Thank you dear NFL!
Now the time has come. We German fans get the reward for the ever-growing enthusiasm and support for the best sport in the world with the first official NFL league game on German soil.
More than three million of us fans tried to get hold of a ticket online on the deadline day. This number alone was proof enough in advance that the league’s offices had made the right decision. And we can all only hope that the allocation mode for the coming year will be optimized at one point or another, that’s for sure. But no master has fallen from the sky either.
But what’s been going on in and around Munich since the beginning of the week has definitely gone beyond anything NFL Commissioner Goodell imagined in his wildest dreams. And it is proof that our sport has established itself as the second most popular sport in Germany in recent years. American football is here to stay.
The Bavarian metropolis lights up either green-blue or red-black on every corner. And while everything is more spread out over the city due to the sheer size of the games in London, the fan here in Munich is offered the NFL experience on every street corner in the city center.
Even the teams that will be playing their games here in the next few years and have nothing to do with the weekend game like the Patriots and Co. have spared no expense or effort and are running their own fan pubs until Sunday. In addition, the two German flagships of the league: Super Bowl champ Sebastian Vollmer and ex-Giants player Markus Kuhn, who race from event to event and are always within reach of every fan at eye level.
More football and above all closer to the fans is not possible.
And at this point you have to ask the Germany boss Dr. Steinforth and his team are full of praise, because in the time frame that was available to them, not only organizing the game itself, but also setting up such a comprehensive program for a whole week was definitely a full-time job. In a country where just the conversion of a carport requires what feels like 700 pages of official paper to set it all up — hats off!
The most important work for the game itself is as I write these lines, but still in the final stages. Because immediately after the final whistle of Bayern’s game against Werder on Tuesday, construction work began. You had four days in the Allianz Arena to make everything suitable for the NFL. More showers were needed. Because the 12 that are otherwise available to every team are simply not enough.
But that’s not all. Excavation work was still pending. The goal posts had to be firmly anchored. A 2×2 meter foundation was poured, the run-off area in front of the south stand also had to be straightened with poured concrete. Hanging up all the logos and banners, including fine-tuning, until the kickoff is almost like a relaxation exercise. As in London, the fans in the stadium and in front of the television will not miss anything that belongs to an NFL game.
For me, my work starts on Saturday, which reminds me more than ever how far we have come with our sport in this country. I’ll watch the “Seahawkers Germany” fan party with Roman Motzkus, then rush to the Ran party in the Löwenbräukeller, and then have a final beer in the Bucs pub. And then on Sunday, even if I’m unfortunately not allowed to moderate the game from the stadium, I have a mission ahead of me, together with Mr. Motzkus and Max Zielke, which I could not have imagined even in my wildest dreams a few years ago.
From 2 p.m. we stand in front of almost 6,000 people and moderate the big public viewing in the Audi Dome. But that’s not all. From 7 p.m. we will be commentating live on the Vikings’ game against the Bills for ProSieben. Can someone pinch me?!
Watching two good football players together with several thousand “friends”! I’m looking forward to it!