The official BAFA Hall of Fame was announced last year and about a month ago the first batch of inductees were made public. The Hall of Fame is something that had long been discussed within the Britball community with various unofficial efforts to recognise outstanding contributions to our sport being made. It’s great to finally have a Hall of Fame that is owned and run by the national governing body.
The announcement of the inductees felt very underwhelming, in a bid likely to drive more website clicks, BAFA chose to post 5 separate blog posts over 5 days with pictures and write-ups of each inductee. To date, that’s all there is on the Hall of Fame – 5 blog posts. It was just like ‘here’s who is in the HoF’ and that’s it, there were no interviews or quotes from those inducted, it may even be the case that they weren’t all informed.
I’d like to see BAFA do more with this by at least having a dedicated section of their website for the Hall of Fame and some form of ring, trophy, plaque, or certificate for each inductee for them to commemorate their achievement, maybe even a golden jacket!
I think the prestige and honour of a Hall of Fame deserves and demands a bit more effort and attention. In an ideal world there would be a formal dinner and a Hall Of Fame All-Star game, but let’s walk before we can run.
As far as the crop of talent in this inaugural induction goes, I can’t see anyone complaining. It is stacked with absolute legends of Britball who all have earned their place. The 30 inductees includes 11 defensive players, 13 offensive players, 3 coaches, 2 administrators and 1 official. Interestingly there are no Quarterbacks included in the 13 offensive players, maybe we will see one of two in the 2022 class.
Take a look below for the only place (for now, hopefully) on the entire internet where you can see all 30 inductees on a single webpage:
British American Football Hall Of Fame – Class of 2021
Inductee write-ups by BAFA.
An elite-level athlete he had trials with the San Francisco 49ers before coming to Europe, where he played extensively in the French and Dutch leagues before moving to Britain in 1998. When he pulled on the Sussex Thunder jersey he had an immediate impact, running for 1,687 yards and 22 touchdowns. For the 2001 season, he moved to the Southern Sundevils where he propelled the team to the upper echelons of the Britball pyramid. He then joined the Farnham/PA Knights, where he spearheaded their offence to further success. He continued to play into his late thirties before switching to full time coaching further adding to his Britball legacy.
Universally acknowledged as the premier British player ever to be active in the game. He started his career with the multi championship-winning London Ravens in the eighties as a running back, where he spearheaded a fearsome offensive unit. His combination of speed, size and athletic ability led to him being invited to take part in the NFL’s New York Jets training camp where he narrowly missed out on a roster spot. He was chosen to play for the London Monarchs in the NFL World League and was part of the World Bowl-winning team of 1991. A stalwart of the GB National side, he scored the first-ever touchdown for the GB Lions and played a key role in European Championship winning teams. He has worked as a coach for the London Warriors, passing on his wealth of technical knowledge.
An every-down running back for the London Olympians and Great Britain Lions, where he was a key player for six seasons. He helped the Olympians win two European club championships. He ran for 2021 yards in the 1988 season. Richard is one of only four players to accomplish this feat in the British Leagues. To top it all off, he also scored thirty touchdowns that same year. He finished his career with over 9,000 rushing yards in the record books.
A fierce runner, he started his career with the London Gators but came to prominence with the London Olympians. He played for both the London Monarchs and Scottish Claymores in the World League in the late 1990s. His career continued in the German league with the Hamburg Blue Devils in 2000, before he returned to play in the then NFL Europe League, eventually retiring in 2004. He subsequently became a coach with the London Blitz, helping them win a Brit Bowl championship.
Mark was a fearsome blocker who could also find the endzone with his punishing running style. He was a captain for the all-conquering London Ravens side of the eighties leading them to numerous National Championships. He was also an integral member of the early GB Lions team. A natural leader, he retired from playing in 1988 when he was acknowledged as the game’s top Full Back.
