Blitz U17s go 3-0 at home to lead the division

On 13th May 2017 the London Blitz under 17 kitted team welcomed the Hertfordshire Cheetahs, Wembley Stallions and the London Warriors to Finsbury Park for their home tournament. This was the second tournament of the season for the London Blitz team, as three weeks before the Hertfordshire cheetahs had hosted the season's opening tournament.  There the London blitz had started the season 2 and 1, losing their final game to their hosts the Cheetahs in a close fought contest following wins over the Stallions and Cougars.

The London Blitz started the tournament in Finsbury Park against the Wembley Stallions, and going into halftime the game was tight with the Blitz leading by 1 touchdown.  However, the Blitz pulled away in the second half and ended up comfortable winners with a final score of 38-12.

In the second game the Blitz faced off against long time rivals the London Warriors for the first time in the 2017 season. The Blitz started strongly and at half time the Blitz had built a commanding lead of 25-7. However some errors in the second half from the Blitz and a never-say-die attitude from the Warriors saw a tight finish to the game, with the Blitz able to knee out the game with a 38-34 victory.

In the final game of the tournament the Blitz faced the Hertfordshire Cheetahs who had beaten them in the previous tournament. The Blitz went into the game looking for a perfect 3 and 0 for their home tournament and to avenge their only defeat of the season so far.  The Blitz started strongly and pulled out to 25 - 0 lead, and in the second half the Cheetahs pulled a couple back for a final score of 25 - 12 to Blitz.

The Blitz finished the tournament 3 and 0 which takes them to 5 and 1 on the season and the early pace makers in their division.

Written by Alex Wingrove

London Blitz return home with a bang

London Blitz mark return home with nail-biting win over arch rivals.

On a sunny spring afternoon in North London, London Blitz marked their return home after a year away from Finsbury Park with a hard fought win over cross-city rivals London Warriors in front of an atmospheric crowd. Having played “home” games at three different pitches last season, their much-anticipated return home didn’t disappoint as the A team moved to 3-0 whilst the B team beat the Essex Spartans to move to 1-1.

London Blitz B team kicked off proceedings for the day with a come from behind win against the Spartans. A low scoring first half finished 0-3 to the visitors but a second half rally from the home side saw the B team score 19 unanswered points to win 19-3.

This set the stage for the season’s first meeting between London Blitz and the reigning champions London Warriors. The game got off to a slow start with both teams going 3 and out on their first drives. But things didn’t take long to get going as Blitz linebacker Luke Prendergast picked off Warriors quarterback Jerome Allen inside the Blitz 10-yard line. The Blitz offense couldn’t capitalise on the opportunity and was forced to punt. The Warriors got an interception of their own but also couldn’t put points on the board as the Blitz defence stood firm.

Running backs Temi Oduyemi, Glen Toonga and Gabriel Quartey ground out yards on the ground; the Warriors offence dinked and dunked in the pass game, but both defences remained resolute. The Warriors deepest drive into Blitz territory was ended by an interception from cornerback Dotun Ademiju – his second in his first two games for the Blitz. The Warriors took a deep shot at the end of the 2nd quarter but what looked like a certain TD was broken up by Sam Jeater in the endzone, to end the half 0-0.

The second half started as the first ended, as the two teams offenses were met with strong defensive stands. The breakthrough came in the 3rd quarter as the Warriors capitalised on a Blitz turnover and running back Dwayne Watson found the endzone. With the PAT converted, the visitors lead 0-7.

With the Blitz pushing to put points on the board in the 4th quarter, a fumbled snap turned the ball over to the visitors who couldn’t take advantage. As always, the Blitz ‘never-say-die’ attitude shone through and the home side finally put their own points on the board with a screen from QB Joe Thompson to RB Dwight Caulker who took it to the house, the second year Blitz Juniors graduate scoring touchdowns in consecutive games. London Blitz went for two after the TD and RB Gabriel Quartey ran the ball in and the home side led 8-7. 

The lead didn’t last long as the Warriors returned the ensuing kick off for a TD, after a missed PAT, the score line read Warriors 13 Blitz 8 deep into the 4th quarter. The Blitz drive started from their 34-yard line and had to go for it on 4th down to keep their hopes of a comeback alive. Joe Thompson converted on 4th down with a pin-point pass to Mike Aboujouade. The Blitz then needed to convert another 4th down with Gabriel Quartey coming up with the yards after being hit in the backfield. Quarterback Joe Thompson then found Mike Aboujouade down the sideline for a long completion. Swift feet from Aboujouade led him into the endzone, finally giving the Blitz a well deserved lead. Blitz went for two after the TD and couldn’t convert. 

The Warriors once again had a big return on the kick off, after a Blitz penalty was added to the return, the Warriors offence started within field goal range with little over a minute on the clock. The Blitz defence stopped the Warriors from advancing much further and it was left to Warriors kicker Ian Jacquet. As the Warriors attempted their field goal, the Blitz side line called a time out to freeze the kicker, this piece of game-management paid dividends as the Warriors missed their field goal and Blitz won a nail biting game 14-13.

