Tar Heels Are #1 In Football! YEEEEAAAHHHH!!!
Posted by Mike on May 19, 2007
Okay, not really. But in NFL Europa the Cologne Centurions, who have the League’s only two UNC alumni (tight end Bobby Blizzard and cornerback Cedrick Holt) on their 2007 roster, are in sole possession of first place (at 4-2) as of May 19. They will retain possession of first until at least Week 8 if the Berlin Thunder can beat the Frankfurt Galaxy tomorrow.
The Centurions are led on offense by QB Erik Meyer and RB Derrick Ross, who is under contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. Ross graduated from Tarleton State in Texas (whose most famous graduate is actor George Kennedy), leads NFL Europa in total offense, and is second only to Berlin Thunder RB and Wake Forest alum Chris Barclay, according to the league’s official statistics page. Ross also had two games rushing for over 100 yards, including a league high 143 yards last week against Berlin. Blizzard (picture below) leads Cologne in receptions and leads the league in touchdowns as of Week 5. The Centurions have a balanced offense, leading the league both in rushing yards per game (127.8) and in completion percentage (61.2).
The biggest reason Cologne has won games, however, has been their top ranked defense. Through Week 5 they have the most sacks (14), allowed the fewest yards per game (246.2), the fewest passing yards per game (140.4), and the fewest offensive touchdowns (8). P Gardent is NFL Europa’s leading tackler, and J Hall is the leading sacker. However, they seem to make mental mistakes at bad times, having committed a league-high 14 penalties that have led to first downs. This could haunt the Centurions later in the season.
Why throw out all of those statistics? Because I have now become interested in the fate of the 2007 Cologne Centurions if onlybecause they have two Tar Heels on their roster. Fans seem to be taking notice too; their home attendance for this week’s game against the Rhein Fire (22,154) was more than double the attendance than against the Berlin Thunder 2 weeks earlier (10,084). The toughest part of their schedule may still lie ahead; three of their last four games are against last year’s two best teams, Amsterdam and Frankfurt. Still, with luck they should be able to make this year’s World Bowl XV. So if you’re looking for an NFL Europa team to get behind, root for the Centurions…or else their terrible mascot will beat you to a pulp for supporting the Frankfurt Galaxy.
Bonus! Here’s a short video clip of Cologne (in white) playing the Rhein Fire (in red) earlier this year. I think the future is bright for football in Europe when the Rhein fans know to show their displeasure, as the punt team runs onto the field on 4th and 3.