It’s a tough thing to grasp, the end. The last game of the season for the Barcelona Dragons was this past Saturday. We got to talk to the offensive coordinator Patrick Wennin about what it meant to be there, and how it felt when the season ended.
Even though most of the European League of Football plays 1 more game, Week 12 is their 2nd bye week. For continuity, its also that for Hamburg.
“The people I met, the players I coached, and the summer we had will always have a special place in my heart. I’ve met some life long friends along this journey and hope that it keeps going a little bit longer.”
This was the first season for the European League of Football. But for some teams, it wasn’t their first time playing together. The Frankfurt Galaxy and the Panthers Wroclaw are 2 clubs that have been around a bit. But not the Dragons.
“We basically started as a franchise May 6 when we all landed in Spain. It was a crazy first couple weeks, I would say i missed home but I didnt even have time to miss home. I think that was a big part of why it took a while to hit our groove. We were still learning how to play together, coach together, and be a team. Those experiences made us into the team we were the final 5 weeks.”
And what a team they were. Going into Week 11 QB Zach Edwards was 2nd on the top passer list. WRs Jean Constant and Remi Bertellin were top 2 receivers, and LB Myke Tavarres was 2nd in total tackles.
Their first win didn’t come until Week 6 vs the Berlin Thunder. But they finished winning 2 of their last 4, including a monster shootout against the Cologne Centurions, 60-51.
“We came a long way from week 1 and put the league on notice, unfortunately it was a little too late. I’m very proud of how the boys handled this season and how they were able to come together.”
In Week 1, and up until the week of the win vs Cologne, Wennin was the RBs coach. And to be honest, they weren’t known for their ground game. But Patrick got promoted to offensive coordinator heading into Week 8, and that’s really when you saw the team flip the switch.
“Getting promoted was special. It showed me that the franchise has my back and that meant the world to me.”
Barcelona was so close all year. Three of their losses were within a score from flipping sides, and they were still in the playoff hunt until Week 10. Many of those came in the rain, which isn’t always conducive to their offensive style.
But the excitement from the fans, and everyone around the team was always electric. From what I can tell, their base was one of the most vocal on social media, and always showed love and support for their Catalan team.
Even guys from other teams in the league show Wennin love. Which is great to see, and goes far when learning what makes the man that holds the whistle.
Patrick is an American, coaching American football, in Europe. That has to be somewhat challenging, but Wennin said this about it:
“It was amazing. I’ve always had an interest in spending time over here and the Barcelona Dragons gave me that opportunity. I’m very grateful for that and just blessed to be here. It never failed to hit me when in the middle of practice I would look at the mountains by our stadium and just think ‘Wow, I’m in spain coaching Football for a professional football team.’ It was really surreal.”
There’s a bit of uncertainty with many of those involved, when it comes to next summer. Many of the players reportedly were only signed for 1 season, same with coaches. Not uncommon for start-up leagues like this. Sort of a wait and see approach.
Some players and coach in other leagues that play a different schedule. Some have already been offered contracts for next year. There’s also some talk of expansion for 2022.
But we don’t know for sure what the future holds. We know this season was amazing, and for some, it’ll end too soon.
Thanks coach. We’re looking forward to everything that’s coming down the line, and good luck, no matter what!