London Blitz move to 3-0 and on to the next game, away to Farnham on May 21. 

Written by Blitz reporter Yonis Aden

Homecoming Programme - Download now

Click the image below to download the match day programme for our homecoming double header against the Essex Spartans and London Warriors on Sunday 14th May. (File Size: 1.2MB)

Homecoming Double Header 14/05

After a tough 2016 season on the road, the London Blitz finally return to Finsbury Park, kicking off the home slate with a double header! The B team take on the Essex Spartans, while the A team sees a showdown with arch-rivals London Warriors in what could be a preview of BritBowl XXXI.

After playing “home” games on stages like Mill Hill Rugby Club last season, the Blitz make their long-awaited return to Finsbury Park on the 14th May. Now that the field has been re-turfed, great gridiron action can commence once more! The B-Team are the first to kick-off, with their fixture against the Spartan beginning at 12 noon. The titanic clash between the Blitz and the Warriors follows at 3pm.

The Spartans went 2-8 last season, finishing second-to-last in the SFC 2 East division. Neither of those wins came against the Blitz B team, who swept the Spartans 2-0 en route to a 4-6 finish. The Spartans opened this season with a 20-14 road win against division debutants East Essex Sabres that came down to the final seconds.

Coming off a difficult 36-15 loss to the Warriors in BritBowl XXX last season, the Blitz will be eager to take revenge as they eye a sixth BritBowl title. After a 36-23 road win against the Bristol Aztecs in the season-opener, the Blitz will be confident of a good season. However, the Warriors will prove to be a tough opponent once again after posting an unbeaten record last year. The Warriors are already 2-0 this season after following a 57-21 beat-down on division newcomers Bury Saints with a 27-7 win over the Farnham Knights.

In BritBowl XXX, the Blitz couldn't break through a stout Warriors defense and also struggled to stop eventual BritBowl MVP Dwayne Watson and the Warriors' rushing attack. Woefully wet conditions in the first half saw the Blitz down 23-0 early, and by the time the rain stopped in the second half, the damage was done.

After BritBowl XXX left the Blitz with a bad taste in their mouths, the boys are back and they mean business, gunning for a sixth title. Stopping Watson will be key to a homecoming win, as will finding a way to break through a Warriors defense that has allowed just 14 points per game so far this season.

With a scintillating slate of games to celebrate the Blitz's return to Finsbury Park, join us on Sunday 14th May from 11:30am! Tickets cost £3 per person (cash only) while under-16's can get in for free.

So join the London Blitz as we finally bring great gridiron action back to Finsbury Park!

Bristol Aztecs vs. London Blitz - Match Report

The London Blitz opened their 2017 campaign with a win against the Bristol Aztecs. Eager to get to work after what has been a long preseason, the Blitz found themselves against a very familiar opponent, a team who handed them their first loss outside of London in some time. With that memory fresh in the minds of all that played last year, the Blitz knew that their opponent was not to be underestimated.

Photo courtesy of the Bristol Aztecs

Photo courtesy of the Bristol Aztecs

Welcomed off the bus by a cold and dreary day, the Blitz started out as they intended to go on, running the ball behind a strong offensive line, made up of a mix of experienced veteran stalwarts and fresh new faces, there were opportunities for running backs Glen Toonga and Gabriel Quartey to impose themselves on the game. The first drive was capped off by a Toonga coast into the endzone with quality blocking on the right side of the line.

The Blitz continued to move the ball effectively in the air as well as the ground as Joe Thompson led the team down the field, engineering a drive that ended in a field goal, putting the Blitz up 9-0. Down early, the Aztecs offense began to show signs of life, moving the chains in the air, attacking the Blitz defence at the perimeter, scoring with a jump ball in the left corner of the end zone. All too aware of what occurred last year, the Blitz did not take their foot off the gas and continued to intersperse power running with effective passing and added to the score when Joe Thompson went to his third read and found Jasper Van Dooren crossing the back of the end zone. After another Aztecs score through the air, Thompson would find Van-Dooren again with a back shoulder fade. A long Quartey run put the score at 36-23

Defensive highlights included a diving interception by rookie Dotun Ademiji who left mouths gaping on both sides with some uncanny ball skills, picking the ball off millimetres above the turf, and another pick by Jose Van Ooten, who weaved his way through attempted tackles before being downed in the opposing red zone, put the game to bed.

Finishing with 196 all purpose yards and a score, Gabriel Quartey made an immediate impact on his first game in navy and white, his first touchdown of his Blitz career promises to be the first of many.

As ever after the first game of the season, there are a host of things to work on, especially as the next two weeks will bring some very stiff competition versus the Bury Saints and London Warriors, but the foundation was laid for a competitive season and young playmakers have already emerged. The Warriors fixture, the first of three this season, will see the Blitz return to their home field at Finsbury park and after a year on the road, the team certainly realise that there’s no place like home.

