Sunday, May 1, 2016

From the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns to the Minnesota Vikings

Moritz Boehringer's last competitive football came as a member of Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League. The next time he suits up, it will be as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
We saw some history in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft on Saturday when Boehringer became the first international player to go straight from a European league to the NFL.

It was fitting that Boehringer landed with the Vikings. His interest in football began just five years ago, when he stumbled upon highlights of Adrian Peterson running past defenders on YouTube.

"I searched for a team in Germany and found one in my hometown, but we only had seven players," Boehringer (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) said during a recent studio appearance on the Move The Sticks Podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks. "We just practiced a bit, and after half a year we (found a full team) about 25 miles from my hometown and played there."

Boehringer, 22, was an immediate star in the German Football League, the highest level of football in Europe. He arrived in America on Feb. 29 and put himself on the NFL radar with a head-turning performance at the Florida Atlantic pro day. That performance, in addition to his dominant Unicorns game tape, made him a buzzy Day 3 pick.

"That's kind of what the draft is all about -- making dreams come true," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "He's a really smart kid ... he understands football and is able to repeat the different routes to us and things like that. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do, but it's been fun."

After the Vikings made their selection, Boehringer found himself on the NFL Network draft set for the second time in an hour. During his first appearance, NFL Media's Mike Mayock looked into the camera and implored Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman to select the big German. The plea might have been enough to move Boehringer to the top of Minnesota's board. In a related story, Boehringer owes Mayock a Krombacher.

Mayock asked Boehringer how it felt to suddenly be on the same team as Peterson, the legendary player whose dominance on his tablet kickstarted his football dreams.

Replied Boehringer: "The coolest thing ever."

Pretty cool indeed.



Und vom Dr. Kuhn-Osius, hier ist mehr ueber das Deutsche Footballbund -- German Football League = GFL

American Football in Germany

Statistics on the relative size of American Football and soccer in Germany. I summatize some and quote some other sources (usually GermanWikipedia or the associations themselves):

Average spectator attendance during the regular  GFL season:     1373 / game
Saison Gruppe Nord   (more popular)             1831 / game
Saison Gruppe Süd                                              1027 / game
Playofffs attendance on average                        2519 / game

 The total number of clubs is 15, and they are in their 37th season.  

They had their high point around 2000 when the NFL tried to expand Football worldwide (but their businesses collapsed for lack of spectators). Some German teams had over 30,000 spectators occasionally (partly boosted their numbers by combining with concerts by Nena or Herbert Groenemeyer). The NFL pulled out in 2007. Now it is a German affair. 

The German Association for American Football is the 10th largest team sport association of Germany.

In Deutschland gibt es 7 Spielstufen (7 levels of play)  für Herrenmannschaften  (for the mens' teams). 

Die höchsten (= highest level)  beiden Ligen sind die German Football League (GFL) und die German Football League 2 (GFL2). Darunter folgen die Regionalligen, Oberligen, Verbandsligen, Landesligen und Aufbauligen, die alle durch die jeweiligen Landesverbände organisiert werden. ...
Mit 46 Mannschaften spielen in der fünftklassigen Verbands-, beziehungsweise in Hessen und Rheinland-Pfalz in der Landesliga, die meisten Vereine. 
Currently there are  32.000 football players, and approximately 300 clubs registered with the AFVD and the state organizations.

Nearly half of all European players are in Germany.


Alternatively, here are some statistics on the Deutscher Fussballbund;' "Soccer" as we know it.  

As opposed to the 32K registered Football playlers, in the DFB there are close to 7 million registered soccer players throughout Germany's  21 various state organizations.  [Aktuell 6.889.115]

There are over 25K registered clubs [Aktuell  25.324].

The number of teams (based on age and skill) is  161.727 different teams.. 

  • The current number of registered junior players from ages 15-18 years old is  515.364. 
  • The current number of registered girls up to 16 years old is 336.464..

German Soccer spectator numbers: Borussia Dortmund has almost 81,000 spectators per game

The  Bundesliga club with the lowest number of spectators (FC Ingolstadt -- newcomer to the Bundesliga) has 14,778.  The team's  Audi Stadion has under 10K seats, and the balance are in the cheer section (standing only). 

Eckhard Kuhn-Osius
German Department
Hunter College, CUNY

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