Thursday 30th June, 2016 marks 100 days until the start of the inaugural season of the National Gridiron League on October 9th at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

To honour the occasion, here are 100 random facts and facts about American Football, the National Gridiron League and Australian’s in the NFL. Be sure to add your own in the comments.

100 facts for 100 days

  1. American Football is called Gridiron in Australia, which unlike football being called soccer due to the clash in football codes, dates back to the early 1900’s when the game was originally played on a field marked in a checkerboard (or grid) pattern. The pattern resembled a gridiron, a metal grate with parallel bars typically used for grilling meat, fish, vegetables, hence the name. There you go, consider you educated.
  2. There are plans for four teams to come into the NGL from Victoria next season.
  3. Central Coast Cyclones lineman Louis Nzegwu has had experience on eight different teams across four leagues. Three of those were NFL teams (Falcons, Panthers, Dolphins).
  4. There are plans for the NGL to expands to Western Australia and South Australia in seasons 2018 and beyond.
  5. No team has a true “home” stadium in the 2016 season, instead all teams will be rotating through all the stadiums.
  6. Perhaps the greatest moment in the 2015 NFL season was this celebration from Antonio Brown at the Pittsburgh Steelers. I accept no other offers of anything better.

  1. At time of writing there are at least 13 NGL players with NFL program experience, and many more than that who have been invited for NFL tryouts.
  2. There is a scary amount of NGL players who have studied variations on Criminal Law or Criminal Studies in college. With any luck we can keep them here to beef (literally) up the Australian defense force after football.
  3. The most popular search term by Australians on Google in 2015? Jarryd Hayne, former Australian running back for the San Francisco 49ers. Now you know the reason for all the click bait articles in mainstream media.
  4. American Football originally came from a cross between Rugby and Soccer. The first game was played in 1869 between Rutgers and Princeton and hardly resembled the game we know now.
  5. At time of writing, there are 23 Australian’s listed on NGL squads (and two from New Zealand).
  6. Things AussieFaithful Podcast player interviewees are most looking forward to? Kangaroos, Koalas, beaches and Australian wildlife.
  7. Things AussieFaithful Podcast player interviewees are least looking forward to? Sharks in those beaches and dangerous Australian wildlife.
  8. If entire population of Australia watched a single NGL game at the same time, it would still be less than the amount of people who watch Sunday Night Football most weeks in America.
  9. Brisbane Outlaws linebacker Joseph LeBeau is training to get into the FBI. I could neither confirm nor deny if he has sites on featuring in Criminal Minds.
  10. If you are an animal lover, skip this one, but it takes about 600 cows to make one NFL season’s worth of footballs.
  11. The Lombardi Trophy (awarded to the winner of the Super Bowl in the NFL) costs $25,000 USD to make. I think it is made of a mix of gold and unicorn tears.
  12. With Lachlan Edwards and Tom Hackett at the New York Jets it is the second year in a row two Aussies are competing for a starting punters job after Brad Wing and Jordan Berry at the Giants in 2014.
  13. Of the 50 players who attended the NGL National Combine, two didn’t make it through the first skills test.
  14. Of the 50 players who attended the NGL National Combine, 20 have been announced on NGL squads.
  15. Want to know why cheerleaders want to hook up with footballers so much? NFL cheerleaders only make $50–$75 a game, they need a ride home.
  16. Cheerleader salaries are not an issues for six teams in the NFL as they don’t employ them at all (Bears, Browns, Lions, Giants, Steelers, and Packers).
  17. The North Coast Heat and the Newcastle Miners have the most NGL National Combine attendees (not necessarily local players) signed, with four each.
  18. Of the eight teams, all except the Newcastle Miners have three or more Australian players on their roster.
  19. The Brisbane Outlaws have only signed the one player from the NGL National Combine (tight end David Samson).
  20. The NGL has stated they are not dependent on traditional funding models to remain sustainable, instead funding the league from investment sources.
  21. Reportedly 78% of NFL players are bankrupt just two years after they finish their careers.
  22. With 100 days left until the NGL kickoff, there is still no Sydney stadium deal announced.
  23. There was another National Gridiron League that attempted to launch in the US called the United National Gridiron League, ultimately folding in 2010 before the season started.
  24. The only player to play in a Super Bowl and MLB World Series? Deion Sanders.
  25. There are 14 players on an NGL squad who played for a current top 25 college in America.
  26. Most rounds of the NGL will be played as a double-header on the same day at the one ground, with two of those played in Melbourne.
  27. According to the NGL, most NGL practice sessions will be open to the public should they wish to attend.
  28. The two most popular days on AussieFaithful so far? The NGL National Combine results and the NGL Schedule announcement.
  29. There were just 12:06 minutes of actual gameplay during the 2015 Super Bowl.
  30. According to SoundCloud statistics, the most loyal listener of the AussieFaithful podcast? A mother of a Sydney Express player whose name I will spare to save the player’s embarrassment (let the speculation begin). And she is winning by a long way.
  31. The AussieFaithful Podcast is listened to in 25 countries, with Australia, United States, Netherlands and Canada being the most popular.
  32. If you are aged 25-34 and male and interested in American Football, what do you know, you are in the majority of the 15,000 reader visits last month.
  33. A member of the NGL partnership group sort of, kind of, maybe light-heartedly asked Jarryd Hayne to come to the NGL after he retired from the NFL.

