NFL: Austria before the turning point in the NFL

With Toni Fritsch, Toni Linhart and Ray Wersching, three local athletes were involved as strikers in the NFL in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1987/88 season, Wersching was the last Austrian to play in a competitive game. With Sandro Platzgummer (New York Giants) and Bernhard Seikovits (Arizona Cardinals), two Austrian athletes are currently on the NFL squad, but their chances of playing are unequal with those of Raimann, a college player. in the US. established.

“It fulfills a vision I mentioned ten or 15 years ago, which means we will have an Austrian in the NFL,” said Michael Eschlböck, president of the local AFBÖ football association. His counterpart at Raimann’s home club, Dacia Vienna Vikings, Karl Wurm, commented to “Bernhard is not pure luck, he also has a system and seriousness behind him. First of all, it’s the player’s merit, “but he has also taken advantage of all the opportunities that have been offered to him.”


So far, only Austrian strikers have played in the NFL, like Toni Fritsch here for the Dallas Cowboys

Raimann actually took every opportunity. Only at the age of 13 did he get involved in football for the first time. Ahead of the first training session with the Vikings, the reserved Steinbrunner initially wanted to return. He approached the formative exchange school year in the U.S. even more aggressively in order to eventually receive the crucial scholarship to Central University of Michigan (CMU) and position himself decisively for the NFL in the four years that followed.

“It’s all about the will”

Prior to that, he graduated from Vienna Ballsportgymnasium in 2017 as the best of his year. Raimann initially started his career as a wide receiver, became a tight end and switched to offensive treatment just two years ago – at the start of the CoV pandemic. Of course, this particular story also pleases overseas experts, who see it largely in the first three rounds in their draft forecasts. Raimann said just last week at a media event about this unrealistic path: “It depends on the will.”

Bernhard Raimann (Central Michigan, 76)

AP / Butch Dill

As an offensive intervention, Raimann made his way through college to the NFL

Raimann, who practices great modesty, knows where he comes from. “Playing in Austria has helped me a lot, as a player, but mostly as an athlete. I now know the Vikings have a great program, as do others like the Danube Dragons and Swarco Raiders. The foundation helped me tremendously so that I could change positions. ”

Opportunities used with all “seriousness”.

In recent years, Austrians like Platzgummer and Seikovits have been no less determined, approaching NFL appearances, but none have come as close as Raimann. He is considered a fixed starter for next season. This sometimes has banal reasons that can not be affected, like body measurements but also others. “His seriousness,” the Viking Wurm president said briefly.

Raimann could be placed in the NFL

American football export Bernhard Raimann is poised to write the history of red-white-red sports. The Burgenlander has an excellent chance of being the first Austrian to be selected in the NFL draft, which starts on Thursday.

“You quickly recognize a wandering emperor, a very talented player, who is not willing to work so hard as not only to win the truck race, but to go beyond it. “And there are those who say it’s up to me.”

Karl Wurm, President of the Vikings of Vienna Kastler

Proud Viking President: Karl Wurm is happy for Raimann, who started his career in Vienna-Simmering

Wurm highlights the Vikings’ opportunities, such as the 365-day gym and collaboration with the Viennese high school of ball sports, which was also attended by NBA pioneer Jakob Pöltl.

More Austrians are pushing into the NFL

Raimann turned to football, but always remained realistic. “I still remember when we sat together before his year of exchange. He did not go on to become an NFL professional. It would not be him. “He said he was looking at what he could get there,” said Wurm, whose team is also at a turning point in participating in the European Football League (ELF) for the first time.

Leonel Misangumukini, who, like Platzgummer and Seikovits, is trying to make his way in the NFL through the International Road Program, says of his former teammate: “He has a work ethic, attention to detail, which was crucial after change of position. He stayed in place and has that mental strength, that’s important. “With the Vikings, expectations are high, there is a healthy pressure.”

If Misangumukin is also assigned a place on a team after the draft, four Austrians could be under contract in the 2022 season. happy Raimann. Not only does Platzgummer represent the successful track of Tyrolean football, Christoph Henle also has four years with the Baylor Bears at the highest college level behind him.

Native addition to major American leagues

At the moment, Raimann is in the spotlight, which is also enjoyed by his compatriot Pöltl. “Like me, hopefully it will cause a wave in him and probably make one or the other Austrian a football fan who may not have had much to do with the sport before.” Pöltl also hopes for growth, said Vorarlberger Luka Brajokvic. to college and was drafted into the National Basketball Association (NBA).

In ice hockey, Austria has been represented in the National Hockey League (NHL) since 2001 and should continue to be so in the future thanks to Marco Rossi. In baseball alone there is still no sign of a follower who could follow in the footsteps of Kurt Krieger (1949-1951, Note: St. Louis Cardinals) as the second legionnaire in Major League Baseball (MLB). But Raimann’s example gives hope here.

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