British American Football Association all about the love of the game – The Denver Post

LONDON — Britain’s American football champions didn’t gain a single pound last year.

In fact, all of the London Blitz players and coaches, back-to-back British American Football Association champions, have paid to play, spending the money earned in their full-time jobs to pay league dues, buy equipment and pay for travel.

But such is the life of an American football team in the UK, even those playing at the highest level.

“Obviously it’s different from the United States, where because of the high school and college level, you always have an influx of players,” Blitz coach Mark Moss said. “Here, it’s about people who want to play. They are all volunteers and play because they love the game.”

There are six teams in the Premier League, with over 100 additional teams playing in the lower tier Divisions 1 and 2. BAFA, the national sports governing body here, also includes contact youth and flag football leagues.

At the adult level, the level of competition varies. The Blitz, which has played four consecutive national championship games, does not cut players and holds camps each offseason for new players. The league’s top players often have experience playing in the United States, many at Ivy League or NCAA Division III colleges.

There are also a handful of players with NFL experience. The biggest signing for a British team this year was Bradlee Van Pelt, the former Colorado State and Broncos quarterback who joined the Division 1 Leicester Falcons while living in England to study the wine trade. Van Pelt joined the team mid-season, but still earned team MVP honors while finishing second in the division in passing yards.

The Premier Division’s leading passer also has ties to the Denver Broncos. Coventry Jets quarterback Lorne Sam spent 2008 training camp with the Broncos as an undrafted rookie wide receiver. He never played in the NFL, but spent time in Canada. He had 30 touchdown passes in a 10-game season for the Jets, who lost to the Blitz in the title game.

“What we’ve seen in the last two years is people upping their games,” Moss said.

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