  1. The NGL player announcement to get the most attention so far? Utah Utes quarterback Travis Wilson.
  2. The Australian player to get the most attention so far? Australian Outback quarterback Jared Stegman, looks like the quarterback remains the glamour position.
  3. The NGL had a partnership with the Gridiron Development Football League based out of Memphis, Tennessee which fell through.
  4. The NGL salaries are reported to compare to standard salaries in the Canadian Football League.
  5. NGL salaries are higher than those offered in European leagues such as Germany and Norway, last public mention putting salaries in the range of $50,000 – $200,000 a season.
  6. The base salaries for rookies in the NFL for 2015 was $435,000 USD ($583,680 AUD).
  7. Originally the intention was to have 10 Australian player minimum on each team, this has been changed to now be at the discretion of head coaches.
  8. The NGL is essentially funded by a hedge fund the league operates itself.
  9. David Yankey from the Carolina Panthers was actually born in Sydney, Australia before moving to Roswell, Georgia (no, not THAT Roswell) when he was eight. He still retains an Australian citizenship and played the pre-season program with the Minnesota Vikings where he was originally drafted in 2014 NFL draft.
  10. The NGL expectation for crowds in season 2016/17 is between 10,000 to 25,000.
  11. The NGL will show at least one game on free-to-air in the first season, 7mate being the front runners.
  12. Online streaming of games will be available for overseas viewers such as family and friends of players.
  13. There was another league attempting to do what the NGL are currently attempting called the Downunder Football League which had nine teams listed. Last update from that league was in 2014 so it looks like it may have failed.
  14. There is an annual event called the Down Under Bowl held annually on the Gold Coast.  Held on the Gold Coast, high school American football players, coaches, cheerleaders and officials come to the event, and is touted as the largest American Football Championship Tournament held outside the United States. Australia and New Zealand also send teams to compete in the competition.
  15. The Australian national gridiron team is called the Australian Outback (no ‘s’), with the current quarterback signed to play with the Brisbane Outlaws.
  16. The San Francisco 49ers fans went crazy over the 49ers drafting a “prince” (Prince Charles Iworah). Well Sydney Express fans get excited, you have one too! Prince Gerald Gooden Jr., a defensive lineman.
  17. There is something about the Central Coast Cyclones and the University of Colorado. Coach Embree has five players out of the Colorado Buffaloes on his roster so far.
  18. The Gold Coast Kings have a linebacker out of the top ranked college in America at the moment, Quandon Christian who played with Clemson University and had NFL tryouts with the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins.
  19. There are roughly 70 amateur teams that play in state leagues in Australia, all run through Gridiron Australia, the government-approved sports association officially formed in 1996.
  20. One of the original NGL head coaches lined up was Ken Flajole, however he left to take a linebackers coaching position with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  21. One of those NGL players who were invited to an NFL training camp was Takashi Kurihara, the only Japanese player to be signed to an NGL roster with the Gold Coast Kings who had a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens.
  22. The NFL are considering bringing the Pro-Bowl to Australia. Australia are on the short list with current hosts Hawaii and Orlando.
  23. The season opener of the American College season will be played in Sydney between the University of California, Berkley and the University of Hawaii, the college of six NGL players currently signed.
  24. The Logan Wolverines are the closest team to having a complete roster, with 38 players signed already. A complete roster will comprise of 40 players, with an extra quarterback also allowed to bring the number to 41.
  25. The Wollongong Devils have the least players signed, only listing 23 of the required 40 players so far.
  26. If quick feet truly are a sign of a good player, this guy should be signed immediately.

