The NFL International Series is back in the UK for 2016 with three games this year and we went to see the Jaguars take on the Colts.
American football has been a steady mark in the calendar for London since 2009 when the NFL first took over Wembley Stadium. And since then the affection the UK has for the sport and the league have only grown. Sunday’s game featuring Jacksonville against Indianapolis was a perfect representation of how a sport can become more than just a sport but rather an all-day experience. Here are the five things we love the most.
It’s a cliché, but we can’t help it. It is truly such a fun day out for the whole family. Even if you don’t know any of the rules, or don’t know which team to support, or which player is currently best – you can still go and have the time of your life. And what makes this atmosphere so unique? For once, no one supports one particular team. All kinds of NFL jerseys can be spotted. Everyone is there to have fun. And because of that, everyone is having fun.
Tailgating is an American tradition, one that we think we Brits should do more of. You make a whole day out of watching a football game, you hang with friends, have food and drink. Wembley Stadium take tailgating on the back of your pickup truck to a whole different level. The carpark is being transformed into a maze of activities (free), giveaways, NFL shops, delicious food and drink. The glorious weather on Sunday was just a cherry on top of a great NFL funday (geddit?!).
Wembley Stadium is the perfect place to hold an NFL game – and not only because of its size. It has the feel of a massive US football stadium along with the iconic Wembley tradition of great sports. And we’re convinced that the game at Twickenham Stadium will be just as amazing a host as the North London venue. Wembley staff seemed just as into the game and the pre-game shenanigans as the fans while still being professional and on the lookout for our safety.
You can always count on the NFL to provide top-class entertainment. Whether it is Lady Gaga performing at halftime for the Super Bowl (yes, she will be!) or Robin Thicke getting us dancing in our seats before the game kicks off.
There’s nothing quite as American as NFL football. And you can’t have that without the legendary cheerleading. In the US, cheerleading is serious business and being an NFL cheerleader is an achievement regarded almost as high as joining the NFL as a player. What better enjoyment than a set of meticulously choreographed dancing when the boys were busy strategising their game plan on the pitch?!
There are two more games left in the NFL International Series: NY Giants v LA Rams at Twickenam Stadium on 23 October and Washington Redskins v Cincinnati Bengals at Wembley Stadium on 30 October. Get your tickets now at ticketmaster.co.uk.