2007 Departures: The clock runs out on NFL Europa

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Like any business with a huge following, great television ratings and a virtual monopoly, the National Football League is hot to grow. The problem it faces, though, is that for virtually the entire world outside the U.S., football is the game played with one's feet, and the bludgeoning, hand-intensive American version seems as strange as kimchee at Denny's.

The league took a stab at establishing a beachhead in Europe by joining in the new World League of American Football back in 1991. At that time, the league consisted of six U.S. teams, one from Canada, and three in Europe. As you might expect, this flopped (those trans-Atlantic flights must have been killers), but the NFL liked the idea enough to bankroll an all-European version in 1995.

Over the next 12 years, the league was in constant flux, searching for markets and owners that could sustain the costs. By 2007, the now titled NFL Europa was down to six teams, five in Germany and one in the Netherlands. At the end of the season, the NFL finally pulled the plug.

This makes great trivia, though. For fifty points and what is behind curtain three, what team won the final NFL Europa "World Bowl Championship"? The Hamburg Sea Devils beat the Frankfurt Galaxy 37-28. Hail and farewell, Sea Devils-- we barely knew thee.

This post was written as part of a series on on 2007 departures. Read about more products, companies and people you won't see in 2007.

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