The wait is over for American football fans around the world as the new NFL season begins. Support in Germany continues to boom, and three brothers from Leverkusen could be the men to tip the sport into the mainstream.
Equanimeous, Osiris and Amon-Ra are not Egyptian gods but three brothers hoping to go from playing local soccer in Leverkusen to being American football stars in the NFL (National Football League).
Born to a German mother, Miriam Steyer from Leverkusen, and a two-time Mr. Universe American father, John Brown, the three boys all play in the same position (wide receiver). Equanimeous (Notre Dame) and Osiris (Stanford) are both playing for leading college teams, while Amon-Ra (Mater Dei High School, California) has already generated a great deal of hype and is considered one of the top young talents in the US.
Being part of the American school system may have distanced the trio from Germany of late, but they were all raised speaking English, French and German. Clearly the active lifestyle they were raised with in Germany has left a lasting impression but they have missed some of the country's comforts. Amon-Ra admitted in an interview with ran that his grandmother's "Streuselkuchen" (crumble cake) was the best ever, and that no one has got it right since.
Equanimeous - or EQ for short - is the eldest and is tipped to be in the 2018 NFL Draft after nine touchdowns and 961 yards in 12 games last season. In the opening game of this season, he had four catches for 80 yards and one touchdown. The excitement around EQ's potential NFL career stands in stark contrast to the Latin meaning for his name, which roughly translates as 'calm'.
The emergence of the St. Brown brothers is an encouraging step for Germany's American football fan base, though Germany doesn't need local heroes for the sport to be successful. The fact free TV channel "ProSieben" has secured another season of America's game for German fans is enough evidence to support that, as is the arrival of college football on free TV in Germany. This season, Sport1 are expected to show 70 games of the NFL's future stars across the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) - Equanimeous and Osiris St. Brown included.
Local heroes are the next logical step for a sport's foreign support base, particularly after a summer of German departures from the NFL.
Hamburg-born Kasim Edebali is the only German to have made an NFL roster ahead of the new season. The 28-year-old signed a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos after a three-year stint at the New Orleans Saints.
Mark Nzeocha is a member of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad (a group of players signed by a team but not on the main roster), while Moritz Böhringer's fairytale ended when a year on the practice squad wasn't enough to secure him a spot on the Minnesota Vikings' roster. Sebastian Vollmer and Björn Werner have both retired, with the former joining Markus Kuhn (who retired after four seasons with the New York Giants) on ProSieben as a pundit for the new season.
There's a lot of football to be played before Super Bowl 52 on February 4, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Germany's support will continue to expand along with its coverage, and Equanimeous St. Brown and his brothers will get better and better. The chances of making it onto one of the 32 NFL teams is around 1.5 percent according to an NCAA study in 2013 and when you get there, staying is even harder - an average NFL career lasts just over three years. The St. Brown brothers are hoping to beat the odds and make sure their careers are as memorable as their names.