AUSTRIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE
SportAmerican football
Founded1982; 42 years ago (1982)
Inaugural season1982
No. of teams8 in top league AFL
CountryAustria
Czech Republic
Most recent
champion(s)
Danube Dragons
Most titlesVienna Vikings (15)
QualificationPyramid Tier
TV partner(s)ORF Sport
Official websitehttps://football.at/afl/ AFL

The Austrian Football League (AFL) is the highest level of American football in Austria founded in 1982. The Austrian Football League (AFL) has always been considered among the best and strongest leagues in Europe. The league plays by rules based on those of the NCAA.

The Austrian Football League is the highest tier level and below that is a tier pyramid system consisting of teams playing in divisions I through division IV. Winners of each division move up to the next level of play. The Tyrol Raiders and Vienna Vikings which had dominated the league for much of the preceding decade announced their intention to leave for the European League of Football for the upcoming 2022 season. However, unlike teams in other countries that have made this move, the reserve team of both will remain a participant in the Austrian Football League.

History

The AFL was founded in 1982 by the teams such as the Salzburg Lions, Graz Giants, Vienna Ducks and Vienna Ramblocks.

The AFL is commonly considered as one of the best American football leagues in Europe. This was especially so in the period from 2004 to 2011, when the European Football League final game the Eurobowl, was won seven out of eight times by an Austrian league AFL team.[1]

In 2010, the Prague Panthers from the Czech Republic joined the league as the first team from outside of Austria. The Panthers were a member of the AFL until the 2016 season. In 2016, the Ljubljana Silverhawks from Slovenia joined, and in 2018, the Bratislava Monarchs from Slovakia entered the league.

The regular season currently consists of ten games and starts in mid-March; the playoffs continue through July. The final game, the Austrian Bowl, was held for the first time in 1984 in Salzburg, Austria. Because homegrown players are one of the main focus points of the league, there are rule limitations for the numbers of foreigners. The rule has changed several times over the years and currently each roster can have a maximum of 6 American, Canadian, Mexican or Japanese professional import players, with two allowed on the field at the same time.

Teams

"Blue River Bowl III": Danube Dragons vs. Vikings at Rattenfängerstadion [de] in Korneuburg, 2010

In 2024, the AFL will consist of:

