American Football Thrives in PolandJuly 18, 2012
WARSAW-- The title contest did not disappoint as the Gdynia Seahawks outlasted the Warsaw Eagles 52-37, in an offensive shootout for the NAC Super-Final VII championship. All 23,000 available tickets were sold for the Polish League of American Football (PLFA) title game at the National Stadium. PLFA (Polska Liga Futbolu Amerykańskiego)
Gdynia quarterback Kyle McMahon was named the game’s Most Valuable Player for leading the Seahawks to their first title. McMahon played his collegiate football at Grand Valley State and Eastern Michigan University. He quarterbacked the 2010 GVSU Lakers to an 11-2 season in NCAA Division-II, Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
In his only season as a Laker, McMahon earned All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors after passing for 2,616 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also contributed 583 rushing yards and a team-leading 13 touchdowns, helping GVSU to an appearance in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Division II Playoffs.
The Gdynia offense was dominant throughout the entire game, piling up 578 total yards. McMahon went 20-for-26 for 293 yards and 3 touchdown passes while running for 115 yards and three more rushing scores.
“This is a key moment in the development of football on our continent,” said Tommy Wiking, president of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). “In 10 years we will all remember this game as a breakthrough.” The game was broadcast live throughout Poland on two different networks, and a replay is set to be shown all across Europe.
Kevin Lynch led Warsaw to a touchdown just before the break and to another one on the opening drive of the second half to pull his team to within 32-30. “Our biggest problem was that we made too many mistakes,” explained Eagles head coach Phillip Dillon. “We had the right attitude, however, and I thank my players for fighting to the final whistle”.
The Seahawks offense continued to pound away, with the knockout blow, a 58-yard touchdown run by McMahon in the fourth quarter. Sebastian Krzysztofek scored touchdown runs of 16 and 38 yards on the next two Gdynia drives. Krysztofek finished with 139 yards of total offense for Gdynia.
Former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski presented the MVP Award to McMahon postgame.
Commissioner Jędrzej Stęszewski, said, “Playing our championship in the National Stadium has really elevated the game.” The American custom of tailgating before the event was a large part of the attraction. Overall, the 2012 PLFA season had 38 teams competing in four divisions, Topliga, PLFA I, PLFA II and PLFA 8.
American football is also played in a number of European countries including Germany, Austria and in the Czech Republic. Teams can also be found in Denmark, France, Finland, Norway, Switzerland Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom.
EDITORS NOTE: Raymond Rolak is a well traveled and veteran sports broadcaster
2006: Warsaw Eagles
2007: Wrocław Crew
2008: Warsaw Eagles
2009: AZS Silesia Miners
2010: Wrocław Devils
2011: Wrocław Crew
2012: Gdynia Seahawks