Click the image above to view the video highlights on Hudl

Click the image above to view the video highlights on Hudl

LB Matt Eva signed to Potsdam Royals

In yet another recognition that the Blitz grows some of the top football talent in Europe, linebacker Matt Eva has been offered a contract at the Potsdam Royals for the '17 season. 

We're incredibly sorry to see him go, but we wish him all the best, and we can't wait to see him terrorising offenses over in Germany this season!

 

 

Final Pre-season Preparations

Training Camp 2017

Next weekend, the London Blitz will be heading to their annual training camp as they ramp up their preparations for the 2017 season, and their chase for BritBowl glory.

Chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy stated: “Training camp is one of the most important events in the Blitz calendar. Not only do we rack up hundreds of man hours on the pitch and in the classroom, but we we also get the chance to come together and gel as a team. The Blitz has a family atmosphere and it’s these types of events that help us keep that ethos going, whilst getting some quality football in."

Head Coach Damian Anderson said: “With a number of top players being offered contracts over in Europe, and a couple of high-impact players hanging up their boots last season, preparing the next bunch of players to fill those shoes is critical, and events like camp give us the best opportunity to do that – 2 days of pure football”.

The team is still recruiting so if you're interested in playing for the club, please visit our website.

Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest updates.

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London Blitz 2017 schedule confirmed

The new BAFANL season is almost here, and the London Blitz will be aiming for their 12th consecutive BritBowl final appearance. In a season that sees the Blitz return to Finsbury Park and a new opponent emerge in Premier South newcomers Bury Saints, there is absolutely everything to play for in the quest for BritBowl XXXI.

The B team also enter their third year of competition in the SFC 2 Championship, again in the SFC 2 East division. With the London Hornets and Cambridgeshire Cats moving up to Division One, Blitz B are joined in the East by the East Kent Mavericks, who move over from the SFC 2 South, and a brand new team in the East Essex Sabres.

Click here to view the fixtures for both the A and B teams.

Standout games:

Blitz A @ Bury Saints (7th May)

The Saints moved up to BAFA's top division after the London Olympians and South Wales Warriors were relegated at the end of last season. The Saints claimed last season's Division One title with an unbeaten 9-0-1 record. A new opponent presents new challenges, and the Saints will prove to be tough competition as reigning champions under head coach Christian Cantrill.

Blitz A vs London Warriors, Blitz B vs Essex Spartans (14th May)

The Blitz mark their return to Finsbury Park with the first of two home double-headers, and immediately face a tough test in a BritBowl XXX rematch with rivals London Warriors. The atmosphere will be tense as the Blitz aim to mark their homecoming with a win and avenge last year's championship game defeat.

Blitz B also host their first home opponent of the season in the form of the Essex Spartans, who struggled to a 2-8 record last season. The Spartans will be looking for a bounce-back campaign as Blitz B attempt to take an early lead in the SFC 2 East after the division's off-season shake-up.

Blitz A vs Bristol Aztecs, Blitz B vs Wembley Stallions (11th June)

The second home double-header of the season sees the Blitz host the Bristol Aztecs, who finished with a 5-4-1 record last season and will be looking to take the next step and challenge for the division. It will be the Blitz's second game against Bristol, which could be pivotal for the playoffs if the Aztecs have a fast start.

Blitz B will host the Wembley Stallions in their third consecutive home game. The Stallions made the playoffs last season with a 7-3 record and swept Blitz B 2-0. Wembley could be playoff contenders again, and it's vital that the B team gets a home win.

Blitz B vs East Kent Mavericks (9th July)

Blitz B's penultimate home game of the season sees them battle SFC 2 East newcomer East Kent Mavericks. The Mavericks finished an 8-2 campaign as the SFC 2 South's second seed last season and made the postseason. East Kent could be in the playoff race again, so Blitz B need to get the early upper hand in what could be a tightly contested division. 

Blitz B @ East Sussex Sabres (30th July)

The Sabres are one of six new teams joining BAFA this season and are led by head coach Lee Joseph as they join the SFC 2 East. The Sabres will be a wild card as the rest of the division figures them out. Even if East Essex struggle in their opening season, they could still affect the playoff race with some late upsets as they find their feet.

Blitz A @ London Warriors (6th August)

The third BritBowl XXX rematch is the Blitz's final regular season game and could decide playoff seedings in the division. The stakes will be high in an epic clash at Streatham-Croydon RFC that could eventually decide who lifts the BritBowl trophy this season.

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Two Blitz alumni headed for GFL

We're proud to announce that two Blitz alumni have been signed to represent top flight teams in the German Football League for the 2017 season.

DB Charlie Joseph, who has been signed by the Marburg Mercenaries, said: "I've played this game for 10 years now and the London Blitz has raised me and made me the player I am. I've played for them at 5 aside level, youth level and senior level and enjoyed playing with great players, coaches and friends at every level. This year I take on a new venture in Germany with the Marburg Mercenaries in the GFL and I look forward to playing and learning from more great players and coaches."

