The NFL has been intent on putting down roots on the opposite side of the pond in recent times. The league sends teams to play in London, hoping to construct excitement among the many British masses, fans whose sporting landscapes are likely to revolve mostly around soccer.
NFL London draws loads of buzz. The games are fast-paced, action-packed and physical, a welcome departure from the silky trappings of soccer. Consequently, the events have been major successes — every time London has hosted the NFL, the sport has sold out.
There’s only one problem: The league keeps sending bottom feeders to play within the U.K.
When the Vikings play the Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, the sport will likely be the newest featuring no less than one sub-.500 team. The shortage of strong sides is something the showcase has change into known for through the years.
Perhaps it’s one other way for Americans to get back on the mother country: gifting the Brits games that would not draw much attention in America.
MORE: When are the NFL London Games 2022?
History of NFL games in London
NFL London began as an offshoot of other league efforts to make “America’s Game” more relevant across the globe. From NFL Europe to the American Bowl, the NFL has at all times had its eyes on expanding the sport’s popularity beyond the States.
League commissioner Roger Goodell implemented the International Series in 2007. London’s Wembley Stadium was the unique site of the sport, and it hosted no less than one NFL regular-season game every yr from 2007-19.
The primary contest, between the Giants and Dolphins, resulted in a 13-10 Giants victory — a high-profile win in a G-Men season capped by Recent York winning the Lombardi Trophy.
MORE: Teams, dates & times for 2022 NFL international game matchups
The league has attempted to construct consistent support amongst British fans, with the Rams — owned by Arsenal majority shareholder Stan Kroenke — and the Jaguars — owned by Fulham majority shareholder Shahid Khan — making multiple trips to London.
Why does the NFL keep sending bad teams to London?
Since 2007, London has hosted 31 NFL games, counting Sunday’s Vikings-Saints game. None of those 31 encounters has featured two teams with winning records.
That streak will proceed this weekend: the Saints enter the Week 4 contest with a 1-2 record, while the Vikings are 2-1.
The league is doing itself a disservice by sending lesser teams to play mostly bad football in a burgeoning market. Take a look at the figures:
- No NFL London game has featured two teams that later earned playoff berths.
- Of the previous 30 games to happen in England, 15 have been decided by double digits.
- Only 12 teams which have taken part in NFL London games have made the postseason.
- Nine teams which have taken part in London games have wound up losing no less than 13 games that season, including the Jets and Jaguars in 2021.
- The 2017 Browns, who finished 0-16, played in an NFL London game.
So, again, why does the league NFL send bad teams to London? Well, it’s not likely the NFL’s alternative.
The fact is that teams volunteer for these games. One side agrees to present up one in all its stateside home games. That is a large investment: since 2010, home teams have won 55.6 percent of games.
The league offers a sweetener of reimbursing teams for the losses they incur in giving up a house game, plus $1 million. To place it bluntly, money talks.
And if a team decides to present up a house game, it is going to quit one against a middling team. That is how Falcons vs. Jets and Jaguars vs. Dolphins (the 2 London games in 2021) get played across the Atlantic.
MORE: Why do the Jaguars at all times play in an NFL London game?
There are mechanisms in place to enhance the standard of the NFL London games. Franchises hoping to host a Super Bowl must participate in a game. That is one in all the explanations the Rams, Falcons and Buccaneers (owned by the Glazer family, which also owns Manchester United) have played in London recently.
Also, starting this yr, the league will use a divisional rotation to find out which teams participate in overseas games. The hope is that change, coupled with the addition of a seventeenth regular-season game (which guarantees each team no less than eight home games per season), will incentivize good teams to play in Europe.
History of NFL London games
The outcomes of each NFL London game for the reason that event’s inception in 2007.
|2007||Giants 13, Dolphins 10||Wembley||81,176|
|2008||Saints 37, Chargers 31||Wembley||83,226|
|2009||Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7||Wembley||84,254|
|2010||49ers 24, Broncos 16||Wembley||83,941|
|2011||Bears 24, Buccaneers 18||Wembley||76,981|
|2012||Patriots 46, Rams 7||Wembley||84,004|
|2013||Vikings 34, Steelers 27||Wembley||83,518|
|2013||49ers 42, Jaguars 10||Wembley||83,559|
|2014||Dolphins 38, Raiders 14||Wembley||83,431|
|2014||Lions 22, Falcons 21||Wembley||83,532|
|2014||Cowboys 31, Jaguars 17||Wembley||83,603|
|2015||Jets 27, Dolphins 14||Wembley||83,986|
|2015||Jaguars 34, Bills 31||Wembley||84,021|
|2015||Chiefs 45, Lions 10||Wembley||83,624|
|2016||Jaguars 30, Colts 27||Wembley||83,798|
|2016||Giants 17, Rams 10||Twickenham||74,121|
|2016||Washington 27, Bengals 27||Wembley||84,448|
|2017||Jaguars 44, Ravens 7||Wembley||84,592|
|2017||Saints 20, Dolphins 0||Wembley||84,423|
|2017||Rams 33, Cardinals 0||Twickenham||73,736|
|2017||Vikings 33, Browns 16||Twickenham||74,237|
|2018||Seahawks 27, Raiders 3||Wembley||84,922|
|2018||Chargers 20, Titans 19||Wembley||84,301|
|2018||Eagles 24, Jaguars 18||Wembley||85,870|
|2019||Raiders 24, Bears 21||Tottenham Hotspur||60,463|
|2019||Panthers 37, Buccaneers 26||Tottenham Hotspur||60,087|
|2019||Rams 24, Bengals 10||Wembley||83,720|
|2019||Texans 26, Jaguars 3||Wembley||84,771|
|2021||Falcons 27, Jets 20||Tottenham Hotspur||60,589|
|2021||Jaguars 23, Dolphins 20||Tottenham Hotspur||60,784|