London calling! This time it’s a clash between the Vikings and Steelers. Apparently, Brits are not so bored with the U.S.A. (okay, I’ll stop now) that they don’t want to see any more American football; as of Tuesday, over 84,000 tickets had been sold for the event.
Unfortunately, famed Wembley Stadium will not be getting a matchup for the ages, as both Minnesota and Pittsburgh limp in at 0-3. Then again, why should the capital of England get better football than the capital of these here United States, right? The Guardian, an excellent British newspaper, bemoaned how the matchup sounded so much better when it was announced than it does now, before giving its readers quite an in-depth look at the two squads.
This is the seventh straight year the NFL has played a regular season game in London, and it’s worked out so well that this will actually be the first of two games played there this season. On Oct. 27, the 49ers will take on the Jaguars, who are going to be something of a home team over there, having arranged to play at Wembley once during each of the next three seasons, as well. This makes a fair amount of sense for Jacksonville (the franchise, not, of course, the city that now gets one less home game a year). The Jags don’t exactly have the most rabid fan base here in the States — you know, with their maddening refusal to sign Tim Tebow, and all — so why not tack on as many as they can in the U.K.? Plus, owner Shad Khan has strong ties to the London sports scene, having purchased Fulham, a top-level soccer team.
In fact, with an ever-growing air of inevitability about the NFL placing a franchise in London, the Jags are seen as the most likely team to move there, or to at least annually stage several of their games there. On the other hand, Grantland’s Bill Barnwell wrote persuasively a few weeks ago about just how difficult putting an NFL squad across the pond really would be.
The Redskins have yet to play in one of these London games, but if a franchise moves there, then of course they inevitably would. In fact, as an East Coast team, they might be in a more regular transatlantic rotation than squads further west.
So how do you feel about the NFL possibly expanding to England? Would you go to see the Redskins play there?
Also, given that the league likes to reward teams that move into new stadiums with the chance to host a Super Bowl, how would you feel about seeing the Big Game staged in Wembley?
Officials there want that to happen, although presumably it would have to kick off around midnight in order to be seen in prime time over here. For 99.99 percent of us, the Super Bowl will only ever be something we watch on TV (while wolfing down Costco-sized portions of snack food, of course). But would it bother you to know that the most high-profile sporting event the U.S. has to offer wasn’t even taking place on our soil?
Des Bieler is a page designer, artist and writer who contributes his NFL insights to Opening Kick on Fridays and the print edition’s game-day page on Sundays. Follow him on Twitter at @DezBeeWP.
Around the Web:
● MMQB’s Andrew Brandt has more to say about the NFL’s interest in Europe.
● If you didn’t watch last night’s 49ers-Rams game, congratulations, and here’s everything nfl.com thinks you you need to know. (It involves Sam Bradford and the word “regressing). Here’s a game story on our Web site.
● Planning on taking in the NFL games at a sports bar? Here, courtesy of Sports on Earth, is what not to say.
From The Post:
● Mark Maske on the Redskins travel plans to Oakland.
● Mike Jones’s five Redskins vs. Raiders story lines
● The Redskins practice Friday at 11:50 a.m.; Sunday’s game kicks off at 4:25 p.m.