Photo of CJ courtesy of Cannon Photography

Photo of CJ courtesy of Cannon Photography

Jonell Pelie has been signed as OLB for the Allgäu Comets. Jonell also joined the Blitz as part of the club's junior programme, and was selected as the Blitz's 2016 Defensive MVP last season.

Club Chairman, Henry Charlton-Weedy, commented: "It's fantastic to see the talent and quality of our players recognised at the highest levels of American Football. This proves that with the right mindset and coaching, there is no limit to what can be achieved by young athletes in the UK."

Blitz Head Coach, Damian Anderson, said: "Obviously I'm sad to see them go, but I'm so proud to see players like Jonell and CJ reach their full potential, and I wish them all the best over in Germany. The silver lining is that this gives opportunities for our newer and younger players. I'd especially like to welcome LB Terrell Jordan and OL Matt Ganga Jnr, who have just graduated from our junior programme."

American Football in mainland Europe does not follow the same regulations around player incentivisation as the UK, allowing the teams to attract some of the best players from around the world. If you're interested to find out more about where American Football could take you, check out our friends over at The Podyum - connecting coaches and players with top football organisations.

Top 5 lessons from Super Bowl LI

In a game for the ages, the New England Patriots overcame a 25 point half-time deficit to win the  Super Bowl 34-28 in overtime against the Atlanta Falcons. Both quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick now have five Super Bowl rings each, the most of any quarterback or head coach, and have become all time greats at their respective positions.

Atlanta dominated the first 40 minutes of the game. Inspired running from Devonta Freeman gave them the first score of the game. After a strip fumble by linebacker Deion Jones, tight end Austin Hooper caught a touchdown pass from Matt Ryan. Cornerback Robert Alford then intercepted Brady, running 82 yards for a pick-six. Tevin Coleman added another touchdown just after the half, giving Atlanta a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter. 

But then, somehow, the Patriots came alive. On the next five drives, New England would score four touchdowns and kick a field goal. Running back James White struck first with a short pass from Brady. Then came the field goal. On Atlanta's next drive, linebacker Dont'a Hightower strip-sacked Ryan, and the Patriots recovered the fumble. Danny Amendola's touchdown catch and White's two point conversion made it 28-20. The Falcons then made a critical error, opting not to run out the clock. Trey Flowers sacked Ryan to give Brady the ball back.

Julian Edelman then made a spectacular, gravity-defying catch off a tipped ball to keep New England alive. White scored another touchdown and Amendola scored the two point conversion. At 28-28, the Super Bowl went to overtime for the first time in NFL history. The Patriots won the toss, and Brady orchestrated a ruthless 91 yard drive, with White scoring the game-winning touchdown.

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So what can we learn from arguably the greatest Super Bowl (if not NFL game) ever played? Here are five key takeaways:

1. Never count out your opponent

Even when up by several scores, never rest on your laurels. Football is an incredibly physical game, which makes it unpredictable. Chaos could break out on any play and turn the tide of the game. It only takes a well-coached team with some luck and big plays to make a comeback, as Atlanta found out the hard way.

2. Never give up in a game

If you are playing from multiple scores behind, don't let that affect you or your team-mates. Brady and the Patriots overcame the largest deficit in Super Bowl history and ironically won by their biggest margin ever in a Super Bowl. How? They stayed calm and adjusted to their opponent, focusing on exploiting Atlanta's weaknesses and playing to their own strengths. Stick to your philosophy, even when on the back foot.

3. Don't focus on bad plays

This happened several times in Sunday's epic clash. Early on, Falcons cornerback Robert Alford got beat on a Julian Edelman catch. The very next play, Alford recovered a fumble for the game's first turnover and would also score a pick-six. Brady bounced back from that interception by throwing for 466 yards, a Super Bowl record, and two touchdowns. Edelman struggled early on with costly drops, but hauled in this incredible catch with the game on the line. Never dwell on a bad play and keep your emotions in check as best you can.

4. Play situational football

In any big or close game, great play across all three phases can make the difference. Take the Patriots in the second half, for example. Say, from deep in New England's territory after a stalled drive, punter Ryan Allen pins Atlanta within their own ten yard line. The defense then either forces a three and out, gets a stop before midfield, or forces a turnover. Brady gets better field position than when New England punted, so it becomes a net gain. Belichick and the Patriots excel at situational football, and a team that works together through all three phases is tough to beat.

5. Adjust to your opponent and the game itself

Recognising how a game is flowing and adjusting to your opponent can spark or stave off a comeback. New England recognised that Atlanta's strength could also be its weakness. With the Falcons playing fast, their young defense was getting tired. The Patriots exploited that by utilising a no-huddle attack focusing on speedy running backs and quick catches over the middle. The adjustment sparked the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history.

What did you think of Super Bowl LI? Let us know in the comments!

New Coach Alert - Matt Rogers

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Coach Matt Rogers as the new London Blitz QB coach.

