The NFL Europa League kicked off its 15th season in exciting fashion this weekend with close games, big plays and record crowds.
Total attendance for the opening weekend was 89,367, the highest single-weekend total in the six-team league's history. The previous high was 89,001, set in Week 9 of 2005. The 2007 season's Kickoff Weekend attendance was up 64 percent from last year's opening mark (54,411).
In Frankfurt, Germany, a rematch of last year's World Bowl saw the Galaxy defeat the Amsterdam Admirals 30-14 before a crowd of 38,125 at Commerzbank Arena. Chicago Bears quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan completed 17 of 23 passes (73.9 percent) for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Detroit Lions running back Anthony Sherrell provided Frankfurt with a balanced offensive attack, rushing for 113 yards.
"We're excited about what we did offensively," said Galaxy head coach Mike Jones. "It builds our confidence. I don't know how much more balanced we can get."
In Düsseldorf, Germany, the Berlin Thunder earned a 15-3 win over the host Rhein Fire in front of 30,355 fans at LTU Arena. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Travis Lulay completed 22 of 32 passes (68.8 percent) for 189 yards and added a spectacular 61-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to lead the Thunder.
"It's great to open the season with a win," said Lulay. "We played hard and executed in all three phases of the game. This was a team victory."
The Cologne Centurions defeated the Hamburg Sea Devils 24-18 before a crowd of 20,887 at AOL Arena in Hamburg, Germany. Kansas City Chiefs running back Derrick Ross rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries and added three receptions for 25 yards for Cologne. Houston Texans quarterback Quinton Porter completed nine of 13 attempts (69.2 percent) for 109 yards and one touchdown for the Centurions.
"I was very happy to open the season with a win against a very good football team," said Cologne head coach David Duggan. "I thought we played extremely well on both sides of the football. It was a good team effort and I'm proud of the team."