Austrian Bowl

All games

Bowl Date Champions Runners-up Score Location
I October 20, 1984 Salzburg Lions Graz Giants 27–10 Salzburg
II June 28, 1986 Graz Giants Vienna Vikings 31–12 Salzburg
III July 5, 1987 Graz Giants Salzburg Lions 20–00 ASKÖ Schmelz, Vienna
IV July 3, 1988 Graz Giants Vienna Vikings 33–15 ASKÖ Schmelz, Vienna
V July 1, 1989 Salzburg Lions Graz Giants 34–00 Salzburg
VI July 1, 1990 Graz Giants Klosterneuburg Mercenaries 59–70 Linzer Stadion, Linz
VII July 7, 1991 Graz Giants Vienna Vikings 38–70 ASKÖ Stadium Eggenberg, Graz
VIII July 5, 1992 Graz Giants Schwarzenau Rangers 28–13 ASKÖ Schmelz, Vienna
IX July 4, 1993 Feldkirch Oscar Dinos Salzburg Bulls 45–10 BSZ Südstadt, Maria Enzersdorf
X July 4, 1994 Vienna Vikings Levi's Graz Giants 45–23 Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion, Schwechat
XI July 15, 1995 Levi's Graz Giants Vienna Vikings 26–20 Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion
XII July 13, 1996 Vienna Vikings Levi's Graz Giants 41–35 Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion
XIII July 12, 1997 Levi's Graz Giants Klosterneuburg Mercenaries 35–14 Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion
XIV July 18, 1998 Levi's Graz Giants Vienna Vikings 43–30 BSZ Südstadt, Maria Enzersdorf
XV July 20, 1999 Chrysler Vikings Levi's Graz Giants 37–35 Rudolf-Tonn-Stadion
XVI July 22, 2000 Chrysler Vikings Papa Joe's Tyrolean Raiders 34–28 Hohe Warte Stadium, Vienna
XVII July 21, 2001 Chrysler Vikings Papa Joe's Tyrolean Raiders 24–14 Lindenstadion, Eisenstadt
XVIII July 20, 2002 Chrysler Vikings Öko-Box Graz Giants 52–21 Hohe Warte Stadium, Vienna
XIX July 12, 2003 Chrysler Vikings Öko-Box Graz Giants 56–42 Hohe Warte Stadium, Vienna
XX July 17, 2004 Papa Joe's Tyrolean Raiders Chrysler Vikings 28–20 EM-Stadion Wals-Siezenheim, Salzburg
XXI July 16, 2005 Chrysler Vikings Papa Joe's Tyrolean Raiders 43–14 Südstadt, Maria Enzersdorf
XXII July 14, 2006 Swarco Raiders Tirol Dodge Vikings 43–19 Hohe Warte, Vienna
XXIII July 14, 2007 Dodge Vikings Turek Graz Giants 42–14 Hohe Warte, Vienna
XXIV June 27, 2008 Turek Graz Giants Swarco Raiders Tirol 31–21 Lavanttal-Arena, Wolfsberg
XXV July 18, 2009 Raiffeisen Vikings Turek Graz Giants 22–19 Asko Stadium Eggenberg, Graz
XXVI July 9, 2010 Danube Dragons Swarco Raiders Tirol 28–21 Tivoli-Neu, Innsbruck
XXVII June 23, 2011 Swarco Raiders Tirol Raiffeisen Vikings 23–13 Ernst-Happel-Stadion, Vienna
XXVIII July 28, 2012 Raiffeisen Vikings Swarco Raiders Tirol 48–34 Hohe Warte, Vienna
XXIX July 27, 2013 Raiffeisen Vikings Swarco Raiders Tirol 48–31 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
XXX July 26, 2014 Raiffeisen Vikings Swarco Raiders Tirol 24–17 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
XXXI July 11, 2015 Swarco Raiders Tirol Vienna Vikings 38–00 Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
XXXII July 23, 2016 Swarco Raiders Tirol Graz Giants 51–70 Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
XXXIII July 29, 2017 Dacia Vienna Vikings Swarco Raiders Tirol 45–26 Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
XXXIV July 21, 2018 Swarco Raiders Tirol Dacia Vienna Vikings 51–48 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
XXXV July 27, 2019 Swarco Raiders Tirol Dacia Vienna Vikings 42–34 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
September, 2020 Dacia Vienna Vikings Graz Giants 3–0[a] ASKÖ Eggenberg, Graz
Footballzentrum Ravelin, Wien
XXXVI July 31, 2021 Swarco Raiders Tirol Dacia Vienna Vikings 35–14 Tivoli Stadion Tirol, Innsbruck
XXXVII July 30, 2022 Danube Dragons Vienna Vikings 51–29 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
XXXVIII July 29, 2023 Danube Dragons Vienna Vikings 14–13 NV Arena, Sankt Pölten
  1. ^ Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Vikings and the Giants were the only teams entering the competition. Instead of a bowl game, the two teams played a best of five series.

By Team

Rank Teams Champions Runners-up
1 Vienna Vikings 15 14
2 Graz Giants 10 11
3 Tirol Raiders 8 9
4 Danube Dragons[1] 3 2
5 Salzburg Bulls 2 2
6 Feldkirch Oscar Dinos 1 0
7 AFC Rangers 0 1

^ 1: Formerly known as Klosterneuburg Mercenaries

Notable Import Players & Coaches

Austrian teams in international competitions

Despite the relatively small size of Austria, both the Austrian national American Football team and individual club teams of the AFL have enjoyed remarkable success in European competitions. The Austrian national team, whose players mostly play in the AFL (with a few also playing in the German Football League), won the final 28-0 over team Finland 2023 European Championship of American football to win the championship title. The National team also has placed third at the 1995 European Championship of American football (hosted in Austria) and third at the 2010 European Championship, second at the 2014 European Championship (hosted in Austria), losing the final in double overtime to Germany in front of 27000 spectators at Vienna's Ernst-Happel-Stadion[2] and placed second again in 2018.

The Vienna Vikings have won the Eurobowl five times and reached the final ten times overall while the Tyrol Raiders have won it three times in five appearances in the final. Furthermore the Central European Football League has been won five times by Austrian teams both before and after it became a premier European competition.

The AFL Graz Giants own the first known European victory against a US college team in 1991. The Giants won the exhibition game 32–23 against Albany State University. The game was played in the United States on August 31, 1991.

References

  1. ^ "Eurobowl.info".
  2. ^ "American Football EM Finale 2014 - Bittersweet Glory". 22 June 2014.