American football arrived in the garden city in the form of the Bangalore Warhawks. The team originally slated to play in Bhubaneshwar had a lot to smile about in the inaugural season of the EFLI. The Warhawks made it to the final four, winning 5 of the 7 games before getting knocked out by Delhi Defenders.
Let’s have a look at the stats for the Hawks in the first EFLI season and see where the team excelled.
In Jitendra Shetty, the Warhawks had one of the best quarter-backs in the league in terms of QB ratings. Not only was he impressive in terms of his ratings, he also had had an impressive completion percentage of 58.4% (2nd best for quarter-backs who played at least 70 snaps). His mark of 4 touchdowns also ties the best record for any quarter-back in the league.
Even when Shetty wasn’t available, the attack was ably handled by Gurwant Singh, who put 24 effective snaps together. Singh was even more accurate than Shetty in his short at the signal-caller for the Warhawks but didn’t have the cutting edge needed in the end-zone.
If Bangalore was efficient in the passing game, they were simply outstanding in the running one. The Warhawks were blessed with the presence of Roshan Lobo, who took the league by storm with his running. The 493 yards and 6 touchdowns amassed by the Bangalore native were both league highs for any running-back. His awards of Most Outstanding Running Back, Most Valuable Player of India, and EFLI Most Valuable Player 2012 stand a testament to the prolific running that he brought to the field for Bangalore.
For every successful quarter-back, there needs to be a competent corps of wide-receivers and what a group it was. In Navneeth Shanta the Warhawks had the only wide receiver to break 200 receiving yards. Shanta was not only impressive in amassing the yards, but also lethal in the red zone (3 touchdowns to his name). In addition to Shanta, the Bangalore arsenal also contained weapons like Cinto Chacko and Sandeep Kumar who were impressive in their own rights as well. The three of them combined for a massive 466 yards with 5 touchdowns at a completion rate of 76%. Even Roshan Lobo got into the mix of things in the passing game, catching an impressive 75% of the throws targeted at him.
While the Warhawks committed a number of fumbles, the sheer brute force of their offense more than made up for the errors.
While the Warhawks committed a few uncharacteristic turnovers, they themselves forced a few on their opponents. They lead the league in terms of total interceptions as well, with Dinesh Kothandapani coming up with a couple of them. Bangalore even managed to record the rare feat of a pick six in the EFLi with Madhu Sudan responsible for taking the turnover to the fullest distance.
Amandeep Singh, who played as a linesman on both defense as well as offense was the only Warhawk to record a sack in the league.
While not putting up stellar numbers, the Warhawks’ defence held their own, allowing only 63 points in the 7 games that they played in.
Dinesh Kothandapani was mostly entrusted with the punting responsibilities. However, his average punt distance of 37.2 yards was quite below par. Gurwant Singh however in his two punts for the Warhawks provided them with an alternative option for the duties as he went on to average a hefty 51.5 yards in his 2 punts.
The name of Navaneeth Shanta again props up and this time for his duties as a kicker. More renowned for his catches downfield, Shanta came up trumps as well when entrusted with the duty of kicking. The 6’ 1” wide-receiver by trade was able to convert on 2 of the 3 attempts he had on goal.
Familiar names of Roshan Lobo, Navaneeth Shanta and Dinesh Kothandapani prop up again when it comes to returning the kicks and punts. The EFLI MVP as well as the duo impresses here as well, forming the core of the return group.
Bangalore, unlike others in the first season found the superstar of the league in Roshan Lobo and a lot of exciting pieces that they can build their team around. While impressing mightily, the Warhawks would have been bitterly disappointed not to make the finals in the inaugural season. However, with the pieces and the chemistry they already have happier days don’t seem far off.