NFL Comes to London

By Zanib Asghar

As many of you know, American sports were not all that popular here in London. But over the years, their “football’ which considered our ‘rugby’ has started to attract some attention.

Whether the Monday Night Football (MNF) scene will become as popular as the Premier League is, we don’t know, but what we do know is that come September 2013 and we’ll have our very own live MNF in Wembley Stadium.


The NFL International series has secured two games in London for 2013. The first will take place on Sunday 29th September where the Minnesota Vikings will play the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The second game will be on Sunday 27th October where the Jacksonville Jaguars will play the first of their four games in London against the San Francisco 49ers.

The NFL and the NFLUK have progressed rapidly as four teams across two games will be playing regular season games in London for the next three years.

This progress shows us just how far American Football has come as a game in the UK since 2007, when the first International series game was played here between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants.

Here’s just some of the excitement we’ll get to experience this September and October. Copyright Brian J. McDermott

Here’s just some of the excitement we’ll get to experience this September and October. Copyright Brian J. McDermott

David Tossell, Director of Public Affairs at NFL London, spoke about the success American Football could have in London, “NFL has been present in the UK since the 1980’s and it already has quite a large fan base here already.

“The NFL owners are interested in expanding NFL, it’s already as big as it can be in the states, so they’ve been looking into playing games internationally since 2007.”

“The UK was the most obvious choice for us as the games already been available for everyone here as it is. Fans in the UK have been watching the game for years and years, so we think it will pick up as we have more live games down here.”

“We know we won’t be as big as the Premier League is, but if we can be everyone’s second or even third favourite, then it will open up a whole fan base for us in the UK.”

It was officially announced by the NFL that at least one game will be played at Wembley Stadium each year, till new contract talks begin in 2016.

Some NFL memorabilia to remember a great evening. Copyright Matt McGee.

Some NFL memorabilia to remember a great evening. Copyright Matt McGee

As they step on international ground, a home team was established in talks that took place between the NFL and Wembley Stadium that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be the home team in Wembley. The Jaguars will play their first game here in October 2013.

Alongside securing the Wembley stadium for two 2013 games, NFL officials have also been in talks with Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, over staging matches at the London Olympic Stadium.

The NFL has staged games in London every year since 2007, and October 2012 saw the New England Patriots beat the St Louis Rams 45-7 in front of a sold-out Wembley crowd which included Boris Johnson.

Enthusiastic football fan, Safeer Zaman says, “I’ve been to a NFL game in the States and as popular as it was there, it won’t be here. As someone who loves the Premier League and watches football all the time, I wasn’t into the match over there. I don’t think it will stay for long and if it does not that many people are going to go to the games.”

To purchase tickets and for the latest updates on future matches in the UK visit the Official NFL UK Website.

Watch the Super Bowl 9 where the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Minnesota Vikings played to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1974 season:

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