Running Back & Defensive Back
He began his career with the Walsall Titans as a running back, where his elite athleticism and speed got him noticed by local big city rivals the Birmingham Bulls, who he transferred to in 1986. He represented the GB Lions as part of a dynamic stable of running backs, helping them secure two European Championships. He was selected to play for the London Monarchs in the NFL World League. He Switched to playing defensive back for the Bulls where he was part of their British Championship winning sides.
His long and successful playing career saw him feature for a number of championship-winning teams and secure numerous caps for the GB Lions. He was named game MVP in 2002 as the London O’s beat the PA Knights in the British Senior League Division One Bowl. He was always likely to break the big play and was named BSL season MVP in 2004. His high level of play continued when he joined the Kent Exiles before moving to the London Blitz, where he was an integral part of their championship-winning teams in Britbowls XXV and XXVI. He also became the receivers coach for the GB Lions junior’s programme. He continued his association with Britball when he founded a company that provides medical cover predominantly for American Football games.
He started his career with the Glasgow Lions in the mid-eighties as a slightly built but very talented receiver. He was their go-to guy for a number of years before being selected for the Scottish Claymores of the World League in 1995, where he went on to have a successful nine-year career during which he caught ten touchdown passes. He helped them win the World Bowl in 1996. He also played in one game for the Chicago Bears against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL exhibition match in Ireland in 1997.
A mainstay of the London Olympians’ championship-winning teams. He had the ability to always create space for himself to make the catch, often in game-winning situations. His bubbly personality made him a popular teammate and opponent. Another key player for the successful GB Lions teams, he wasn’t the biggest player physically but had tremendous heart and determination.
An elite-level athlete who excelled at a number of sports. His combination of speed and leaping ability allowed him to make the difficult catches look easy. He started his playing career with the Milton Keynes Bucks before playing for the Nottingham Hoods and Manchester Spartans, where he won a British Championship. An ever-present in the GB Lions squads, he helped them to win two European Championships.
With his imposing stature and technical ability, he was one of the best Tight Ends to ever play in the British leagues. Equally adept at catching passes and blocking downfield, he was a key weapon for the London Olympians as they rose to prominence in the British game. Over his career with the Olympians, he won seven championships playing both tight and defensive end. He also won a spot on the London Monarchs roster in the World League.
An imposing figure at 6’ 6” and over 350lbs. He started in Junior Football with the Bournemouth Renegades and played for the GB Youth team on the offensive line. He had four years at Hastings College in Nebraska honing his skills and returned as a powerful two-way lineman. He won a British division three national title with the Winchester Rifles before joining the London Monarchs of the World League in 1996. He played for the GB Lions senior team in 1997 and then played two more seasons for the Monarchs before returning to the British league with the Southern Sundevils. In 2004 he was part of the PA (Farnham) Knights National Championship winning side, who also reached the European Club Championship final. His Football journey then took him to the Coventry Jets in 2007 where he won another British Championship, before returning to the Knights in 2008.
A big physical blocker whose aggressive playing style earned him the respect of all he played with and against, along with the nickname “Tango”. You certainly knew when you had been hit! A member of the successful Farnham Knights team that had both British and European success. His playing career spanned over twenty years. A proud captain for the Great Britain Lions, he moved into a successful coaching career once he hung up the pads.
Another stand-out player from the London Olympians championship-winning sides, he played for the Scottish Claymores in 2003 and 2004 before joining the Carolina Panthers of the NFL. Between 2005 and 2007 he was back in Europe playing for the Hamburg Sea Devils in the NFL Europa League. After he finished playing, he worked as the Head of Football Development for the NFLUK where he was integral to the development of the International Player Pathway programme. A true student of the game, he was the defensive coordinator for the London Warriors for six seasons. In 2018 he moved back to the NFL joining the Atlanta Falcons as a quality control coach and is currently the defensive line coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
A dominating defensive force and fearsome hitter for the British Championship winning Streatham/London Olympians. He combined strength, size and aggression to great effect. Bob came from a Rugby background and played both sports for several years. A stalwart of the GB Lions squad who won the European Championships. As part of the Olympians’ great defence, his battles with the London Ravens offence always produced fireworks!
