Hosting regular season NFL games in London has worked exceptionally well. The NFL were sceptical at first, but the English fans have proven their love of the game is genuine, and they’re being rewarded for their commitment. This season, for the first time ever, The NFL increased London’s one game allowance to two games. The first game of London’s NFL season pitted the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday 29th September. The second had the NFL’s worst team, the Jacksonville Jaguars, take on the 2012 Super Bowl runner-up, the San Francisco 49ers.
Days before their match-up the NFL announced that next season would see another game added, meaning Wembley will host three games in the 2014 season. This is another huge step on the road to London getting an NFL franchise. Before anyone had the time to think about next year, they had Colin Kaepernick’s 49ers to occupy themselves with. Since taking over from Alex Smith as San Francisco’s starting quarterback, Kaepernick, has gained rave reviews across the NFL, and his London performance would only add to his blossoming legacy.
Quarterback’s used to be known for their throwing capability, now they’re able to run, throw and pull off many plays to entertain the fans, and ultimately win football games. Known for dominating the game in every way, Kaepernick did so once again as he rushed for two touchdowns himself, and threw for another, while throwing for 164 yards, and rushing for 54 yards himself. So why are the modern era quarterbacks’ playing such a different style than those that went before them? Could it be better training, or could it be as simple as the improvement that’s been made to their NFL jerseys, such as lighter fitting compression clothing (available at online store compressionsportswear.co.uk )
With Kaepernick’s rampant running, it’s easy to forget the 49ers already have a superstar running back in Frank Gore. Frank Gore didn’t disappoint as he ran for two touchdowns and 71 yards. Their dominant ability to run the football is the main reason many believe they will return to the Super Bowl this year, but win rather than finishing as the runner-up, and who’s to blame them given their form? San Francisco improved to 6-2, while the Jaguars are now 0-8. On and off the field these two teams couldn’t be any more different, and sadly the 49ers 42-10 defeat of the Jaguars only added to this belief.
The only the thing the Jaguars have going for them is their own star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, but even his performances have been on a great decline since the 2012 season. Although he is not having his best season, he still managed to rush for 75 yards and receive for 47 yards, proving he is still a worthy member of this Jacksonville team. With rumours of the older players (he is 29) being traded for draft-picks, it looks increasingly likely he could be traded to another team, this week at the earliest, or after the season has finished.
The NFL is one of the world’s most supported sports, and given each team only has 16 games per season, it was inevitable that some of the NFL’s original fans would grow frustrated at losing its regular games. There is talk of London having their own NFL team, having several match-ups per season or having teams commit to playing some of their schedule there, similar to the four-year commitment the Jaguars have made (Now with three games remaining). With the 2013 season having two spectacular games in London, three scheduled for next year, what is in store for the NFL and its overseas future?
Photo Credits: Wikipedia