German Bowl

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German Bowl
Munich Cowboys German Bowl Sieger.jpg
The Munich Cowboys celebrating their German Bowl triumph (1993).
First contested Frankfurt, 10 November 1979
Number of meetings 35
Most wins Braunschweig Lions (8)
Most recent meeting Berlin, 12 October 2013
Next meeting Berlin, 11 October 2014

The German Bowl is the annual national championship game in the sport of American football in Germany. It is contested by the two best teams of the German Football League.

The Braunschweig Lions are the record winners of the German Bowl, with eight successful participations out of twelve overall. The Düsseldorf Panther and the Berlin Adler both have six titles to their name, but Berlin has the best win-loss record of all clubs, 75 percent. Altogether, as of 2013, eleven clubs have won a German Bowl, while a further four clubs have reached the finals game but never won it. The most-played match up in the history of the game is the Braunschweig Lions versus the Hamburg Blue Devils, having been played six times, last in 2005.[1]

Apart from the German Bowl, a Junior Bowl has also been contested in Germany since 1982. A Ladies Bowl was introduced in 1990. Other, related, national championship games in Germany include the German Flag Bowl (est. 2000), German Junior Flag Bowl (1999) and a German Indoor Flag Bowl (2000).[1]

History[edit]

In 1979, the American Football Bundesliga, later to be renamed the German Football League,[2] was formed, consisting of six clubs, the Frankfurter Löwen, Ansbach Grizzlies, Düsseldorf Panther, Munich Cowboys, Berlin Bears und Bremerhaven Seahawks.[3] Of those six, the top two teams would contest the first ever German Bowl on 10 November 1979.[4]

The early years of the league were dominated by two teams, Frankfurt and Ansbach, who met each other in the first three editions of the German Bowl. Of those, Frankfurt won the first two and Ansbach the last. The era of the Frankfurter Löwen was thereby ended and the club went defunct in the mid-1980s, while the Ansbach Grizzlies continued to be an outstanding team, playing in all of the first eight German Bowls.[1] Unlike the first season, play-off semi finals were played in 1980 and 1981 to determined the two German Bowl contestants. From 1982, the play-offs were enlarged to include a quarter final round as well.[4]

The 1982 season saw Ansbach repeat its title, this time against the Cologne Crocodiles. After that, the era of the Düsseldorf Panther versus Ansbach Grizzlies rivalry began, with the two teams meeting in the next four finals. Of those, the team from Düsseldorf won the 1983, 1984 and 1986 editions, while the Grizzlies earned their third championship in 1985. With the 1986 final, the golden era of the Ansbach Grizzlies ended and the club disappeared out of the top level all together by 1991.[1] From 1986, a wild card round was introduced as well, taking the number of teams in the play-offs to twelve.[4]

The 1987 German Bowl saw two completely new teams compete against each other, the Badener Greifs making their only appearance in the championship game to date, while the Berlin Adler won their first of, as of 2010, six national championships. In 1988, Red Barons Cologne defeated the Düsseldorf Panther in the final, while, from 1989 onwards, the Berlin Adler became the first team to win three championships in a row, all against teams from Cologne.[1] After the 1990 season, the play-offs were reduced to eight teams again, dropping the wild card round, a system still in place as of 2010.[4]

The Panther earned their fourth title in 1992, defeating the Munich Cowboys, which, in the following year, won the championship themselves, against Cologne Crocodiles, who suffered their fourth defeat in their fourth German Bowl. Munich's title in 1993 was to be the last occasion for the next twelve years that a team from the South would reach the final, and the last time until 2011, that a team from the South would win the championship. The Bundesliga and the German Bowl were from then on dominated by the North.[1]

In 1994 and 1995, the Düsseldorf Panther once more won the German Bowl, with the second title won against a new force in the game in Germany, the Hamburg Blue Devils. In 1996, the Blue Devils then reversed the fortunes and defeated the Panthers in the final.[1]

The most dominant era of any team in the sport in Germany begun in 1997, when the Braunschweig Lions reached and won the German Bowl for the first time. The Lions would play in every one of the next twelve German Bowls, up until 2008, and win seven of those. Their first tile, in 1997, was won against the Cologne Crocodiles, who were now five out five in German Bowl defeats. The following six seasons, the final was contested by the Lions and the Blue Devils on five occasions, with the Lions winning in 1998 and 1999, while the Blue Devils won 2001, 2002 and 2003. Only in 2000 did neither of those two win the Bowl, instead, the Cologne Crocodiles finally reversed their fortunes and won a championship in their sixth attempt.[1] In between, in 1999, the Bundesliga was renamed to German Football League.[3]