The leader of the all-conquering London Ravens defensive unit of the eighties. He had the ability to dominate the game from his middle linebacker position. He may have not been the biggest or fastest player on the field, but he was certainly the smartest! A bone-jarring tackler, he was an obvious choice for the GB Lions for whom he excelled. A multi championship winner, he had a lengthy career playing at the highest level, he moved to the Farnham Knights after his time with the Ravens.
A founding member of the Birmingham Bulls defence, he had a reputation for being the hardest hitter in the league and he lived up to it! His pursuit skills and closing speed meant he would often make tackles for a loss. Offensive coordinators had to game-plan around him. A captain for the GB Lions who he played for between 1985 and 1989. In 1990 he moved to the Walsall Titans where he played running back and helped the team win a northern conference title. From there he went to play for the Coventry Jaguars before returning to the Bulls in 1994. He was a multi championship winner as a player who also spent time coaching once he had hung up his pads.
A stand-out for the London Blitz and the Great Britain Lions at youth and senior levels, his aggressive playing style got him noticed. He was league MVP in 2004. In 2008 he moved to the states and was signed to the San Diego Chargers practice squad. Back in Europe for the 2009 season, he played for the Seinjoki Crocodiles in Finland, before moving to Spain to play for the Valencia Firebats. In 2011, he became the defensive coordinator for the Leicester Falcons and from there he moved to Switzerland to play for the Calanda Broncos, helping them to win the Swiss national title. For the 2012 season, he was back with the London Blitz and played a key part in their Britbowl win over rivals the London Warriors.
Neil ‘Neo’ Edwards
Linebacker & Defensive Back
Neil came to the game as a sixteen-year-old, playing for the Finsbury Park Stallions junior side. His natural enthusiasm and energy soon saw him develop into a tough-tackling linebacker and team leader. He was a key player for the London Olympians where he won six national championships and was a stand-out for the GB Lions between 1997 and 2006. In 2000, he was selected for the NFL Europe player pathway programme and transitioned to play safety where he commanded the defensive backfield. He played in the semi-pro German Football League for the Stuttgart Scorpions and then spent time in the Italian League with the Ancona Dolphins. Returning to the British league, he was the inspirational catalyst for two championship-winning teams, the PA Knights in 2004 and then the Coventry Jets in 2007. With his natural leadership skills, it was no surprise when he moved into coaching. He has been the defensive backs coach for the GB Lions, as well as the head coach for the Olympians, before taking up his current role as defensive coordinator with the Kent Exiles.
Nigel commanded the defensive backfield for the Manchester Spartans, from where he led them to two British Championship titles in 1989 and 1990. His ability to read opposing offences set him apart and allowed him to utilise his athletic ability to great effect and lead by example. He led the national league in tackles in 1992 with a total of seventy-nine solo takedowns. With his detailed understanding of the strategic side of the game, moving into coaching was a natural progression and he became the head coach for Manchester in 1991. He was a pivotal member of the great GB Lions European Championship winning sides in 1989 and 1991. He spent the 1994 season in Germany playing for the Munich Cowboys, before returning to the British league in 1995, where he helped the Birmingham Bulls win their last British title. He continued to play until 2006.
A stand-out youth player with the Kent Rams before joining the London Olympians and earning a starting spot in his first senior season. He attended Nicholls State University in Louisiana before returning to the Olympians where he was a mainstay of their British and European multi championship-winning sides. Scott was a starter for the GB Lions between 1995 and 2001. He was with the London Monarchs between 1995 and 1999 before playing professionally in the European Leagues for the Madrid Panteras, Hanau Hawks and Stuttgart Scorpions. When he retired from playing after the 2005 season, he made the move into coaching, initially with the Olympians and then the Exiles.
Known predominantly for his play at defensive back. His elite athletic ability also made him an excellent running back and receiver. A stand-out safety for the London Olympians in the early nineties winning four British and two Eurobowl club championships. He was a GB Lion who spent some time at Harper College in Chicago, he also played for the London Monarchs between 1995 and 1998, and ultimately for the Scottish Claymores from 1999 until 2003 winning the World Bowl. Overall, he spent nine seasons in the NFL Europe where he became well known for his play on special teams.
