The European League of Football announced this week that they have secured the rights to use the names “Frankfurt Galaxy” and “Hamburg Sea Devils” from the National Football League. The NFL, which is the league that oversees professional football in the United States, originally held the rights to these names, as the teams that played under those monikers were part of the short-lived NFL Europe initiative.
Ironically, the Sea Devils and Galaxy were also the last two NFL Europe teams to play a game together. The 2007 World Bowl, the last NFL Europe game, saw the Sea Devils beat the Galaxy at Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. American Football’s growing popularity in Europe, especially in Germany, has led to the resurrection of interest in a European league, so the ELF has stepped in to fill that role.
American football bears little resemblance to the game Europeans call football. While football games involve players using mainly their feet to move the ball from one end of the pitch to the other, American football is primarily a contest of strength, with teams alternating “drives” of offense to attempt to carry a conical ball into the “end zone,” where they score.
American football is far and away the most popular spectator sport in the United States, with the NFL’s championship match, the Super Bowl, drawing millions of viewers each year. For decades, Americans have been mystified that their favorite national sport enjoys little popularity elsewhere.
However, the European Football League seems poised to try to change that.
The ELF will have its official kick-off in June, with eight franchises from three different countries battling for the championship title. “Sea Devils, Galaxy – these names remind of great memories for many fans and of course trigger great emotions for me personally. As a Hamburg resident, it makes me proud to see the city again with the Sea Devils as part of our league,” says ELF Commissioner Patrick Esume.
“We would like to thank the NFL for giving us the green light after very constructive talks and for making it possible to bring Hamburg Sea Devils and Frankfurt Galaxy back onto the stage of European football,” says Zeljko Karajica, the ELF’s Managing Director. “This excites us as league officials, but especially the many fans of the teams who have had to wait 14 years for this return.”