Coach Rogers has over 20 years in the game, starting out as a player and progressing through to the coaching ranks.

Coach Rogers' previous roles have seem him as a player on the 2000 National Champions University of Ottawa team, and more recently on the coaching staff at Vancouver Collage, Notre Dame Secondary School, and St Thomas More Collegiate.

Coach Rogers also coached at Reicher Catholic High School in Waco, where he worked under Mark Waggoner and John Ryan, Central Texas Coaching Staff of the Decade 2000-2010.

He has coached players who have gone on to play Division 1 football at schools including USC, Minnesota and Kansas, and many more.

Coach Rogers said: "It is an honour for me to join the Blitz. I'm excited to work with a core of committed players, as well as coaches who are passionate and knowledgable teachers of the game. I hope to spread the game of football and work with the players and coaches to build upon the Blitz's strong foundation, not only to become a championship team here in Britain but Europe."

Head Coach Damian Anderson, said: “Coach Rogers is a great pick up for the team. His philosophy and knowledge of the game will compliment what we do and only strengthen the offence”.

Chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy, added: “The 2017 season is off to a great start - We have added some fantastic talent to our coaching staff, and we also have a new international sponsor - DraftKings."

The London Blitz are back at training every Sunday and Wednesday - players of all experience welcome. Check out our Facebook page for details.

Super Bowl LI: View from the fans

The Super Bowl is always the biggest game of the year for NFL fans, and is essentially an unofficial holiday in America. Here in the UK, the Super Bowl doesn't enjoy quite as much attention, but still has a huge following. With Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons kicking off on Sunday, several Blitz players will cheer for their teams as they take to the stage. So what are their thoughts ahead of the big game?

Every NFL fan dreams of their team reaching and then winning the Super Bowl. So how did our Blitz fans feel? Daniel Gilson, a running back for the Blitz, was “A little relieved strangely.” Daniel is a Patriots fan, and he pondered New England's season: “The AFC has been poor this year and anything less than winning the conference would have been a disaster. We might not have too many chances left with (Tom) Brady and after DeflateGate I think every fan is dreaming of watching Commissioner Roger Goodell hand the trophy to Brady.”

Jasper van Dooren, a receiver with the A team, is also a Patriots fan. “People were sceptical at the beginning of the season with Brady missing four games, and it's amazing to see Brady and the Patriots reach the final stage once again. I like the heat the franchise is getting, people are just jealous.”

For defensive back Alexander Yeleseyev, seeing the Falcons reach Super Bowl LI was special. “Being a Falcons fan, I am extremely happy that we finally made our way to the Super Bowl. Matt Ryan and most Falcons players deserve to win the championship this year. However, the Patriots are a strong team too, setting franchise and league records regarding playoffs and Super Bowl appearances.”

Like their teams, our players' journey to Super Bowl LI didn't begin this season. The journey began from the moment they first declared their support. “I started watching American football in 2011. I had no idea who to choose.” says Daniel. “Honestly I chose the Patriots because they have England in the name and they were a good team when I started watching . It's always easier to invest in a team if they are winning and play good football.”

For Alexander, the reverse is true. “It's always nice to be a fan of the team that hasn't got as many achievements, because you'll always care and support your team. I started watching NFL back when I was in high school in 2012. I have always been an Atlanta sports fan, so it was an easy decision.”

Jasper's support for the Patriots runs deep, and dates back to the start of New England's incredible run of success. “The first game I ever watched was Super Bowl XXXVI between the Rams and the Patriots.  It's hard to believe now, but the Patriots were the underdog for that game. I didn't know much about the game or the teams, so decided to root for the dark horse. After an upset 20-17 victory I've supported them ever since.”

Every team has both great moments and massive mistakes in the eyes of their fans. And on the biggest stage in sports, success and failure are multiplied. So what do our fans think is the key for their teams to hoist the Lombardi Trophy?

“The Falcons offense, especially Matt Ryan and Julio Jones; one of the most dynamic QB/WR duos in the league.” says Alexander. “Also, can't forget about Vic Beasley, who has been outstanding this season.”

Both Daniel and Jasper believe the key for the Patriots will be defense. “The secondary.” Daniel says. “Trying to keep Julio Jones quiet and forcing Atlanta to run the ball will be key as our run defense has been outstanding this year.” A tough task, but Jasper agrees. “If the Patriots' defense can slow down the passing game with double coverage on Jones, then we'll be in a good spot since our run defense has been superb this season.”

The Super Bowl means so much to American football fans. But for Daniel, Jasper, and Alexander, Super Bowl LI will mean just that much more.

Come enjoy the big game and join London Blitz for our Super Bowl LI party at Club Aquarium! Doors open at 7pm and the party continues until 4am! We have cheerleaders, beer pong, jacuzzi's and all kinds of American food and themed competitions! So come and watch the Super Bowl with the Blitz! Visit the link below to book your tickets.

https://billetto.co.uk/events/174661

Road to Super Bowl 51: Atlanta Falcons

Edd Hodsdon recounts how the Atlanta Falcons reached their second Super Bowl berth

Two years ago, Atlanta fired head coach Mike Smith and replaced him with former Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. The hope was that Quinn could turn one of the league's worst defenses around and create a dynamic young team. Quinn brought in Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator. The man who had turned a Cleveland unit into a respectable team would now work with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

Two years later, Quinn and Shanahan have delivered, leading the Falcons to their second Super Bowl berth in franchise history.

