As I sat in Manchester airport waiting to start my journey to Minneapolis, I was busy answering questions posed by Christian Radnedge, a journalist for Reuters.
He was writing a feature about NFL in the UK and its growth this side of the Atlantic. He wanted my perspective on it, as well as my predictions for the Super Bowl (nailed it by the way).
The feature was published on the Reuters website and picked up internationally with the likes of Eurosport, the Metro, and China Daily.
Responses in full:
The growth of the game has been a huge success. Going from one pre-season match to multiple regular season games should not be understated. NFLUK and the NFL constantly look to challenge just how popular the sport is in the UK, and, in my opinion, that’s with a view to having a franchise based in the UK. For example, this year three games are being played in London on consecutive weekends for the first time. That’s similar to what will happen if a franchise is here.
An NFL team in London wouldn’t sway me from supporting the Eagles. I’ve followed them for 16 years and there’s a lot of attachment, emotion, and connection you build with a team over that period of time.
The toughest hurdle for the sport to challenge the likes of cricket and rugby in the UK for attention is the perception that ‘there’s too many breaks in play’. When you speak to fans who started following the sport in the last few years, most say as soon as they understood the rules, they didn’t really notice the breaks as they were discussing play calls and other in-game analysis. With the right communications strategy, American Football can absolutely be a mainstream sport in the UK.
My heart says Eagles win the Super Bowl. They’ve overcome the loss of their all-pro left tackle, starting middle linebacker, a dynamic running back, special team’s leader, and star quarterback who was having an MVP season, to make the Super Bowl. The odds have been against them for a number of weeks and they have proved the doubters wrong. Fly Eagles Fly.
Check out some of the resulting coverage: