A season that began with a new head coach while snow still covered the ground has come to an end for the Copenhagen Towers. Countless hours of practice, workouts and film study earnt the Gentofte squad a 7-3 record and a ticket to the play-offs, but once again they failed to make it to the final.
Any time a new head coach takes over a team there are bound to be changes. The 2011 Towers were no exception. Long-time Towers player and coach Peter Herbild took over the reins during the off-season and he very quickly made it clear that nothing would be taken lightly during his tenure. Herbild brought a whole new level of structure and planning to the Towers. He is also very motivational, so the young team very quickly bought into his style of playing.
The talent on the team is beyond anything the club has ever seen before, but for a coach it is always a challenge – albeit a pleasant one – to mould a group of raw talent into a team. However, the core of the team remained from 2010, and the family feel of the 2011 Towers was evident from the first game.
“2011 was about a young team trying to gel into a new system and prove to themselves that they could play with the best,” explained Herbild. “Unfortunately we lost a bit of energy as the season went on, and in the play-offs we lacked the spark that we’d had in the spring.”
After having lost two close games to the Triangle Razorbacks and Søllerød Gold Diggers – the finalists of the previous two seasons – coach Herbild noted in June: “We have shown that we are good enough to play the top teams. But also that we’re not good enough to beat them.”
Those words would prove almost prophetic as the Towers would proceed to lose games to both teams later on in the season. And in each case by a larger margin than the first games.
And it had all started so well. Winning the first three games of the season by a combined score of 136-28 provided proof that the Towers would be a legitimate contender in 2011. A solid and at times brilliant defence has been a Towers staple for years, but an offence that can put points on the board at will is not something Towers fans are normally used to.
Inevitably, the pace slowed as the Towers lost three out of four games over the summer, before closing out the regular season with a three-game winning streak. In the three losses the Towers kept things close, scoring 86 points while conceding 119 points, while the final run-in saw a combined score of 128-7.
But anyone who has ever been involved in competitive sports knows that getting to the play-offs is always a goal, but never the ultimate goal: having qualified for the play-offs with a 7-3 regular season record, they now needed to go 3-0 in the play-offs.
Initially it went to plan with a convincing 31-0 win over the Århus Tigers in the wildcard round, taking their four game score to 159-7. But it all came undone in a 13-23 loss to the Triangle Razorbacks, who would go on to take a thrilling victory in Mermaid Bowl XXIII.
For the Towers coaching staff it is imperative to identify the challenges that were not overcome in 2011. This task is at the top of the agenda during the off-season, and the process was initiated by conducting individual exit interviews with all of the players. This gave the players an opportunity to give their take on the hurdles they had experienced.
The knowledge gained will help the entire organisation handle unexpected problems more efficiently in 2012. This will enable everyone involved to focus on playing football games. And winning them.
Factfile | Player profiles
#12 Quarterback JR Artozqui American QB JR Artozqui has not only elevated the offensive output of the Towers in his two seasons with the club, but also set new standards for QB play in Denmark. The 24-year-old California native signed a contract to return to the Towers just days after the 2011 season ended. His positive spirit and leadership has endeared him to his teammates and fans, while his play has spoken for itself.
#24 Cornerback Christian Dinesen At 26, Dinesen is a fixture at cornerback for the Towers’ as well as the Danish national team, since his first game against Germany in 2006. In his eight seasons, Dinesen has won numerous accolades at club and national level. He is among the very best coverage players in the country, yet still packs a powerful punch when tackling. A very modest person, Dinesen provides veteran leadership in the Towers’ defensive secondary.
#88 Defensive lineman Ole Toft A true Towers veteran, the 40-year-old Ole Toft has been a Tower for more than two decades, except for one season playing semi-professionally in Sweden. Toft made a name for himself playing TE, but has since moved to the other side of the ball to play on the defensive line. Over the years Toft has been a regular for the Danish national team. A very vocal player, Toft is passionate about the Towers to a degree only few can match.
Factfile | 2011 results
|April 17||Herlev Rebels||26-0|
|April 24||@ Kronborg Knights||48-10|
|May 14||Slagelse Wolfpack||62-18|
|May 21||@ Triangle Razorbacks||26-31|
|June 12||@ Amager Demons||62-14|
|June 26||Søllerød Gold Diggers||40-41|
|Aug 6||@ Søllerød Gold Diggers||20-47|
|Aug 21||Amager Demons||48-0|
|Aug 26||Kronborg Knights||34-0|
|Sept 10||@ Herlev Rebels||46-7|
|Sept 18||Aarhus Tigers||31-0|
|Sept 25||@ Triangle Razorbacks||13-23|
Factfile | Copenhagen Towers youth squads
In 2012 the Towers will field youth teams in four age groups for the first time: boys 12 years or younger (U12), 14 years or younger (U14), 16 years or younger (U16) and 19 years or younger (U19). All three 2011 squads qualified for the play-offs this season, with the U16s and U19s reaching their respective championship games: the Future Bowl (U16) and Junior Bowl (U19). The U16 team claimed their third straight – and sixth since 2002 – championship. The U19 team fell to the Søllerød Gold Diggers. The U13 squad lost their shot at their first championship since 2007.
For more information: The Copenhagen Towers is an amateur American football team based in Gentofte. The club fields four youth teams in addition to the adult team which plays at the highest level in Denmark: the National League. New players are welcome, as is anyone wishing to coach, officiate or just help out. Read more at www.copenhagen-towers.dk.