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    What Is the European League of Football? Joe Thomas To Coach Ravens

    Cleveland Browns legend Joe Thomas is heading to the Ravens. But a different one. What kind of league is the future Hall of Famer walking into?

    Joe Thomas is going from the Cleveland Browns to the Ravens.

    “Dawg Pound” fans don’t need to cringe. The legendary left tackle isn’t heading to Baltimore a la Art Modell back in 1995. Thomas is giving coaching a try in Europe with a team named the Ravens — the Munich Ravens, who play in the European League of Football (or ELF).

    What Is the European League of Football?

    Thomas, 38, confirmed with reporter Icke Dommisch that he is heading for the Munich franchise. “I’m just hoping to come out and coach some of the guys next year for the next season,” Thomas said.

    He adds, along with his love for the pigskin, that he has roots with one European country.

    “I’ve got a deep passion for football, I’ve got German roots, I was here for the NFL game last fall and put some connections together,” Thomas said. “Love to come out here and share some of my experience and wealth of football knowledge with these guys and see if we can bring a championship to Munich.”

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    So what exactly is the ELF? Will it be anything like NFL Europe? Or even the World League of American Football from the mid-1990s? Will it be anything like the XFL and USFL?

    There are 17 teams in the league. But some of the names and logos could be recognizable for fans who watched both past Euro leagues.

    European League of Football Conferences and Teams

    For starters, there are franchises of World League and NFL Europe fame participating in the league.

    The Barcelona Dragons are one. The Dragons were one of the original WL teams before the league became defunct in 1992. They then joined NFL Europe in 1995.

    The Frankfurt Galaxy is another that represented both leagues and has now joined the EFL. The last NFL Europe teams to join the EFL are the Berlin Thunder and Rhein Fire — the former once operating as the London Monarchs of the World League. The league is comprised as follows:

    Eastern Conference

    • Berlin Thunder
    • Panthers Wroclaw (Poland)
    • Leipzig Kings (Germany)
    • Vienna Vikings (Austria)
    • Prague Lions (Czech Republic)
    • Fehérvár Enthroners (Hungary)

    Western Conference

    • Rhein Fire
    • Paris Musketeers
    • Cologne Centurions (Germany)
    • Hamburg Sea Devils (Germany)
    • Frankfurt Galaxy

    Central Conference

    • Raiders Tirol (Austria)
    • Barcelona Dragons
    • Stuttgart Surge
    • Milano Seamen
    • Helvetic Guards (Switzerland)
    • Munich Ravens

    European League of Football Rules and Differences

    The EFL says on its website that it is not a relaunch of NFL Europe. Furthermore, the league has this rule involving American-born players.

    “Every team will only be allowed to have four US-Imports on the gameday roster and two US-Imports on the field at the same time. Furthermore, six additional foreign players can be signed on the game day roster. The league is giving local players the chance to develop and play on a higher level to showcase their talent,” the website stated.

    The field rules, however, will follow the formatting of a traditional Sunday, Monday, and Thursday NFL game.

    All teams play 12 games (six home, six away). The playoff system will be a six-team format. All three conference champions automatically qualify, while the three remaining best teams, by record, fill the rest of the postseason.

    Joe Thomas Joins Other Notable Names

    In heading over to Munich, Thomas will be linking up with someone from his Browns past.

    Patrick Esume is the league’s commissioner. Esume was part of the Browns’ minority coaching fellowship program during Cleveland’s training camp in 2007. He’s also the co-host of The Bromance Podcast, which has Thomas as a regular on the show.

    The Munich head coach happens to also have NFL ties. John Shoop began his NFL career when the Carolina Panthers debuted in 1995. He’s also had stops with the Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Oakland Raiders. Shoops’ last season of coaching in the league was 2006.

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    Norm Chow is another notable name in the ELF as head coach of the Helvetic Guards. The longtime college football assistant became a two-time national champion with USC before handling offensive coordinator duties for the Tennessee Titans from 2005 to 2007.

    Jim Tomsula is one last name from the NFL realm who’s head coaching in the ELF with the Rhein Fire. Tomsula is best known for being a longtime assistant and head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.

    How To Watch the European League of Football

    Games can be watched via Game Pass. There are two other options, though, through League Pass and Game Day Pass.

    More information can be found here.

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