In 2015, the Falcons started 5-0 before imploding, finishing 8-8 and missing the playoffs for the third straight year. A promising start, but Quinn knew they could do better. So earlier this year Quinn spent his top two draft picks on defense, while Shanahan and Matt Ryan continued to work on their system. Big free agent signings like center Alex Mack and receiver Mohammad Sanu brought experience and talent.

This season, the Falcons opened with a 31-24 loss against Tampa Bay, but won their next four games. They beat preseason darlings Oakland, reigning NFC champions Carolina and defending Super Bowl champions Denver before dropping their next two games against Seattle and San Diego by a combined total of five points. But the Falcons rebounded to win nine of their final 11 games. Atlanta finished with an 11-5 record, winning their fourth NFC South title and capturing the NFC's second seed with home-field advantage and a first round bye for the playoffs.

Atlanta's offense was the highest scoring unit in the league, averaging 33.8 points per game and being led by MVP favourite Matt Ryan, who enjoyed the best year of his career while star receiver Julio Jones narrowly missed out on a second consecutive receiving title. Quinn's defense played fast and hard, with second year stud Vic Beasley leading the NFL with 15.5 sacks and six forced fumbles. With a high-powered offense with a multitude of weapons leading the way, Atlanta soared into the playoffs.

In the NFC Divisional round, Atlanta faced the Seattle Seahawks, Quinn's former team. With the league's best offense taking on the legendary Legion of Boom, the Georgia Dome was set for an epic clash. But the Falcons dominated, exploiting the absence of Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and a weak Seattle offensive line. Ryan's passer rating against the Legion of Boom? 125.7. Atlanta's defense intercepted Russell Wilson twice and sacked him three times in a 36-20 win, sending the Falcons to their first NFC title game since 2012.

Atlanta's opponent for a place in the Super Bowl would be the red-hot Green Bay Packers, who rode an eight game winning streak into the Georgia Dome. But Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers ran out of miracles as Atlanta dominated the game. Julio Jones had an unbelievable 180 yards and two touchdowns from nine catches. Quinn's defense smothered the Packers, who didn't score until the third quarter when Atlanta had a 31-0 lead. After a 44-21 win, the Falcons were headed to the Super Bowl, sending the Georgia Dome off in style.

Come enjoy the big game and join London Blitz for our Super Bowl LI party at Club Aquarium! Doors open at 7pm and the party continues until 4am! We have cheerleaders, beer pong, jacuzzi's and all kinds of American food and themed competitions! So come and watch the Super Bowl with the Blitz! Visit the link below to book your tickets.

https://billetto.co.uk/events/174661

Road to Super Bowl 51: New England Patriots

Edd Hodsdon recaps how the Patriots made it to their record ninth Super Bowl appearance

Even with star quarterback Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the season as a result of the DeflateGate scandal, the Patriots were still one of the top contenders in the AFC. Many experts thought if they could go 2-2 without Brady, they would be in good shape.

Instead, they went 3-1, upsetting Arizona in the season opener.

Brady's return against the hapless Browns started a four game win streak for the Patriots. Despite losing 31-24 at home to Seattle coming off their bye week, the Patriots would not lose again, avenging last year's AFC Championship game loss to Denver with a 16-3 win in Week 15. Brady posted another vintage campaign at 39, throwing 28 touchdowns to just two interceptions while averaging 296.2 yards per game. Even losing once-in-a-generation tight end Rob Gronkowski to injury in Week 12 could not slow the Patriots down as they won their 8th consecutive AFC East title, finishing 14-2 and clinching a 7th consecutive first round playoff bye.

But it's not just Brady and the offense who have led the way, as Bill Belichick's defense has been a key component. The Patriots are the league's stingiest defense, allowing an average of only 15.6 points per game. New England's defensive success this season is remarkable because Belichick has adjusted his roster on the fly.

The Patriots jettisoned arguably their best pass rusher in Chandler Jones in a trade with Arizona before the 2016 season. Then, they sent a conditional 4th round pick to Philadelphia for cornerback Eric Rowe, who was fifth on the Eagles' depth chart. After swapping low round picks with Detroit for linebacker Kyle Van Noy, Belichick stunned the football world by trading Pro Bowl linebacker Jamie Collins to Cleveland for a compensatory 3rd round pick. Add wide receivers Chris Hogan and Michael Floyd and tight end Martellus Bennett, who struggled for Buffalo, Arizona, and Chicago respectively, Belichick has built yet another championship team by turning trash from other teams into treasure.

