The fact that the traditional word “football” may need to be traded for “soccer” can only mean one thing: The NFL is making moves across the Atlantic.
At least, it is trying to.
Football has been prominent in the United States for as long as we can remember, and has made signifi- cant strides over the years. Rising to popularity with the formation of the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC) in 1970, the sport has become a staple in many American house- holds every Sunday and Monday, and sometimes Saturday, if you count all of the college games.
So how hasn’t this phenom- enon that brings together family and friends, provides healthy competition and evokes team spirit, (even if you root for the Jets) been unable to col- lect major fandom in England?
Well, I’m not saying there aren’t any fans. There certainly are die-hard dev- otees who, since 2007 when the NFL began bringing games to London, de- sired greater professional football pes- ence overseas.
The league hosted three games in London’s Wembley Stadium in 2014. Two of them were just plain uninter- esting.
Though it is difficult to predict how teams will fare, it is safe to say the NFL dropped the ball on two of this year’s three games.
Week four was fairly lackluster, with Miami crushing the Raiders 38- 14. Sure, Ryan Tannehill threw for 278 yards for two touchdowns, but Oakland’s depleted defense could not make a stop.
The fans began to leave as early as midway through the third quarter due to lack of action.
However, the fans got a closer game a month later on Oct. 28, when the Lions and Falcons played. Detroit took the game 22-21, and things were looking up for the British, as one more game remained.
By the next international game, however, it was Week 10 and much of the season had already passed for both squads. Jacksonville was 1-8 going into the game, and the Cowboys were 6-2. Many people, looking at wins and losses, presumed the Cowboys would dominate.
Though it was not as large of a mar- gin, Dallas took the game 31-17. If we are being completely honest, it was anticlimactic.
With any football game, it is diffi- cult to predict when a game will be a blow-out, but it is rather disappoint- ing for British fans to have the op- portunity to attend only three NFL games a year, and for two thirds of them to be uncompetitive.
However, the die-hard British NFL fans will keep coming back to poten- tial blowouts, just because they love the sport so much.
But, if the NFL eventually wants London to have a permanent fran- chise or more of a presence overseas, the games need to be enticing enough to draw in those that have a passing or growing interest in the game.
Tara Cangialosi is the Web Editor for The Fordham Ram.
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