Last Sunday I got to go to Wem-ber-ley to see the NFL on tour. The New Orleans Saints hosted the San Diego Chargers in only the second regular season NFL game to be played outside of North America. I’m glad that my mate Philly got the tickets through his work, because I probably would have balked at shelling out £125 for a ticket.
There was a great atmosphere before hand, with most NFL teams being represented in the replica shirts worn by fans. Of course that meant that the home team advantage would be lost, so the organisers did everything in their powers to encourage any neutrals to cheer for the Saints.
Great game, and what looked like it could be a blow-out was in the end won by the Saints 37-32. The Chargers could have won it with a Hail Mary at the bitter end, but wouldn’t have deserved the win. Now all the two teams have to do is go and try playing some defence.
The niggling annoyance was that our seats in the Club Wembley section were mostly filled with people on corporate hospitality, and as a result I overheard endless “what happened there?” and “who’s got the ball?” questions.
The event was wonderful, and there were only a couple of glitches. Firstly the Saints ran out from a different tunnel to the one everyone was expecting and caught the cameras unaware. Then there were problems with the ref’s mic and so the penalties weren’t always explained. And finally, a general point about Wembley: they have to do something about the Underground station – it took around half an hour to get a train.
There’s a full report on the NFL UK website and stats and video clips on CBS.