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Admirals Host Dragons in Home Opener

April 9, 2003 - National Football League Europa (NFLE) - Amsterdam Admirals News Release

After winning their first ever season opener on the road, the Amsterdam Admirals return home to the ArenA this week to host the F.C. Barcelona Dragons at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. The Admirals are looking to make the most of their home field advantage while starting back-to-back games against the Dragons.

The Admirals will try to extend their winning streak this week while the Dragons will be searching for their first win of the season. Playing in the ArenA has historically been beneficial for the Amsterdam. Their overall record at home is 19-11. The advantage at the ArenA can most likely be accredited to the high noise level that the Amsterdam fans create.

“We have always enjoyed tremendous support from our fans in the Amsterdam ArenA,” said head coach Bart Andrus. “And I expect that to continue this weekend against the Dragons.” Andrus is 2-0 at home against Barcelona.

The ArenA boosts high-tech amenities such as a retractable roof and a world-class field. The Admirals have enjoyed much success in the ArenA since they moved there in 1997. In addition to being a beautiful place to play, opponents are often intimidated by the ArenA.

“It is always difficult to play in the Amsterdam ArenA,” said Dragons head coach Jack Bicknell. “As a coach, you have to make sure you and the quarterback are on the same page when calling plays so you can both handle the crowd noise.”

This game is even more important for both teams since this is the start of a two-game stretch against each other. Next week, the Admirals travel to Barcelona to face Barcelona in a rematch of this Saturday’s game.

LAST WEEK: MAKING TEAM HISTORY Before last week, the Admirals were 0-5 on opening days on the road. Last week’s win marks their first victory on the road to open a season, and improves their overall opening record to 3-6. In another first for Amsterdam, kicker Joe O’Donnell, allocated by the AFC Champion Oakland Raiders, put one in the record books by booting a 50-yard field goal in the second quarter against Rhein. Not only was this the longest field goal in the history of the Admirals, it was the first ever 4-point field goal for the team.

The defense held strong in the first half, keeping Rhein out of the end zone and only allowing a field goal in the final seconds of the half. Free agent linebacker Mawuko Tugbenyoh came up with a huge play stopping Rhein’s first drive of the game. Linebacker Tony Ortiz caused a fumble by Fire quarterback Nick Rolovich, which Tugbenyoh picked up on the Amsterdam 30-yard line.

The offense followed the defense’s lead in the first half by taking control of the game. In the second quarter, Atlanta Falcons-allocated quarterback David Rivers completed with wide receiver Matthew Hatchette in the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. The 27-yard pass was the longest play of the day for Amsterdam and kept the momentum rolling in their direction.

The Admirals dramatic victory against Rhein came down to the final seconds of the game. With 3:01 on the clock, quarterback Shaun Hill of the Minnesota Vikings, orchestrated a 65-yard drive to put the Admirals on the 5-yard line. With four seconds on the clock, National kicker Silvio Diliberto lined up and drilled a 23-yard field goal to bring the Admirals to victory. Earlier in the game, Diliberto had made a 33-yard field goal and one PAT. These accomplishments earned him the National Player of the Week award for the league.


· In the continuing roller coaster of roster moves, defensive tackle Darian Tate was moved from Barcelona to the Admirals practice squad.

· Tight end Taman Bryant was placed on injured reserve after leaving Saturday’s game in the first quarter. Wide receiver Kerry Hood was promoted from the practice squad to fill the vacancy on the active roster, tight end Ryan Collins came back from the Birmingham, Alabama, being cleared from an ankle-injury;

· National Wide Receiver from Mexico, Carlos Rosado, is going up against his former team for the first time. Rosado is Amsterdam’s National offensive starter who spent the last five seasons with the Dragons.

· League Active Cornerback Jason Waters, will also be facing his former team, as he was moved from the Admirals roster to Barcelona this week.

HISTORY vs Barcelona Dragons W L PF PA at home 6 2 226 164 away 2 6 219 218 WB 0 0 0 0 Totals 8 8 445 382 1995 at AA W 17 13
1995 at BD W 40 34 OT
1996 at BD L 27 34 OT
1996 at AA W 48 14
1997 at BD L 21 28
1997 at AA W 26 21
1998 at BD W 41 28
1998 at AA W 20 17
1999 at BD L 16 28
1999 at AA L 17 28
2000 at AA L 20 27
2000 at BD L 16 22
2001 at BD L 31 14
2001 at AA W 33 13
2002 at BD L 27 30
2002 at AA W 45 31



Many professional athletes feel a bit different when they are about to compete. Admirals defensive lineman Jonathan Brown is no different. On any given day Jonathan is just an easygoing guy. His friends call him J.B. He likes to laugh and listen to music and hang out with his friends. He enjoys traveling and getting to know new people and new surroundings. But on gameday, Jonathan Brown turns into a whole new personality.

“On gameday I’m a different person,” said Brown. “On gameday, I’m ready to tear somebody’s skull out. That’s just how the game is.” In order to get himself pumped up for a game, Brown listens to rap music or a very specific Phil Collins song. “I used to listen to ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins”, Brown revealed. “But now I only listen to rap before games.”

Brown has experience in both the NFL, with the St. Louis Rams, and with NFL Europe, being named co-Defensive player of the year during his stint with the Berlin Thunder in 2000. His experience allows him to be a leader on the defense and he is excited about what his team could do this year.

“In the game of football, there are individual battles,” he explained. “If each person wins his individual battle, that helps the team defense because that means you’re around the ball more and you’re making more plays. We’re doing a good job in that area.”

In addition to improving as a defense, Brown is looking forward to getting a chance to spend his free time exploring a new environment.

“I love getting to visit places. I had a great time in Dusselldorf,” Brown said, referring to the recent road trip to play the Rhein Fire. “I’m finding out that Amsterdam has a lot of good things about it. When you first get here, it’s kind of hard because you’ve got to settle in and then you have to get ready to play. But as the weeks start getting normal, and the days start getting better, it’s easier for you to go out and see different parts of the city.”

Brown seems to be balancing the two sides of his personality very well and has a positive outlook on his experience in Europe.

“It’s a win-win situation for me,” Brown said. “I get to see a part of the world I’ve never seen before and I’m getting a chance to become better as an athlete.”

And it’s a win-win situation for the fans of the Admirals as well. They get a fierce competitor and a cool character all in one.


OUT: TE Taman Bryant (knee) (IR), OG Mike Collins (knee) (IR)





Saturday’s contest will be broadcast in the United States on Fox Sports Net at 1pm EST. In the broadcast booth with SPERO DEDES as game analyst is former linebacker BRIAN JONES, who spent four of his last eight NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints and posted 42 tackles for the Scottish Claymores in 1995.

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