their roster, before the start of a very intense season. Although there is a lot of time and hard work left before the Munich Ravens will take the field for the first time, things are looking great for the franchise from both an organizational and a sporting standpoint.

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