An NFL Franchise For Wembley?

This weekend saw Ellen and I make the trip to Wembley for Game 2 of this years NFL International Series with the Atlanta Falcons facing off with the Detroit Lions.

This game saw an unusual kick off time of 1.30pm as the US had a full day of NFL games going all the way through to the Sunday night late game.

The game itself was fantastic, possibly the best game yet, with the Lion’s winning 22-21 with the final kick of the game.

The atmosphere was also much better with the Falcons actually treating Wembley like a home stadium, as opposed to the Raiders who seem to lack the game presentation of the home team.

The only downsides for me though were:

1) The Early Start – as someone who drove down on the day it seemed that everyone had arrived at the same time and the lack of a tail gate meant that we had to rely on Stadium food rather that the usually excellent tailgate party.

2) The Pre Game Show – over the last couple of years we have had some great pre game shows at the international series but the choice of ‘Little Mix’ for this one for me was very disappointing, hopefully the Jags will do better.

So following the games the Big Question of whether there is a possibility of an NFL franchise based in the UK?

My initial thoughts are ‘Yes’ it’s possible but the question for me really is, is it sustainable?

This season the international series sold 33,000 season tickets and once again wembley is sold out for all 3 games, apart from the odd returns here and there!

So it is clear a fanbase is there but would fans stop supporting the teams they already support and support the London team? I can’t see this happening, however I could see people supporting them as a second team maybe.

For example theres no way I’d drop my Eagles to support the London team, however I would probably support them as long as they’re not playing Philadelphia.

Speaking of the teams, realistically an expansion team is not an option as the restructure would be a nightmare so where does that leave us?

Well having spoken to a couple of my good friends we narrowed it down to 4 teams.

1) The St Louis Rams – The Ram’s are a potential decent pick for London with some good players and a base for a decent team.

2) The Oakland Raiders – A team struggling once again in Oakland following their move back from LA.

3) The Jacksonville Jaguars – Already committed to 3 games here and with their owner also owning Fulham could that be the link?

4) The San Diego Chargers – A good side with a decent QB in Philip Rivers but there is a rumour that this team could be bound for LA!

So will it happen?  I believe so, the NFL had made no secret that they want a London Team but when is a different matter!

5 International Series games next season was the rumour floating around Wembley this weekend but it appears the Rugby World Cup has put a stop to that and it’s looking like 3 next year with possible ‘back to back’ games to once again test the fanbase.

I guess the questions will be asked again next week as the Dallas Cowboys arrive in town to take on the Jaguars but for me as long as teams keep coming I’ll certainly be attending whether it’s a London franchise or not!

I guess I should start saving for a season ticket now!

Although I do pray that the pre game entertainment is better!

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