Tag:London Game
Posted on: July 25, 2011 4:12 pm

NFL: London game 'moves forward as planned'

Posted by Will Brinson

Amid the champagne-popping of the settlement between the NFL and the NFLPA, there are still some issues to be concerned about. Like the good football fans of London, who were nervously eyeing the August 1 deadline to get a new deal in place (otherwise the game would be canceled).

So we checked on it for them, and NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told CBSSports.com that the London game, featuring the Chicago Bears and Tampa Buccaneers, "moves forward as planned."

That's not tremendously surprising, because it seemed like a logical move for the NFL, given the timing of the deal that got done, the revenue that it brings in and the global growth of the game that the game offers.

But because the timing of the deadline for the game to take place and the possibility that a deal might not be "done" done until August 4, there was still some uncertainty surrounding the London game.

But just like with the rest of the 2011 NFL season, that's no longer a concern.

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Posted on: April 18, 2011 5:47 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 6:17 pm

Bears, Bucs in London, sked coming Tuesday at 7

Posted by Will Brinson

Less than a week ago, a report surfaced that the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers would play in London during 2011.

That information was verified by the NFL on Monday afternoon, when the game was announced as the first part of the 2011 schedule. The rest of the schedule will be released on Tuesday, April 19 at 7:00 PM EST, live on NFL Network.

The game will take place on Sunday, October 23 and will be played at Wembley Stadium at 6:00 PM UK time, which means Chicagoans will get to watch their Bears play at the normal noon central time they're accustomed to.

"Our past four games in London have demonstrated the tremendous passion for NFL football that exists in the UK," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a press release. "We hope by staging another extraordinary game at Wembley that we can continue to grow our existing fan base and attract even more new fans."

Oh, but there is one catch to that timing which was kind of buried in the press release -- if the labor situation isn't cleared up by August 1, the game will not be played in England. This, I presume, is to make sure that the NFL doesn't manage to make another country angry by making forcing worthless ticket sales down the throats of the citizens there.

Back to football, though: The Buccaneers sound excited, and not just because it means they can avoid at least one blackout in 2011 (hey-o!).

"We are honored to be selected to participate in the NFL International Series for a second time,” said Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer. "We are looking forward to promoting Tampa Bay's emerging young team on the world stage. We have the longest running fan club of any NFL team in the UK and look forward to seeing so many familiar faces from the Bucs UK fan club at the game."

All jokes aside, I had no clue that the Bucs were so popular in Europe. Perhaps it has something to do with the close proximity of Florida to England? Or perhaps the pirate-theme? Or maybe just because the Glazers own Manchester United as well. Probably the last part.

Of course, the Bears have been in this position before -- having played in Wembley way back in 1986 during a preseason exhibition overseas.

"To return to London to play an NFL game – this is going to be fun," said Chicago Bears Chairman Michael McCaskey. "I remember how enthusiastic the fans were in 1986 when we played in Wembley Stadium and defeated the Dallas Cowboys. London fans were so welcoming and blended their traditions of singing soccer songs with the NFL-style of presenting games. Of course the Chicago Bears are very pleased to have been named the 'Team of the Year’ by UK fans following the 2010 season. So we are looking forward to facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October and playing in person before our terrific fans in the UK and Europe."

Anyone else seeing some sort of bizarro world rivalry building up here, where the Bucs and Bears fight for the right to own England's heart? Maybe it's just me.

Whatever, this is a matchup that'll be derided by many people as the typical "junk-o-la game shipped to England."

But the truth is the Bears were in the NFC Championship Game last year and they've got plenty of flashy stars, and the Bucs have one of the game's biggest risers in Josh Freeman in addition to a bunch of young talent.
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