Did you know there was pro football in Budapest?
No I don't mean that ersatz brand of football with the black and white ball that guys in oversize nylon t-shirts play here. I mean REAL football - NFL-style!
I think of this because one night not long ago at Nyugati Pályaudvar station, I saw two Wolves players get off the tram in full game gear - jerseys, pads, cleats, the whole bit. This is strange to see in America, let alone Budapest.
So I did research and found that there is a football league here called the CEFL (Central European Football League). It consists of eight teams from Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and Serbia.
I'm still not clear on how the leagues are structured. Formerly Budapest had FOUR pro teams to boast of - The Wolves, Titans, Cowboys and Vipers. Not even New York, with three major league baseball teams in the 1950s, matches this embarassment of sports riches. (Actually the Vipers are/were from "North Pest" - so I guess that's really like having a team in New Jersey).
In 2006 the Budapest Wolves made it to a Bowl-level game against Vukovi Beograd, losing 27-26 to their Serbian rivals.
But then the leagues were contracted, signaling the end for a couple of Budapest's teams. And in the post-realignment world of 2008 the Wolves sank into mediocrity with a 5-5 record, while the CNC Gladiators from Vienna took the CEFL Bowl III title from the Vukovi Beograd by a score of 14-8.
Scoring 8 points in a bowl game... not sure what was going on there. That's hard to do, unless the CEFL has amended the standard NFL rules to include a penalty kick.
I would like to see one of these games, but cannot. Why? Because I don't know where the stadium is. Really, the first thing these teams need to do in training camp before filling the Gatorade buckets and handing out the shoulder pads is upgrade their website so the fans can find out the 2009 schedules and where the HELL these teams play their games.
But it's real football. Somewhere. With real cheerleaders too.