How Germany helped flip the NFC Pro Bowl fan voting

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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Mark Nzeocha isn’t a household name. At least not in America.

But in his home country of Germany, Nzeocha’s name is starting to ring out like the most famous German professional athlete in American sports: legendary Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

For proof of Nzeocha’s blossoming fame in his home country, look at fan voting for this year’s Pro Bowl. Amid the usual suspects topping the ballot, there sits Nzeocha as the leading vote-getter in the NFC for the special-teams spot.

Fan voting ended Thursday with Nzeocha racking up 183,150 votes, most among all special-teamers. According to the NFL, roughly 80 percent (146,520) of Nzeocha’s votes came from Germany. Nzeocha had support from all over Germany, not just his tiny home municipality of Neusitz. Unless, of course, every person in Neusitz voted for Nzeocha roughly 71 times.9

“Honestly, it means the world,” Nzeocha said. “The football community in Germany is so small and it’s such a tight-knit group, it’s just like if one of us makes it, everyone is behind him. Which is super, super cool to see. … It’s still a new sport in Germany and the interest is growing, which is really cool to see. I guess they have shown all the Sunday games on free TV now and more and more people are really getting into the sport, which honestly can only help the sport in Germany and it helps the NFL, too, just expanding the platform. It’s a great thing.”

According to Motzkus, the broadcast for each week’s games featured reports on Nzeocha and the network’s website featured information on Nzeocha and Pro Bowl voting. Beyond that, RanSport and NFL Deutschland made regular use of their social media channels, putting out tweets that could be retweeted by fans, which would count as a vote for Nzeocha. One such tweet from RanSport on Nov. 29 garnered 805 retweets, good for as many votes.

“Mark gets the support of the whole football nation in Germany,” Motzkus said. “We are very proud to have a player in the best football league of the world. He has a lot of supporters in his homeland.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Among them is the German fan organization that specifically supports the 49ers, known as “The Niners Empire Germany.” That group also did extensive work to get out the vote for Nzeocha.