  1. The most common fan question received so far about the launch of the NGL? “Why haven’t we heard about the NGL from the NGL?”
  2. There are currently two three Facebook Fan groups for NGL teams, The Station for Sydney Express fans,The Posse for those that follow the Brisbane Outlaws and The Pit for the Newcastle Miners. Let us know yours in the comments.
  3. The NGL are not associated with Gridiron Australia, a reason of the hesitancy for other leagues to cooperate.
  4. The NGL General Manager, Marcin Soluch was previouslly a coach of the Sunshine Coast Spartans in the Queensland Gridiron League.
  5. Three coaches are coming to the NGL off championship games in other leagues. Coach Sean Embree of the Cyclones in the Central European Football League (CEFL), Coach Richard Bonds from the Express who won the Egyptian League, and Coach Michael Torres from the Outlaws with his own team the Orlando Phantoms.
  6. According the Wikipedia, there has only been one professional American Football player who have converted successfully to pro Rugby League. Manfred Moore, who went from the NFL to the Newtown Jets in 1977.
  7. There is on NFL convert currently playing in Australian Rules Football, Brandon Kaufman, who was on the Buffalo Bills practice squad is a current member of the Gold Coast Suns.
  8. The Under-19’s world championships are currently being played in China, featuring Australia, Japan, USA, American Samoa, Canada, Austria, Panama and France. Australia won their first game 72-0 over the hosts China.
  9. According to the latest AFI rankings, Australia are ranked 11th in the world in the game of American Football. The top three are USA, Canada and Japan.
  10. Division 1 college football in the United States regularly gets crowds in excess of 60,000, more than many professional sports get for their Grand Finals in Australia.
  11. Despite Gridiron Australia being the national body, Gridiron Victoria is currently suspended as a member of Gridiron Australia despite being regarded as one of the leading gridiron leagues in the country.
  12. The last three American college punter of the year awards have all gone to Australians (Tom Hackett 2015 and 2014, Tom Hornsey in 2013).
  13. The hype around Australian punters coming from Aussie Rules backgrounds in the NFL is gaining more and more traction in the US at the moment. They might have Colin Ridgeway in part to thank, who played three games with the Dallas Cowboys as a punter all the way back in 1965.
  14. The first Australian field player to play in the NFL was Colin Scotts, who played for the Arizona Cardinals as a defensive end and made this kangaroo hop celebration famous (infamous?).

  1. NGL teams will only play seven regular season games this season, this was originally intended to be 14 games.
  2. Playing on the east coast of Australia, there is not a stadium that is not within an hour of a beach on the NGL schedule.
  3. The Australian to play the most games in the NFL? Mat McBriar with the Dallas Cowboys who played 141 games as a punter.
  4. The player you have been seeing modelling the new NGL uniforms? That is Brisbane Outlaws wide receiver Dewayne Brady.
  5. Central Coast Cyclones lineman Devin Davis is using the NGL to relaunch his professional career after tearing his ACL, MCL, PCL and Meniscus in his knee while playing for Oklahoma State. How he has a knee left at all is a miracle in itself.
  6. If he is any good, Aussies can try to claim Aleksander Milanovic who is a lineman for the Gold Coast Kings on the grounds of a typographical error. He is the only Austrian to be playing in the NGL.
  7. Mitchel Williams-Austin, who is at the Newcastle Miners as a wide receiver is also Australia’s fifth ranked sprinter in the 100m and is trying to qualify for the Olympics in Rio. He has never played a game of American Football in his life.
  8. Of the 143 voters so far, the Central Coast Cyclones and Newcastle Miners are the most supported teams. Being local rivals, this will make for an interesting game.
  1. Adam Gotsis going in the second round (pick 63) of the NFL draft this year is the highest pick for any Australian in the NFL draft beating Colin Scotts who went 70th in the 1987 draft.
  2. There are now 251 players signed to the NGL, up from 171 listed in the middle of May.
  3. Despite the San Francisco 49ers being the most popular NFL team in Australia last season, only one USA state considers the 49ers their most popular team, and it is not California. Instead it is Hawaii.
  4. The Gold Coast Kings will have one of the top European quarterback competing for their starting quarterback job. Anders Hermodsson has been the starting quarterback for the Austrian national team since 2009 and is a four-time quarterback of the year in the Swedish Superseries.
  5. There is a realistic chance of five Australians playing in the NFL this season (Edwards, Hackett, Berry, Gotsis and Wing) with another, Blake Muir a chance of a practice squad spot.
  6. There have already been three Aussies cut or retired from the NFL since the end of last season (Hayne – retired, Craddock – cut, Wilkinson – cut).
  7. Blake Muir, the Australian offensive lineman with the 49ers out of Baylor University has a younger brother Sean, also playing football at Baylor.
  8. Following the regular season there will be a two-week finals series featuring the top four teams to be played in late January.
  9. The NGL franchise Newcastle Miners is not the only gridiron team in Newcastle named the Miners. Last year another Newcastle Miners was announced as part of the Hunter Gridiron League. Let the lawyer pencil sharpening begin.
  10. The NGL National Combine was not the only Combine run by the NGL for season one. The NGL also ran an US-based Combine in Orlando last August for American based players to show their skills.
  11. The fastest 40 yard time recorded in the Orlando Combine was 4.36 seconds by Giovanni Hansborough (not signed to the NGL). The fastest 40 yard at the NGL National Combine for local players? Funnily enough also 4.36 by sprinter Mitchell Williams-Swain, now at the Newcastle Miners.
  12. Remember this name. Williams. If you do, you now know the last name of seven NGL players across three teams.
  13. This list took so long to get together, it is now 99 days till kickoff, so consider this a bonus point. The most popular search term used on the AussieFaithful website? “aussie faithful”. I think someone is not quite sure where they are.

So there you go, 100 random NGL, NFL and Gridiron facts. Remind me next time to do this list when there are 10 days to go. I need a lie down.

Let the countdown begin.

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