Hot Dog! NFL Returns To London

Tiffany Pritchard
By Tiffany Pritchard Last edited 51 months ago
Hot Dog! NFL Returns To London

Menelik Watson, Tackle pic Dave Shopland
Oakland Raiders' Menelik Watson is excited about playing at Wembley Stadium. Photo by Dave Shopland.

The US's embracing of the football World Cup was impressive — a record-breaking 26.5 million Americans tuned into the final — and there's a similar (although decidedly more mutedly British) crescendo of delight at American football from the UK.

To cater for this growing love, the National Football League (NFL) hops across the pond to Wembley Stadium, for three official games this autumn (last year there were two). All three games sold out within days (returns from the teams have recently brought additional tickets back on sale, although at over £100 each, you've got to really want to go).

The first game to kick off the international series is between Oakland Raiders and Miami Dolphins on 28 September. It promises to be a particularly good draw for a number of reasons:

1) Menelik Watson, a Mancunian native, will be showboating his tackling skills for the Raiders.

2) London-born Al Saunders adds to the international mix by heading up the Raiders' offensive coaching team, with an impressive five division titles and one Super Bowl championship tacked on to his resume.

3) Rookie Oakland quarterback Derek Carr promises to continue wowing fans with his impressive arm and quick manoeuvring.

4) 80s legends Def Leppard will headline the pre-game show, while vocalist Laura Wright will belt out the British national anthem and the Fray's Isaac Slade will sing the US anthem.

Not convinced? Menelik Watson, who once dreamed of playing actual football for Manchester City, tells us what he thinks about playing American football:

And hear what Miami Dolphins' defensive end Cameron Wake says about playing in London for the first time.

If shelling out over £100 for a ticket is a bit beyond your own enthusiasm for the game, you can still get involved in the excitement through Saturday's day of festivities in the West End:  

NFL on Regent Street

NFL will take over Regent Street on Saturday from 11am-5pm, providing music and entertainment, including performances from the likes of the Raiderette cheerleaders. Other offerings include Nike's ground floor-dedicated NFL space offering shoes, jerseys and other football apparel; interactive activities such as vertical leap and accuracy challenges; Jeep's sponsored climbing wall; restaurants like Ed's Easy Diner will have exclusive NFL menus; and perhaps best of all, goodies and bubbling beverages in selected shops (yes, we are talking about the fizz that comes in tall thin glasses).

NFL Gameday Fan Plaza

In substitute of tail-gating — an American tradition where friends and family barbecue in the car park prior to the game's start — a 'gameday' will take place outside Wembley Stadium from 11am until kick-off at 6pm. Once again, the Raiderettes will be performing, along with DJs and guest appearances from several of the players and coaches from both teams.

The NFL returns to Wembley on 26 October for the Detroit Lions vs Atlanta Falcons game and on 9 November for the Dallas Cowboys vs Jacksonville Jaguars — accompanied by a further raft of celebrations around the city.

Tickets are available at Ticketmaster, at £114.45. All international games will also be broadcast live on Sky Sports.

Last Updated 25 September 2014