After a successful visit by the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins at Wembley in 2007, the NFL has announced that not only will there be at least one game in each of 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. This year the New Orleans Saints will play the San Diego Chargers. New Orleans being the home team. This is a massive boost for the game in the UK.
Whilst I may have preferred to see different teams I can understand the NFL’s strategy in picking these teams. It is surprising how much the official attitude has changed amongst the teams. The positive feed back from the Giants and the Dolphins has obviously carried a lot of weight. The old argument that the trip over the ponds would be a massive disruption to a teams season has now been marginalised. The Giants appear to have used their Wembley experience last October as a spring board to get to the Superbowl and nobody can say the trip had a negative for the Dolphins. Their season was just pants and it would have ended that way even if they had not made the trip.
Now the challenge is for Wembley itself to step up. They need to address the weaknesses from last year. Manage the preparation of the turf better so that it stands up to the demands better. Vitally important if the Football (soccer) regulars in the UK are not to upset the apple cart. The pitch did not stand up well to the conditions on the day and last year’s rain soaked game did have a huge bearing on the lack lustre England performance. If they up their game and the weather shines they the potential impact is huge.
The BBC will be televising the Super Bowl tomorrow which is great news. I hope that they can actually get even better coverage rights next season. Sky have effectively monopolised coverage for far too long. I have tried Gamepass out of desperation to ditch the exorbitant SKY package. I resent having to fork out so much for a weak show. Admittedly the shows has improved leaps and bounds over recent years. But the game in the UK will only thrive if the NFL is properly shown on free to air television during prime time. Five have done a good job on the late games but realistically that just wont cut it either.
I am going to pick the Giants to win tomorrow, as I think their defence could manage to contain the pats offence. I think the game could turn on a wild play or two. This may go against the grain but I do like to support the underdogs.