Football isn’t their day job, but it is their lives. There is a small but growing and wildly energetic American football movement in Russia.
There was an attempt to start an American football league in the early 90’s, but it fizzled out and the American Football league in Russia was reborn in 2002 and now boasts 11 teams from 6 regions.
According to the American Football International web-site, the Russians were coming, hoping for an upset.
But if you thought the Russians were coming “just for fun”, allow me to show you their rousing rendition of “Katyusha” as they exit the tunnel before the game. And I must admit, this video, which I originally saw on the social media page of the Vologda Vikings is the real inspiration behind this post. The Russian teams is amped for some American football, and proud to represent their homeland.
The first half was slow, with the Swiss holding the lead at the two-minute warning 3-0. The Russians took the lead with a Russian (sorry, I mean “rushing” touchdown) with 1:48 left in the first half. The score at the end of the 3rd quarter was Russia 16, Switzerland 9, the Swiss lurking just a touchdown away from Russia.
But with under 8 minutes left in the 4th Quarter, Team Russia decided to go into superpower mode, adding another Russian/rushing touchdown to extend the lead. The announcer stated, “As I said just a few minutes ago, I don’t think Team Russia can run the ball down Team Switzerland’s throat, but that’s exactly what they just did.” The score was 22-9 on a botched extra point.
The power of the energetic off-tune Katyushka singing in the tunnel was felt again with a short passing touchdown with 2:35 left in the game. And the final nail in the coffin was administered with yet another TD with 0:42 left on the clock. What Team Russia lacks in understanding about running down the game clock when you have a commanding lead left with only seconds left was compensated by Team Switzerland taking a short run in the resulting series to end the game. Final Score Russia 36, Switzerland 9.
You can watch the full game here, with most of the action taking place in the 4th Quarter. Enjoy!
And to all the Russians who not only are on Team Russia but give so much of their energy to their local teams around Russia, please accept my congratulations. Your energy inspires me, this is a big win for all of us in Russia!