NFL Takes London

The NFL started invading London a decade ago and has been picking up some serious steam in the past few years.  What went from one game a year is now four games at two different locations, Wembley and Twickenham.

I went for the first time in 2015 to see the New York Jets play the Miami Dolphins and then again this past October when the Baltimore Ravens were playing the Jacksonville Jaguars (aka London’s team).  It’s been a goal of the NFL to have a team move permanently to London and from first hand experience I think it would be a fabulous idea.

Its really incredible to see how the NFL takes over the city each weekend of an International series. Trafalgar Square becomes home base and the teams usually have a “pub takeover” nearby.  When I was there in 2015, the Jets took over The Admiralty, which has multiple levels and was jammed with Jets fans, from the US and abroad.

Walking around the city you can see jerseys of all 32 teams, which is something you just don’t see in the US.  The real joy though, is getting to the stadium.  This past trip we didn’t go into the game, just walked outside since my boyfriend had not been to Wembley before and I wanted him to experience it for an NFL game.

When we first got off the tube, we followed the sea of fans towards the stadium, but passed a bar we decided to stop at called The Liquor Station.  They had a great draught selection, so we each grabbed a pint and made our way out back to the little picnic area. Even with all of the festivities going on at the stadium, this seemed like quite the pre game spot!

Feeling a little more in the tailgating mood, we continued on our journey to the stadium.  Upon arrival we stumbled across a line of street food, one stand smelling better than the next.  We decided to grab a brat to share – it was massive – we slithered over to the beer tents, grabbing a Stella Cidre for each hand. At both Trafalgar Square, and the stadium, the drum lines come out with cheerleaders.  To me, there is something so classic and electric about a good drum line.  Just gets me so excited!

While taking in the drum line, I happened to notice some men in NFL Kilts. Not something you see every day, so I told Michael to follow me to chat them up.  Turns out they are really and truly huge NFL fans, representing the Texans, Giants, Titans, and Bills.  My new Texans friend is actually the man behind the Texans UK Twitter page.  I was shocked with how much they knew about the actual game.

I may have a different view from some but I think there is something to be said for all of these sold out games in London.  In America, people would rather sit at home and watch on tv, yet here even people who aren’t going want to partake in the festivities.  Bottom line, if you are in town during one of these games, go check it out, walk around, talk to people. Brits are friendlier than you think!

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