Swarco Raiders Tirol
|League||Austrian Football League|
|Based in||Innsbruck, Austria|
|Stadium||Tivoli Stadium Tirol|
|Colors||Black and Silver|
|Championships||2004, 2006, 2011, 2015|
The Swarco Raiders Tirol, is an American football club based in Innsbruck, Austria. Founded in 1992, the Raiders since have become one of Austria's and Europe's most dominant American football clubs, winning the Eurobowl title three times (2008, 2009 & 2011) and the EFAF Cup once (2004). Playing in the Austrian Football League (AFL), the team has won the league championship four times, most recently in 2015. Regarded as one of the most professional organizations in Europe, the Raiders are regarded as a benchmark and role model for many other European club teams.
The Swarco Raiders was founded by a small number of volunteers back in 1992, starting in Austria's 3rd division in the spring of 1993, the team went unbeaten with an overall score of 158:11. After being promoted to the 2nd division, the team failed to continue its run of 1993, and posted a record of 2-14 in 1994 and 1995. After two mediocre seasons, the team was promoted to Austria's top division, the AFL, in 1998. In 2000 the young club played its first championship game, losing to the then-Chrysler Vikings Vienna.
After losing both regular season games against its rival the Vienna Vikings, the team fared much better in post season, beating the Vikings 28:20 in a thrilling game, hosted in Salzburg, Austria and it clinched the club's first national championship. Also in 2004, the team won the EFAF-Cup becoming the first tyrolean team to win an international tite, shutting out the P.A Farnham Knight of Great Britain 45:00.
After losing to the Vikings 43:14 in the bowl game of 2005, the two teams faced each other again in the final of 2006, but this time the team from Innsbruck beat its rival from Austria's capital in a lopsided game with an overall score of 43:19. Again the game was played on neutral ground, as the game was held in Maria Enzersdorf, Lower Austria.
In one of their most successful seasons of club history and just a week after winning their third Eurobowl, the Raiders beat the Vikings 23-13 in Vienna and won Austrian Bowl XXVII, winning the national title as well as an international trophy, this is commonly called "the double" and the ultimate goal in American Football in Europe.
In 2012, 2013, 2014 the Raiders came in second against the Vienna Vikings, who at that time had one of their best runs in history, including a perfect season in 2013. Many of the Raiders' veterans retired after the "double" season of 2011 and the Raiders had trouble replacing some of the most distinguished players in club history, despite the Raiders having more imports on their roster, the Vikings prevailed by running a well-versed spread offense and a hard-hitting defense in those years.
On 11 July 2015, the Raiders shut out the Vikings 38:00 and capped the successful rebuild started in previous years with the highest win over their rivals from Vienna. Good coaching of their young local stars and with the help of import players from the United States, the Raiders regained their position as the number one American Football Club in Austria.
In another thrilling game against the Vikings, the Swarco Raiders claimed its first Eurobowl-title, as it won 28:24. Three of the last four teams in the EFL contest were Austrian, underlining the country's dominance in European football. Ironically, neither of the teams who faced in the final was able to claim the Austrian title, as the bowl went to the Graz Giants.
After the Raiders went unbeaten in regular season, it let the semi-final game of the AFL slip, as it gave away a comfortable 21:00 halftime lead and lost the game 22:21 to the Raiffeisen Vienna Vikings. One week later, the team redeemed itself, by winning its second EFL title, beating the French top club Flash de la Courneuve in front of 6.500 spectators (at that time a record attendance for an American Football game in Austria) in the Tivoli Neu stadium of Innsbruck.
In 2014 the club took part in a new European competition, the BIG6 European Football League, which consisted of three teams from Germany, two from Austria and one from Switzerland, the clubs being Berlin Adler, New Yorker Lions, Dresden Monarchs, Raiffeisen Vikings Vienna, Swarco Raiders Tirol and the Calanda Broncos. The two best teams of this competition advanced to Eurobowl XXVIII, where the Lions were beat by the Adler. The next season Tirol again took part in the Big 6, once more failing to advance to the final, which was won by Braunschweig against the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns. In the 2016 the fortunes of the Raiders improved as they beat the Berlin Adler and Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns, not conceding a single point to advance to Eurobowl XXX against the New Yorker Lions.
- Official site (German), (English)