In the same way that the English Premier Soccer League wants to take its league abroad for game 39, the National Football League (NFL) of America repeats its visit to Wembley to play an international series match between the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers. The game will take place on October 26 and it is understood that games of this nature will be repeated until at least 2010. Last year’s first game took place between the eventual champions of the ‘Superbowl’, the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Giants. Miami Dolphins.
The two teams selected for this year’s match are apparently high-class entertaining teams and have been purposely selected to put on a first-class show for the ever-increasing number of British fans. Both teams have great attacking ability, or to use American parlance, offensive ability, and promise to be a high-scoring game with little regard for defensive stratagems. It looks like both teams are led by the American equivalents of Kevin Keegan, if so then he should live up to the hype.
The last game at Wembley between the ‘Giants’ and the ‘Dolphins’ was a low-scoring game in which the ‘Giants’ won by 13 points to 10, but NFL officials want this next game to be high-octane. and please the crowd. Teams appear to be under orders to score at will.
The Saints and the Chargers have ‘Superbowl’ aspirations this year and hope to follow in the footsteps of the ‘Giants’; Both teams are expected to make the play-offs this season. If either team wins the ‘Superbowl’ this year, then Wembley can expect a lot of interest from other teams to visit in the next couple of years.
The big surprise to many is that over half a million UK NFL fans have already applied for tickets. In May, 45,000 tickets were put on sale and sold in 90 minutes, and in June another 15,000 were put on sale, which were also sold in half an hour. The final sale of the remaining 20,000 or so tickets will go on sale in September and if the organizers have any sense, they should increase the price by 500% as they will apparently continue to sell.
The obvious popularity of an American sport around here, that not many people understand, played by men who wear protective clothing and where the team changes every time it’s attempted, oops…sorry…a touchdown is scored, it’s something difficult for traditionalists. UK sports fans to understand. But there is no doubt that tradition counts for nothing and this new wave of NFL London is surely only the beginning of things to come.