1979 American football Bundesliga

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1979 American football Bundesliga
League American football Bundesliga
Sport American football
Duration 4 August–10 November 1979
Number of teams 6
Regular season
Bundesliga champions Frankfurter Löwen
  Bundesliga runners-up Ansbach Grizzlies
German Bowl I
Champions Frankfurter Löwen
  Runners-up Ansbach Grizzlies
GFL seasons
1980 →

The 1979 American football Bundesliga season was the first edition of the top-level American football competition in West Germany.

In the inaugural season six clubs competed in the league. At the end of the regular season the Frankfurter Löwen contested the first-ever German Bowl against the Ansbach Grizzlies and won 14–8.[1][2]


Location of teams in the American football Bundesliga 1979

During the regular season each club played all other clubs home and away. The best two teams after the regular season then contested the German Bowl.[2]

Season overview

The formation of the league dates back to a German TV interview with Alexander Sperber, son of a U.S. Army soldier and German mother, which created enough interest to form a number of teams and the league in March 1979.[3]

The league's opening game was held on 4 August 1979 in Düsseldorf when the Düsseldorf Panther hosted the Frankfurter Löwen in front of 4,400 spectators and lost 0–38.[4]

The regular season saw the Frankfurter Löwen win all their nine-season games, the tenth game, the home game against the Berlin Bären having been cancelled. Behind Frankfurt the Ansbach Grizzlies finished runners-up, undefeated by the other four teams but unable to overcome the Löwen . At the end of the table the Düsseldorf Panther remained winless all season. In the inaugural German Bowl, held in Frankfurt on 10 November 1979, the Löwen defeated Ansbach once more to take out the first-ever German championship.[2]

League table

The league table of the American football Bundesliga:[2]

American football Bundesliga
1 Frankfurter Löwen 9 9 0 0 493 177 1.000
2 Ansbach Grizzlies 10 8 0 2 243 44 0.800
3 Berlin Bären 9 4 1 4 146 83 0.500
4 Bremerhaven Seahawks 10 4 1 5 112 114 0.450
5 München Cowboys 10 3 0 7 90 224 0.300
6 Düsseldorf Panther 10 0 0 10 38 297 0.000


Qualified for play-offs


The 1979 season remained the only season of the American football Bundesliga, renamed to German Football League in 1999, to be played in single-division format. From 1980 onwards the league was subdivided into regional divisions, predominantly north and south.[2]

The Frankfurter Löwen continued their dominance in 1980, winning another title but then declined and folded in 1985. The Ansbach Grizzlies went on to play in each of the first eight German Bowls, winning the 1981, 1982 and 1985 editions. The club declined from there, dropped out of the league in 1990 and never returned to the highest level of play. The Bremerhaven Seahawks and Düsseldorf Panther briefly left the league after the 1979 season to join a rival competition but returned soon after. The Seahawks dropped out of the league in 1986 and, like Ansbach, never returned. The Panther, alongside the Berlin Bären, soon renamed to Berlin Adler, and the Munich Cowboys became more permanent features of the league, dropping out of the league on occasions but still spending more seasons in the league than any other club and winning thirteen German Bowls between them.[2][1]


  1. ^ a b List of German Bowls Archived 2015-09-29 at the Wayback Machine. (in German) GFL website, accessed: 23 September 2015
  2. ^ a b c d e f Historic American football tables & results from Germany football-history.de, accessed: 15 September 2015
  3. ^ Football Goes International The Washington Post, published: 24 August 1980, accessed: 28 September 2015
  4. ^ Geschichte (in German) AFVD website: History, accessed: 27 September 2015

External links

  • Official GFL website (in German)
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