”Thirty-seven! Eighteen! Falafel ball! HIKE!”

By now, you may have heard that Israel will be launching a professional baseball league this summer. But a FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION??? Bob Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots (and active Jewish community leader), and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue were recently in Israel to help announce this exciting development.

Could American football really catch fire in Israel, my loyal readers? The game of soccer, despite its popularity among youth, can’t see to take hold in the States, even after our successful World Cup showing in 2002 and the bajillions of dollars invested in its professional leagues over the years. Most Israelis I know who have watched football say “Waht eez deh point? They heet each ah-der and then stend around for tehr-tee seh-cahnds!……

Mah zeh ‘first and ten’?”

Some burning questions about this new league…

“If you build it, they will come,” said American Football in Israel president Steve Leibowitz as he announced the new Israel Football League to dozens of players and guests.

Yes, but will they wait in lines?

Dori Reichmann, a San Diego Chargers fan from Rehovot, has been playing tackle football in Israel since 1994, when he played in pickup games without any pads or helmets. Next year, he’ll be playing for the Tel Aviv Pioneers in the new Israel Football League. “We’ve been waiting for this for 10 years,” he said. While the IFL has been a three-team tackle football league without helmets and pads, the new fully-equipped IFL plans to kick off this fall with at least four teams located in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and Kfar Saba.

The Tel Aviv Pioneers? What were the other finalists for the team name? The Tel Aviv Chain Smokers? The Shnitzel Friers?

As a major sports fan, this is truly exciting. It looks like Israel is about to learn about a new kind of “Friday night lights.

Coht-ehn cendy, anyone?

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