When I last saw the Hamburg Sea Devils, they were defeating the Frankfurt Galaxy, 37-28, in World Bowl XV – which happened to be the final game in NFL Europa/NFL Europe/World League of American Football history back in 2007.
When I see them again, they’ll be competing in the new European League of Football – and I’ll be cheering them every step of the way.
Yep, I am now a die-hard Sea Devils fan, and one day I hope to tell you that I’m a long-time Sea Devils fan.
I can’t tell you that now, though, because I didn’t start rooting for them until Wednesday. That means I’m going on my second day as a fanatical supporter.
How did it happen?
Well, I sent out a tweet directed at all ELF teams and decided the first one to respond would have my loyalty.
Thanks to the club’s social media crew, Hamburg wooed me before any other ELF member and – therefore – is now my favorite team. (The Wroclaw Panthers were second to respond and the Barcelona Dragons took the bronze, so those are my second and third favorite teams, respectively).
As random as it all seems, though, there are a few reasons why my pledge of allegiance to the Sea Devils makes perfect sense.
Being of Scottish ancestry (the name “Scott” and “Adamson” provide solid clues there) I was a fan of the Scottish Claymores during their WLAF/NFLE days. But after a 10-year run the franchise was folded in favor of – that’s right – the Hamburg Sea Devils. Jack Bicknell was the coach of the Claymores during their final season and guided the Sea Devils in their first two, so that provided a natural bridge for me.
But it’s not just the past that has me all hyped up for the Deepwater Demons, but the present.
Ted Daisher is the head coach, and he used to hold that post with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League. The Colonials were originally the New York Sentinels before relocating, and the Sentinels were my favored team in the UFL.
Not only that, Daisher went on to become defensive coordinator of the Alabama State Hornets, a Football Championship Subdivision school located in Montgomery, Alabama. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, and used to stop at the Shoney’s restaurant in Montgomery for an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast buffet on my way to Florida for annual beach vacations.
Of course a beach is located near a sea, and some seas contain anglerfish, which are known as sea devils.
And if those aren’t reasons enough for me to become a Hamburglar (that’s what I’m calling myself on game days … I plan to wear a mask, black hat and cape while watching), the club recently signed Xavier Johnson, who played at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.
I have relatives in Mobile, so it’s almost like I have a family member on the Sea Devils’ roster.
OK, I’ve had some fun with this, but I’m not making fun at all. I really am honored that Hamburg sought me out as a fan, and they have my support – all kidding aside.
It doesn’t hurt that they have a great logo – even better, I think, than the cool one they rocked in their first incarnation.
But I’ll be rooting for the league as a whole. I want all eight members to be successful, and I’m happy guys who’ve dreamed of playing for pay but might not get a chance otherwise are getting a chance now.
I’ll be interested to see how many guys I recognize, and how many international players become stars.
Simply put, the European League of Football has my attention and I’m truly looking forward to kickoff.
And the Hamburg Sea Devils?
Stadion Hoheluft is 4,415 miles from my current home in Greenville, South Carolina, so I probably won’t be there to cheer them on in person this summer. But who knows? If you work in the ticket office there and “Hamburglar” calls requesting a general admission seat, it means I’m on my way.