Guard Kendell Mack will try to help the Scottish Claymores avenge last year's World Bowl loss to the Rhein Fire
Aaron Stecker isn't playing in the NFL Europe League this season, but perhaps he'll take time to tune in this weekend as the 2001 season hits its midpoint.
Stecker's former squad, the Scottish Claymores, will be visiting the Rhein Fire on Sunday in a rematch of last year's NFLEL championship game, the 2000 World Bowl. Though Stecker, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running back, was the league's offensive MVP last season, his Claymores fell to the Fire in the championship match, 13-10. To gain some measure of revenge, Stecker will have to rely on offensive guard Kendell Mack and tight end Randy Palmer, two current Buccaneer teammates who are playing for the Claymores.
Mack starts at left guard for the Claymores, who are looking to climb out of the cellar in the league's offensive rankings. Palmer starts at tight end and has hauled in four receptions for 33 yards.
Of course, as often happens in the NFLEL, Mack and Palmer will be opposing another of their Buccaneer teammates, WR Eddie Hardaway. Hardaway has made the most significant statistical impact of the eight allocated Buccaneers, catching a team-high eight passes for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Fire.
The Claymores-Fire matchup will conclude the fifth week of action on the 10-week NFLEL regular season slate, as the Barcelona Dragons will take on the Amsterdam Admirals and the Frankfurt Galaxy will visit the Berlin Thunder on Saturday. Following is the television schedule:
- Barcelona at Amsterdam, Saturday, May 19, 1:00 p.m. U.S. EDT on FOX Sports Net * Frankfurt at Berlin, Saturday, May 19, 12:00 p.m. U.S. EDT on DirecTV * Scotland at Rhein, Sunday, May 20, 10:00 a.m. U.S. EDT on DirecTV
DT Matt Sweeney starts for the Amsterdam Admirals and has recorded two sacks plus a fumble recovery for a touchdown. P Andrew Bayes, G Wilbert Brown and CB Terrance Parrish play for Frankfurt. WR Chris Daniels is on the Dragon's roster but is not playing due to a neck injury.
In addition to the hundreds of allocated players on the field, there is also a decided NFL presence in the NFLEL broadcasting booths this spring. Former NFL standouts who are pursuing broadcasting careers are showcasing their talents overseas on a weekly basis.
For instance, former Houston and Green Bay defensive end Sean Jones will join veteran ay-by-play man Paul Kennedy in the booth for the Barcelona-Amsterdam gathering. In Berlin, former San Francisco and Seattle safety Merton Hanks will help Brad Sham describe the action as the Galaxy takes on the Thunder. And in Dusseldorf, former Denver guard Mark Schlereth joins NFLEL icon Nick Halling in calling the Scotland-Rhein outing.
Extended game notes for this weekend's matchups:
BARCELONA DRAGONS (4-0) at AMSTERDAM ADMIRALS (2-2) Amsterdam ArenA, Saturday May 19, 7:00 p.m.
SERIES NOTES Overall: Dragons lead 7-6 At Amsterdam: Amsterdam leads 4-2 At Barcelona: Barcelona leads 5-2 Streak: Barcelona 5 This season: Amsterdam 14 at Barcelona 31 (Week 4)
Dragons have achieved first 4-0 start since inaugural season of 1991 and are only the sixth team in league history to win first four games of season…. Dragons bidding to be only the fourth team in history to start season 5-0 (London 9-0 in 1991, Amsterdam 7-0 in 1995, Rhein 6-0 in 1998).
Having won final game of 2000, the Dragons have matched the longest winning streak in team history (five straight wins in 1992)…. Dragons looking to complete back-to-back sweeps of back-to-back series, having beaten Rhein in Weeks 2 and 3 and Amsterdam in Week 4.
Dragons took 7-6 lead in series with last week's 31-14 victory…. Dragons won despite committing 5 turnovers, including 4 fumbles…. Game saw Dragons becaome only second team in league history (NY/NJ Knights at London 1991) to have two 100-yard receivers and a 100-yard rusher in same game, as Mike Green rushed for 194 yards and 2TDs, Tony Simmons had 120 receiving yards and 2TDs and Trevor Insley posted 118 receiving yards.… Home teams have combined 9-4 record in this series.
Dragons have won five straight against the Admirals… Admirals have won both home games this season to improve all-time record in Amsterdam to 25-7…. Admirals' defense has dropped to fourth in the rankings and faces team ranked number one in passing and rushing offense.
FRANKFURT GALAXY (1-3) at BERLIN THUNDER (2-2) Jahnstadion, Saturday May 19, 6:00 p.m
SERIES NOTES Overall: Frankfurt leads 4-1 At Berlin: Frankfurt leads 2-0 At Frankfurt: Frankfurt leads 2-1 Streak: Berlin 1 This season: Berlin 28 at Frankfurt 20
Berlin's victory last week against Rhein gives them a shot at posting first 3-2 record in team history…. Galaxy ended a three-game losing streak last week against Scotland but needs victory to avoid second straight 1-4 start to season…. Berlin achieved its first-ever victory against the Galaxy in Week 2 and now bids to beat Frankfurt at home for the first time.
In Frankfurt in Week 2, Jonathan Quinn threw 2 TD passes as the Thunder rallied from a 14-0 first-quarter deficit to record a 28-20 victory…. In this game last year the Galaxy took a 17-0 first-quarter lead on their way to a 32-7 victory. The game was halted for 90 minutes by lightning - the first such delay in league history.
Thunder franchise has never had a 100-yard rusher in 23 games and is facing a Galaxy team that has not posted a 100-yard rusher in last 36 games…. Thunder has a 2-0 record against German teams this season…. Galaxy is ranked number 1 on defense and number 2 on offense, which could prove important with NFLEL's new tiebreaker system (combined rankings are second tie-breaker step after head-to-head results).
SCOTTISH CLAYMORES (2-2) at RHEIN FIRE (1-3) Rheinstadion, Sunday, May 20, 4:00 p.m.
SERIES NOTES Overall: Rhein leads 8-4 (plus 1-0 postseason) At Scotland: Tied 3-3 At Rhein: Rhein leads 5-1 Streak: Scotland 1 Last season: Scotland 10 at Rhein 22; Rhein 24 at Scotland 31
Fire's loss last week means they have lost three straight games in same season for first time since first three games of 1996 - a streak that ended with a home victory against Scotland (they had a 4-game regular season losing streak when they lost last two games of 1998 and first two of 1999)…. A Fire loss would match their worst first half-season in team history, 1-4 in 1996.
Claymores victory would guarantee them at least share of second place in the standings at the halfway point of the season…. Claymores are 0-2 on the road this season…. Repeat of last season's World Bowl, won 13-10 in Franfkfurt by the Fire as Pepe Pearson scored on a 1-yard run with 1:12 remaining and Scotland's Rob Hart missed a game-tying 40-yard FG with 0:04 to play.
Fire also hold an 8-4 lead in the regular season series, with last year's games being won by the home teams. Rhein won 22-10 at home with former Claymores receiver Kevin Drake catching two of Danny Wuerffel's three touchdown passes, and Scotland were 31-24 winners in Glasgow after Aaron Stecker scored on a 3-yard run with 0:15 on the clock…. All four of Scotland's wins in this series have been by one score or less, including three on TDs inside the two-minute warning…. Claymores have only won once in six attempts in the Rheinstadion, a 23-20 win in 1997.