Damn you Covid 19 for taking away the London NFL games for 2020. Imagine, we could be basking in the glow of having these four games played on our soil right now. But alas, that damn virus has other plans.
The NFL will be back. We can’t guarantee this, but with the amount that the NFL has invested in the UK, coupled with the huge appetite for NFL tickets, it seems pretty dang likely.
Tottenham literally changed its stadium to accommodate the game, and tied in sponsors and partners to make the game happen here, so all signs point to the NFL returning to London, and potentially other places in the UK.
Liverpool and Manchester have all signalled moves that they would like to adapt their stadiums to host NFL games in the future.
The only real question is when.
Earlier in 2020, when everything was rosy and had the potential for an amazing year, we took a stab at which teams would be coming to London for the 4 games split at Tottenham and Wembley equally.
We used some maths, insider tips and our own gumption to determine which teams MIGHT be coming to the UK for this year.
We have no idea if they were right or wrong, but we did use some logical inference based on previous years.
Here are the games we THOUGHT would happen.
Broncos vs Falcons
Week 3-Sept 27/ 20
Arthur Blank had confirmed that the Falcons were going to be hosting a home game in London, although he didn’t know who they would be facing. Given that the Jags usually host the last 2 games of the London series, we assumed that Atlanta would be one of the first games up.
London gets very busy in the autumn, and their are traditional events like Diwali that are big draws in the centre of town.
The NFLUK usually dresses Oxford Circus in NFL garb at the beginning of the season to get the UK crowd hyped for the start of the season.
We looked at other events scheduled, keeping in mind the London games signify the start of bye weeks, to give teams a chance to rest when they get home.
Given all of this information, and prospecting on the Falcons schedule, we chose an AFC/ NFC matchup between the Falcons and Denver Broncos.
Were we right? We’ll never know
Patriots vs Dolphins
Week 4-Oct 4/ 20
Part of what determines who comes to London is home attendance. If your team is struggling to draw home fans, then the league will move you up to chuck across the pond. The Dolphins have seen attendance dwindle in recent years, so they would be at the top of the queue to come over. Add to this the mercurial hurricane weather in Florida up til November, and Miami made sense.
You also have to look at which teams HAVEN’T been here in a while, and the Patriots are a prime candidate. The Brady-less Pats and a scorned Robert Kraft might not have the gumption to say no to the league, so this AFC East matchup would make sense.
We also had an inside tip from Boston that this was on the cards, so we went with our gut.
Again, we will never know if we were right.
Colts vs Jaguars
Week 7-Oct 25
One of the takeaways from previous NFL in London games, is that the NFLUK generally likes to schedule games around the time change. This makes the difference between the east coast only 4 hours, as the US time changes happen on different weekends. They have also made an effort to finish the UK games before America gets hit with November holidays.
Jacksonville Jaguars were due to play 2 games at Wembley, with a division rival being one of the prime targets. Since Indy hadn’t been to the UK in ages, and Phillip Rivers was at the helm, we assumed that this would be a logical bet.
Too bad, because this would have been a heck of a game.
Lions vs Jaguars
Week 8-November 1/20
Detroit Lions were another team we were secretly told was on the chopping block for a trip to Blighty.
Their home attendance was at Covid levels even before the virus was discovered, and they hadn’t been to London in a few years.
These dates also branch over the time change, so week 7 and week 8 were the Jaguars weeks here we assumed with a great deal of certainty.
Ending the UK games by November 1st also allowed the teams to return to the chaotic November schedule, and the start of the REALLY rainy season in the UK.
Did we get this one right? We’ll never know.
Optimism is rampant for the 2021 games, as the MLB has confirmed that their 2020 games will be moved to 2021 in London. Will the NFLUK follow suit?
Hopefully, but it’s too hard to say at this point.
This damn virus is showing no signs of weakness, and adapts more than the Terminator.
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