Braunschweig lost a fifth final in a row in 2004, when the Berlin Adler won their first title in 13 years. After that, the Braunschweig Lions set a new record, winning four German Bowls straight, beating four different teams in the finals. In 2005, the Blue Devils were once more the opposition, followed by two southern teams, the Marburg Mercenaries in 2006 and the Stuttgart Scorpions in 2007. The last title for the Lions came in 2008, against the new force of the Kiel Baltic Hurricanes.[1]

Kiel also played in the 2009 final, losing to the Berlin Adler, before finally being successful in 2010 and winning their first title against the same team.[1]

The German Bowl XXXIII was held on 8 October 2011 at the MDCC-Arena in Magdeburg. The 2011 season saw the end of an 18-year title drought for the south, when the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns defeated Kiel 48–44 to take out the national championship for the first time.[5][6]

North-South disparity[edit]

Success in American football in Germany and at the German Bowl differs hugely between the clubs from the northern and the southern division, with the south only winning seven German Bowls and the north the remaining 26. Similar, southern clubs have only made 17 appearances in the Bowl, while northern clubs have appeared 49 times. After the first three German Bowls, the final was never again contested by two southern clubs. Since the end of the golden era of the Ansbach Grizzlies in 1986, southern clubs have only made six appearances in the championship game and suffered a championship draught from 1993 to 2011.[1]

German Bowls[edit]

The German Bowls since 1979:[1]

By game[edit]

Bowl Date Champions Runners-Up Score Location Attendance
I November 10, 1979 Frankfurter Löwen Ansbach Grizzlies 14–8 Frankfurt 5,000
II July 30, 1980 Frankfurter Löwen (2) Ansbach Grizzlies (2) 21-12 Frankfurt (2) 7,000
III August 5, 1981 Ansbach Grizzlies (3) Frankfurter Löwen (3) 27-6 Cologne 11,000
IV November 2, 1982 Ansbach Grizzlies (4) Cologne Crocodiles 12-6 Essen 10,000
V September 25, 1983 Düsseldorf Panther Ansbach Grizzlies (5) 22-7 Nuremberg 7,000
VI October 13, 1984 Düsseldorf Panther (2) Ansbach Grizzlies (6) 27-13 Essen (2) 10,000
VII November 12, 1985 Ansbach Grizzlies (7) Düsseldorf Panther (3) 14-7 Cologne (2) 9,000
VIII July 27, 1986 Düsseldorf Panther (4) Ansbach Grizzlies (8) 27-14 Würzburg 10,000
IX October 11, 1987 Berlin Adler Badener Greifs 37-12 Berlin 14,000
X October 15, 1988 Red Barons Cologne Düsseldorf Panther (5) 25-20 Berlin (2) 11,000
XI October 21, 1989 Berlin Adler (2) Red Barons Cologne (2) 30-23 Nuremberg (2) 10,500
XII October 20, 1990 Berlin Adler (3) Cologne Crocodiles (2) 50-38 Düsseldorf 10,000
XIII October 5, 1991 Berlin Adler (4) Cologne Crocodiles (3) 22-21 Hamburg 13,000
XIV October 3, 1992 Düsseldorf Panther (6) Munich Cowboys 24-23 Hanover 8,750
XV September 25, 1993 Munich Cowboys (2) Cologne Crocodiles (4) 42-36 (aet) Munich 10,100
XVI September 17, 1994 Düsseldorf Panther (7) Berlin Adler (5) 27-17 Hanau 7,862
XVII September 16, 1995 Düsseldorf Panther (8) Hamburg Blue Devils 17-10 Braunschweig 12,125
XVIII October 5, 1996 Hamburg Blue Devils (2) Düsseldorf Panther (9) 31-12 Hamburg (2) 19,700
XIX October 4, 1997 Braunschweig Lions Cologne Crocodiles (5) 26-23 Hamburg (3) 14,800
XX October 3, 1998 Braunschweig Lions (2) Hamburg Blue Devils (3) 20-14 Hamburg (4) 22,100
XXI October 9, 1999 Braunschweig Lions (3) Hamburg Blue Devils (4) 25-24 Hamburg (5) 30,400
XXII October 7, 2000 Cologne Crocodiles (6) Braunschweig Lions (4) 31-29 Braunschweig (2) 20,312
XXIII October 6, 2001 Hamburg Blue Devils (5) Braunschweig Lions (5) 31-13 Hanover (2) 23,193
XXIV October 12, 2002 Hamburg Blue Devils (6) Braunschweig Lions (6) 16-13 Braunschweig (3) 21,097
XXV October 11, 2003 Hamburg Blue Devils (7) Braunschweig Lions (7) 37-36 (aet) Wolfsburg 20,517
XXVI October 9, 2004 Berlin Adler (6) Braunschweig Lions (8) 10-7 Braunschweig (4) 17,200
XXVII October 8, 2005 Braunschweig Lions (9) Hamburg Blue Devils (8) 31-28 Hanover (3) 19,512
XXVIII October 7, 2006 Braunschweig Lions (10) Marburg Mercenaries 31-13 Braunschweig (5) 15,897
XXIX October 6, 2007 Braunschweig Lions (11) Stuttgart Scorpions 27-6 Stuttgart 8,152
XXX September 29, 2008 Braunschweig Lions (12) Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 20-14 Frankfurt (3) 16,177
XXXI October 3, 2009 Berlin Adler (7) Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (2) 28-21 Frankfurt (4) 14,234
XXXII October 9, 2010 Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (3) Berlin Adler (8) 17-10 Frankfurt (5) 11,121
XXXIII October 8, 2011 Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (4) 48-44 Magdeburg 11,711
XXXIV October 13, 2012 Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (2) Kiel Baltic Hurricanes (5) 56-53 Berlin (3) 11,242
XXXV October 12, 2013 New Yorker Lions (13) Dresden Monarchs (1) 35-34 Berlin (4) 12,157
XXXVI October 11, 2014 Berlin (5)
  • Champions in bold.