In the Divisional round, the Patriots faced the Houston Texans. Both teams made mistakes in a messy game, but the Patriots prevailed thanks to the defense intercepting Brock Osweiler three times and adding three sacks. Brady battled Houston's formidable pass rush to deliver a 34-16 win, setting up an AFC title game clash with old rivals Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh arrived in Foxborough on the back of a nine game winning streak and two huge playoff performances by running back Le'Veon Bell. But after Bell aggravated a groin injury on the second play of the game, the Steelers' offense collapsed. Brady dominated Pittsburgh's young zone defense with a relentless no-huddle approach, throwing for three touchdowns and 384 yards in a 36-17 beat-down. The Patriots were headed to Super Bowl 51, a record-breaking ninth appearance in the Super Bowl and the seventh appearance of the Brady-Belichick era. 

Come enjoy the big game and join London Blitz for our Super Bowl LI party at Club Aquarium! Doors open at 7pm and the party continues until 4am! We have cheerleaders, beer pong, jacuzzi's and all kinds of American food and themed competitions! So come and watch the Super Bowl with the Blitz! Visit the link below to book your tickets.

https://billetto.co.uk/events/174661

Super Bowl LI preview

After over four months of great gridiron action, the 2016/2017 NFL season comes down to just two teams as the AFC's New England Patriots and the NFC's Atlanta Falcons prepare for an epic clash in Houston for Super Bowl LI. So who will win?

Both teams produced dominant displays of both sides of the ball in their respective conference title games. Atlanta, the league's top scoring offense, shredded the Green Bay Packers 44-21, while the Patriots and their number one scoring defense suffocated the Pittsburgh Steelers en route to a 36-17 win.

The offense is the key strength of both teams, each commanded by superstar quarterbacks in Tom Brady and Matt Ryan. Both defenses have excelled under the radar this season, guided by two defensive masterminds in head coaches Bill Belichick and Dan Quinn. So how do we seperate two very similar teams to find a winner? Let's look at the three keys to the game.

1) Pass defense

Both Brady and Ryan exploited weak zone defenses in their conference tilts, so expect both defenses to play man coverage for much of the game. For the Patriots, they must account for all of Atlanta's weapons. Expect the Patriots to rush four or five, covering the run and generating some pressure on Ryan, while having six or seven defensive backs dropping back into coverage, with double coverage (at least) on Julio Jones.

For the Falcons, they must rush Brady and attempt to catch him off guard, negating his quick release and taking away the short underneath and crossing throws that are New England's bread and butter. With Vic Beasley leading the league in sacks this season, this will be key for Atlanta.

2) The run game

Atlanta's backfield tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is one of the strengths of the team, taking pressure off Ryan so that he doesn't need to try and carry the offense by himself.

Both are excellent receivers out of the backfield and should be Ryan's safety valves against Belichick's defensive scheme.

For the Patriots, expect to see a larger role for LeGarrette Blount against Atlanta's young defense. The Falcons play fast with their young players, so using a bruising back like Blount should wear them down with sheer physicality, opening up the passing game for Brady

3) Clock management

Atlanta's offense is a powerhouse, and they can score quickly. The key for New England will be to keep Ryan and Co. off the field as much as possible. That means sustaining long drives with quick throws and clock-chewing runs. This would also keep the defense well rested, giving them a better chance of stopping Atlanta's offense whilst also tiring out the Falcons' young defense, as the Patriots did against the Steelers in the AFC title game.

The Falcons must force a lot of three and outs to preserve the clock so that Ryan and his offense have plenty of opportunities to build a commanding lead. The Falcons haven't played well from behind this season.

As we draw closer to a prediction, let's look at some interesting stats that could turn the tide in Houston;

- Tom Brady has never lost to the Falcons in his 17 year career (4-0)

- Offenses that lead the league in scoring are 1-5 in Super Bowls since 2000

- In six Super Bowls played between the top scoring offense and the top scoring defense, the defense is 5-1

Prediction:

So who will win Super Bowl LI? It's a mouthwatering match-up, but to me the Patriots have a slight edge. Belichick and the defense will no doubt have a scheme ready to stop Atlanta's offense. And when the Patriots played Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX a few years ago, whose defense did Tom Brady pick apart to win? Dan Quinn's.

Come enjoy the big game and join London Blitz for our Super Bowl LI party at Club Aquarium! Doors open at 7pm and the party continues until 4am! We have cheerleaders, beer pong, jacuzzis and all kinds of American food and themed competitions! So come and watch the Super Bowl with the Blitz! Visit the link below to book your tickets.

https://billetto.co.uk/events/174661

 

Join the London Blitz in 2017

Join the London Blitz in 2017

After a long break, made all the longer by defeat in the national championship final, the London Blitz get back to work in January with the strong desire to return to the top of the British game once more.

Since falling to the London Warriors 35-16 in Britbowl XXX, the club have been working tirelessly to develop their opportunities and enter the season with the best possible chance of success. The B team will also look to build on the foundations laid last year and hope to challenge the top of the division this coming season.

