Rhine Fire

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Rhine Fire
Rhein Fire Helm.gif
Rhine Fire.png
helmet logo
Founded 1994
Dissolved 2007
city Dusseldorf , Germany
Team colors Burgundy, white, black
Head coach
Surname LTU arena
address LTU-Arena
LTU-arena-Str. 1
40474 Düsseldorf
capacity 52,769
Spectator (2007) 122,385 (Ø 24,477)
World Bowls (2)
World Bowl VI (1998)
World Bowl VIII (2000)

Rhein Fire was a professional American football team based in Düsseldorf . The official name was Rhein-Fire Footballteam Betriebs-GmbH.

The team was inducted into the then World League of American Football (WLAF) on July 27, 1994 by the 32 owners of the National Football League (NFL) . In the spring of 1995, the first games of this re-established franchise league, which had played the World Bowl winners in 1991 and 1992 with ten teams at the time, took place. The league was initially renamed NFL Europe , later NFL Europe.

The name Rhein Fire refers on the one hand to the Rhine as a landscape-forming river, but also to the entire North Rhine-Westphalian region. The name Fire was taken from the former US team Birmingham Fire .

In addition to the football team, Rhein Fire also had its own cheerleading team, the Pyromaniacs .

Rhein Fire was, along with the more traditional ore rival Frankfurt Galaxy , the team with the largest fan base. In the 2006 and 2007 seasons, just over 22,000 fans came to each home game in the LTU arena in Düsseldorf, where Rhein Fire played the home games from 2005 to 2007.

General manager of the team was Alexander Leibkind for many years before he was replaced by Sammy Schmale in September 2004.

After the 2007 season, the NFL club owners decided to discontinue NFL Europe game operations due to a marketing change. The teams of NFL Europe, including Rhein Fire, were thus dissolved. The background is that the NFL has decided to play regular NFL games abroad in the future, including in locations in Europe. This is intended to achieve greater audience loyalty.


  • World Bowl Champion: 1998, 2000
  • World Bowl finalist: 1997, 2002, 2003

Head coaches

  • Galen Hall (1995-2000)
    Galen Hall took over the team as the first coach and, after the unsuccessful first season, was able to improve the team over three seasons so that the first of five finals could be reached in the fourth season. Although they lost the final against the strong Barcelona Dragons in 1997 , they achieved the first World Bowl victory in the club's history a year later. After the defending champion in the 1999 season failed to qualify for the final, Hall succeeded again in the 2000 season in putting together a strong team and bringing the World Bowl back to Düsseldorf. These two titles should remain the only titles that Rhein Fire could achieve. So Galen Hall is the team's only master coach.
  • Pete Kuharchek (2001-2005)
    Pete Kuharchek was introduced as the team's new head coach in the 2001 season. He was previously defensive coordinator under head coach Galen Hall. In his second season as head coach, he was able to lead Rhein Fire to the Wold Bowl final, which was lost to Berlin Thunder . In the next season (2003) he and the team made it into the final, but they had to admit defeat again, this time against arch rivals Frankfurt Galaxy , which they could still defeat in the 1998 final. This would be the last finals in the team's history until its dissolution in 2007.
    Pete Kuharchek came under fire in the 2005 season because his game tactics were very defensive and poorly aligned and, in addition to the lack of success of the team, also flattened the attractiveness of the game compared to previous years. This ended in a season record of only 3 wins out of 7 losses. In October 2005, Rhein Fire and Pete Kuharchek separated by mutual agreement.
  • Jim Tomsula (2006)
    As the successor to Pete Kuharchek, Jim Tomsula was introduced, who was previously a successful defensive coordinator at Berlin Thunder and the Scottish Claymores . Under Tomsula the team started very successfully with four wins in a row and was well on the way to reaching the final of the World Bowl again after three years. However, it was not possible to build on the performance of the first few weeks and so they just missed the final on the last game day. Nevertheless, a positive balance could be drawn at the end of the season with 6 wins and 4 defeats.
    Jim Tomsula decided in January '07 against a second season as head coach at Rhein Fire and for an offer from the NFL after he had turned down one a year earlier. Tomsula became defensive line coach at the traditional club of the San Francisco 49ers .
  • Rick Lantz (2007)
    Rick Lantz switched from Berlin Thunder to Rhein Fire as head coach. He brought over 40 years of coaching experience to Düsseldorf. In 2004 he won the World Bowl with Berlin Thunder and was voted “NFLE Coach of the Year”. In 2005 he moved into the final again with Thunder. In the last season of the team and the league they played no role in making it into the final. After a false start to the season after some very poor performances, the team was able to stabilize a bit in the middle of the season, but in the end the season ended with a tendency of 4 wins and 6 defeats in fourth place in the final table.


Results against NFLE teams (wins: losses)

opponent total
London / England monarchs 4: 4
Scottish Claymores 12: 8
Barcelona Dragons 9: 9
Berlin Thunder 11: 7
Hamburg Sea Devils 2: 4
Frankfurt Galaxy 15: 11
Cologne Centurions 4: 4
Amsterdam admirals 11:15

World Bowl

  • World Bowl Results: 2 wins: 3 losses

All in all

In 130 regular league games, Rhein Fire left the field as the winner 68 times and had to admit defeat 62 times. If you add in the World Bowl participation, the team has achieved a record of 70:65 wins. The strongest phase of the team was in the period from 1997 to 2003, when they reached the final of the World Bowl five times in seven years . Only in 1999 and 2001 did you just miss the final as third-placed in the respective regular season.

Average viewership

  • 1995: 12,468
  • 1996: 18,573
  • 1997: 21,665
  • 1998: 25,466
  • 1999: 28,566
  • 2000: 34,628
  • 2001: 35.010
  • 2002: 32,742
  • 2003: 34,218
  • 2004: 21,072
  • 2005: 22,532
  • 2006: 22.020
  • 2007: 24,477


Due to the demolition of the old Rheinstadion and the new construction of a modern multifunctional arena, the team had to move to the Arena AufSchalke in the 2003 and 2004 seasons.

  • 2003–2004: Arena AufSchalke (now Veltins-Arena) Gelsenkirchen
  • 2005–2007: LTU arena (now Merkur Spiel-Arena) Düsseldorf