The cowboys were out, but at least with applause. The players looked up at the Dante Stadium stands and clapped to the fans as the fans did to them, behind them on the lawn across the yard lines were emblazoned the two words: "Playoff dahoam." They had written it there with great pride. In principle, the Bundesliga football club had been working towards this day for 21 years. The team hadn't finished second in the southern relay for so long to be able to enjoy home advantage in the quarterfinals. If they did finish third or fourth, they regularly suffered clear defeats away from home in the north.
The Cologne Crocodiles came to the playoff dahoam on Saturday and it turned out to be a duel that promoted the German Football League (GFL). The Cowboys looked like certain losers, but Cologne's lead melted from 13:31 to 31:34 in the last quarter, but then the Cowboys ran out of time. Nevertheless, a few minutes later her new head coach Nadine Nurasyid had the big picture in view: "It was a great first season, the learning curve was immense, for me, but also for the team." However, all expressions of sympathy were abruptly ended. Rain was coming, the sky was darkening, and that was symbolic in more ways than one.
Even if the Cowboys didn't manage to make the last four, the game set a milestone. It has taken a lot of energy for them to be back among the best teams in the country over a long period of time. There were many construction sites to work on, not just in terms of sport, for example in the almost eternal search for a suitable quarterback - Wyatt Smith clearly stood out this year compared to his predecessors. Another important point: The cowboys were allowed to take over the catering in the stadium themselves for the first time this year, somewhat delayed due to the corona, which is an important income factor for amateur football teams. It has long been a competitive disadvantage for the Cowboys not to be able to do this.
Most GFL players get gas money at most
Now everything finally seems to be in order for a golden future, but suddenly "the sky goes dark". With this formulation, the ravens, who are currently circling over Munich, announce their landing in 2023 on Twitter: The Munich Ravens, who will compete in the European League of Football (ELF) next season. A professionally managed team that will almost certainly cause unrest among the cowboys: Most ELF players receive mini-job salaries, most GFL players only get gas money.
Two days before the Cowboys' home playoff game, the team's name and investor names were announced. "Of course" there will be many changes, says Cowboys President Werner Maier, who doesn't want to paint it completely black just yet: "If we manage to keep the coaching team together, the majority of the players will stay," he is convinced. Coach Nurasyid admits she's already worried about the private sector competition in the city.
The Allgäu Comets also have to worry
The opponent from Cologne is actually proof that it is very possible to have a GFL and an ELF team in the same city. But their coach David Odenthal finds the clearest words: "It doesn't work," he says. Because of the Cologne Centurions and the Rhein Fire in Duisburg, which was founded in 2022, he has already “lost the entire squad twice”, which means that he had to completely rebuild it twice. He speaks of a poisoned atmosphere because it's all about money. With the ELF, coaches “suddenly came from somewhere who hadn’t learned the game properly, they use money from a pool” from the GFL teams, “that doesn’t work for me”. He announced a conference of GLF trainers that should "do something" that "is competitive against these ELF" - such as a more exciting mode.
The third in the south, the Comets from Kempten, didn't give a damn about the home advantage and surprisingly won the second in the north, the Lions from Braunschweig, with 14:10. But even in the Allgäu they will have to be careful not to lose players to the new team in winter. With the Bavarian ELF location, the seventh in Germany, the whole of southern German amateur football is threatened with a sensitive bloodletting.