By team[edit]

App. Team Wins Losses Winning percentage Season(s)
13 New Yorker Lions 8 5 .615 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013
9 Düsseldorf Panther 6 3 .667 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996
8 Berlin Adler 6 2 .750 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1994, 2004, 2009, 2010
8 Hamburg Blue Devils 4 4 .500 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
8 Ansbach Grizzlies 3 5 .375 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986
6 Cologne Crocodiles 1 5 .167 1982, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2000
5 Kiel Baltic Hurricanes 1 4 .200 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
3 Frankfurter Löwen 2 1 .667 1979, 1980, 1981
2 Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns 2 0 1.000 2011, 2012
2 Red Barons Cologne 1 1 .500 1988, 1989
2 Munich Cowboys 1 1 .500 1992, 1993
1 Badener Greifs 0 1 .000 1987
1 Marburg Mercenaries 0 1 .000 2006
1 Stuttgart Scorpions 0 1 .000 2007
1 Dresden Monarchs 0 1 .000 2013
  • Bold denotes German Bowl victory.
  • Known as the "Braunschweig Lions" from 1987 to 2010.

By city[edit]

The host cities of the German Bowl were:

City State No. hosted
Frankfurt Hesse 5
Braunschweig Lower Saxony
Hamburg Hamburg
Berlin Berlin 4
Hanover Lower Saxony 3
Nuremberg Bavaria 2
Cologne North Rhine-Westphalia
Essen North Rhine-Westphalia
Magdeburg Saxony-Anhalt 1
Stuttgart Baden-Württemberg
Wolfsburg Lower Saxony
Hanau Hesse
Munich Bavaria
Düsseldorf North Rhine-Westphalia
Würzburg Bavaria

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Bowls GFL website, accessed: 29 December 2010
  2. ^ GFL German Football League (German) AFVD website, accessed: 29 December 2010
  3. ^ a b Geschichte (German) AFVD website, accessed: 29 December 2010
  4. ^ a b c d Football History (German) Historic American football tables from Germany, accessed: 2 January 2010
  5. ^ Unicorns gewinnen German Bowl XXXIII (German) GFL website, published: 8 October 2011, accessed: 12 October 2011
  6. ^ Erfolg dank Goethe (German) Sueddeutsche Zeitung, published: 10 October 2011, accessed: 12 October 2011

External links[edit]