A freakish athlete who at 6’4” and 290 lbs had 4.6 speed over forty yards. He played for a number of British teams on the south coast including the championship-winning Winchester Rifles. His athleticism allowed him to play defensive line, tight end and full back. In 1997 he was in training camp with the London Monarchs as a defensive lineman. During his first Monarchs season, he made numerous tackles, batted down a pass and even returned a kick-off. After returning for the Monarchs in 1998, he went on to play for the Scottish Claymores in 1999. When the Claymores folded, he returned to the British league and played for the Southern Sundevils.
At 6’3” and 270 lbs, he was a dominant presence on the London Ravens championship-winning defence. He was one of the British players selected for the London Monarchs of the NFL backed World League via the operation discovery programme, who also spent time playing for the University of Akron in the USA. After he finished playing, he started coaching and spent a number of years with the Cornish Sharks helping develop their linemen.
Gerry started his football journey as a player with the Warwickshire Bears in the eighties, where he was a hard-hitting linebacker, before going on to become a leading coach. He led the Coventry Jets to prominence between 2005 and 2011 moving up through the divisions and eventually winning the national championship in 2008. His Jets team made it to the quarter-finals of the European club championships in the same year, losing to the eventual winners the Tirol Raiders. He led Coventry to four consecutive Britbowl appearances between 2007 and 2010.
Coach / Administrator
In the late eighties, he was the senior writer and director of research for NFL Properties, in the early nineties, he arrived at the University of Cambridge. Widely credited as the driving force behind the establishment of the British Universities League, he laid the foundations for the national competition that now has over eighty teams. Whilst at the University of Cambridge, he became the Head Coach of their fledgling Football team taking them to two national championships between 1991 and 1996. After Cambridge closed the programme, he became the head coach of the University of Hertfordshire, which led them through an undefeated season to another national championship in 1997. He was named national coach of the year three times. He was also the first Head Coach of the Great Britain Bulldogs (the students’ national team) leading them to victory at the European Championships in 1994 and 1996.
Coach / Administrator
Working in real estate in London in the eighties, he came to prominence as the first Head Coach of the London Ravens, leading them to multiple championships as they stayed undefeated during his tenure. He also had a spell as the GB Lions Head Coach before becoming the President of BAFA. Universally respected by all in Britball, he was instrumental in bringing together the disparate factions of the British game into one league and was tireless in his work to move the game forward.
Official & Coach
Alan started his football journey as a player with the Strathclyde Sheriffs where he played running back. His diminutive stature belied a steely determination that earned him the respect of his peers. When he finished playing, his natural leadership skills saw him develop as a popular coach in the Glasgow area, where he was responsible for the development of numerous players from the youth and junior ranks through to the adult teams. Always looking to “give back” to the game he then became a respected and beloved BAFRA official and was affectionately known as “Papa Smurf”. Such is the esteem that he is held in, that BAFRA made an annual award in his name. Overall, he made a major contribution to the development of the British game.
A giant of a man in more ways than one, at 6’8” he stood out in a crowd. With a background in the military and police force, he came to American Football in the 1980s as a player with the Oxford Bulldogs. Over time he became the General Manager and ultimately the club owner. Overseeing a name change to the Oxford Saints, he continued to dedicate himself to driving the game forward at both a club and national level, he was respected and admired by all who met and worked with him over his many years involved with British American Football.
Gary ‘Chopper’ Lee
A veteran of the British scene, he started his playing career with the Wirral Wolves in 1986 and when they disbanded, he was one of the founding members of the Birkenhead Nighthawks. They would subsequently switch to using the Merseyside name. When he finished playing, he gravitated to administrative roles at both club and league levels, going on to hold key positions for the National Governing Body. An ever-present at the high-profile British games he can be counted on to ensure everything runs smoothly with his pragmatic style. A stalwart of the Liverpool area teams, he is still president of the Merseyside Nighthawks.