Following on from the sponsorship deal announced with Draft Kings, the team have set about investing in their teams. In addition to this, the club has garnered a good amount of interest from prospective coaches and players who will all be essential in winning at both A and B team levels.

 

Get Involved in 2017

Before the season gets underway fully, the Blitz will be hosting two sessions for all new players. Whether you have played before, everyone will be welcome to our introductory sessions on the 15th and 22nd January at Market Road, N7 9PL from 13:30 to 16:00. Please click on the links for all the information you need.

Session 1 - 15/1

Session 2 - 22/1

The team will rejoin in full on the 29th January.

Equally, the team is continuing to look for non-playing and coaching help. If you want to get involved, we would love to hear from you. Please see our earlier news post for more information on how you can become part of the team.

If you have any questions, please email chairman@londonblitz.com

TPB

The London Blitz Announce Draft Kings Partnership

The London Blitz Announce Draft Kings Partnership

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The London Blitz are pleased to announce the team's partnership with Draft Kings on a multi year sponsorship deal. In a pioneering partnership, Draft Kings will be the primary sponsor of the elite senior team for the next three years. As part of the partnership, Draft Kings are committed to developing interest in the sport and will provide valuable practice resources for the club.

 

Chairman Henry Charlton-Weedy commented: 'Anyone who enjoys American football in this country and watches it on TV will be familiar with the Draft Kings brand and how integrated it is to the sport in the UK. To partner with such a well known enterprise helps bring a truly valid sponsor to the British game and opens up a number of avenues for the club. We are proud to be part of such a partnership and look forward to all the possibilities that it will bring for our team and the game in this country'.

 

Draft Kings allows users to enter daily and weekly fantasy sports-related contests and win money based on individual player and team performances in five major American sports (MLB, the NHL, the NFL, the NBA and the PGA), Premier League and UEFA Champions League soccer, NASCAR auto racing, Canadian Football League, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), as well as American college football and college basketball.

 

To play with the London Blitz, click here to sign up. Then join the London Blitz league here and set your lineup to compete against the Blitz players.

Championship Jersey Sale

The Jerseys that saw the London Blitz achieve their greatest achievements to date, including the EFAF championships in 2011 are being put out to pasture. Last used by the London Blitz B team in 2016, the jerseys have come to the end of their service. This is a chance for the Blitz alumni, family and friends to keep a piece of the history they made.

The Jerseys are all available to buy at £25 a piece including shipping. Funds from the proceeds will be put towards the upcoming season.

Please click here to fill out the booking form.

Jersey's will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Once you have received email confirmation for your chosen jersey, please make a payment of £25 to the London Blitz bank account to finalise the booking:

Sort Code: 30-94-66 Account Number: 00114095

The jerseys will be mailed out to everyone in January.

We can’t guarantee the state of each one, but if you’re lucky it might just smell like the good old days…

Celebrating the victory over the Kragujevac Wild Boars in the 2011 EFAF European Championships

Celebrating the victory over the Kragujevac Wild Boars in the 2011 EFAF European Championships

London Blitz - Team Photo 2015

London Blitz - Team Photo 2015

Coaching staff wanted

Want to get involved in American Football?

As the club prepares for the 2017 campaign, The London Blitz has a number of coaching vacancies.

The London Blitz is one of the most experienced, successful and respected clubs in Britain. The 2016 season was no different, with another successive Britbowl appearance, as well as several players earning international caps.

In order to surpass this season's achievements, we will need dedicated individuals to join the club to help coach and improve our teams.

This is a unique opportunity to work with some of UK's most talented players. In particular, with our B Team entering its third ever season, incoming coaches will have the chance to make a dramatic difference to a title-worthy team.

Whether your experience rivals Bill Belichick, or you're a complete beginner looking to get your coaching career off the ground, we want to hear from you. For more information, please visit our Join Us page or contact chairman@londonblitz.com.

Current Coaching Vacancies

TeamRole
A TeamQuarterbacks
Linebackers
Defensive Backs
B TeamOffensive Positional Coach
Defensive Positional Coach
Special Teams Coach
Offensive Assistant
Defensive Assistant
Under 19sOffensive Coordinator
Positional Coach
U12 FlagHead Coach

29 Blitz players selected for Team GB

The GB Lions have confirmed their squad of 75 players for the upcoming men's fixture against Russia on Friday 16th September.

This year we are very proud to announce that 29 members of the 75-strong team are London Blitz players, and at least 2 are Blitz alumni, making the Blitz by far the most represented club in the squad. This is a testament to the talent and dedication of our players, and to the outstanding quality of our coaches.

We are also incredibly pleased to see that 8 of the squad came through the Blitz U19 programme, proving that it's never too early to get started in American Football.

View the full list of 75 players here.

Speaking about the team, GB Lions Men's head coach Mike Callen said: "While I was impressed by the quality of all players who attended trials for the squad, these are the 75 players who I believe give us the best chance of beating Russia, and hopefully either the Netherlands or Czech Republic beyond that."