The NFL's efforts to become a hit overseas have been successful in recent years thanks to the league's yearly trip to London. Due to popular demand, three regular-season games will be played at Wembley Stadium next season, and the matchups were announced by the NFL on Thursday.
According to NFL: Around The League, a few high-profile teams will be involved, including the Oakland Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and "America's Team," the Dallas Cowboys.
NFL announces three #London games for 2014: Cowboys @ Jaguars, Lions @ Falcons and Dolphins @ Raiders, all at beautiful Wembley Stadium.— NFL: AroundTheLeague (@NFL_ATL) October 24, 2013
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This announcement comes during the same week that the second London game of 2013 will be played. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 29, and the San Francisco 49ers are set to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Oct. 27.
The Jags have become London's adopted home team, as they are committed to play one home game overseas in each of the next four years. Still, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis seems particularly enamored with the idea of playing in England, according to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
NFL in London? Vernon Davis said he wouldn't mind coming back a third time to play here, said he'd move here if he could. #49ers— Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) October 24, 2013
While American fans seem to have mixed feelings about the NFL's London venture, the teams involved have had nothing but good things to say about it.
The Detroit Lions seem especially excited about the opportunity to face the Falcons in London next year. Team president Tom Lewand views it as a chance to build the brand of both the Lions and the city of Detroit, reports Lions senior writer Tim Twentyman.
Tom Lewand on London: “I can’t think of a better city to have its team represent it on a global scale than the city of Detroit.”— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 24, 2013
Lewand: "It’s an opportunity for our fans and our partners to have a global platform to tell our story about how great are fans are" (cont)— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 24, 2013
"about what great things are happening with our team and our community and the City of Detroit."— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) October 24, 2013
The Miami Dolphins will be the road team when they face the Raiders in 2014. According to the team's official press release, Dolphins chairman Stephen Ross, like Lewand, believes it will be a positive.
With our historically strong following internationally, the Dolphins are proud to once again represent the league abroad as one of the six participants of the 2014 International Series. The opportunity to again connect with our many fans overseas and to expose a growing global audience to the sport we all love is something that our entire organization will fully embrace.
Some might think that the Cowboys will receive much of the publicity in London next season due to the great deal of support they have across the United States, but Paolo Bandini of The Guardian suggests that the Dolphins vs. Raiders contest will create the most buzz among Londoners.
Lions-Falcons has potential to be a great game, but Dolphins-Raiders might be most exciting to UK fans. Both teams v well supported in UK— Paolo Bandini (@Paolo_Bandini) October 24, 2013
The London series has been in place since 2007, and while NFL expansion to London may not happen for many years, if ever, there is no question that the sport of American football is gaining a great deal of support overseas on the heels of this announcement.
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