NFL folds European league

NFL folds European league

NFL folds European league
June 29th, 2007

Frankfurt, Germany (Sports Network) - The NFL folded its development league in Europe after 16 years Friday.

The decision was made so the league could put a stronger international focus on regular-season games outside the United States.

The announcement came less than a week after the Hamburg Sea Devils beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 37-28 in the World Bowl championship in Frankfurt before a crowd of 48,125. Five of the league's six teams were based in Germany, while the other was in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The NFL decided in October to play up to two regular-season games outside the United States. The first such game is October 28 in London, England between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants.

"The time is right to re-focus the NFL's strategy on initiatives with global impact, including worldwide media coverage of our sport and the staging of live regular-season NFL games," said senior vice president of NFL international Mark Waller.

The league said it is looking toward other regular-season games in Germany, Mexico and Canada, with Germany a strong candidate for 2008.

NFL Europa began in 1991 as the World League of American Football, with 10 teams from the United States and Europe, spreading from Scotland to Spain. After closing for two seasons in 1993 and 1994, the league returned with six European teams and retained the same format until the end.

The league was used by NFL teams to test talent and produced players such as quarterback Kurt Warner, who led the St. Louis Rams to the 2000 Super Bowl championship and won two NFL Most Valuable Player awards, Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme and Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri.

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