Denver Broncos Set To Do Battle With 1-6 San Francisco 49ers in London
It may not be everybody's idea of a classic film, but when Mary Poppins flew from the clouds in 1910 accompanied by an umbrella and a cheery smile that would make Santa Claus himself a little sick, the great country of England had for once seen happiness literally fall from the sky.
So what does the NFL send Britain from the heavens above?
A jumbo jet full of guttered players that are struggling to notch wins, and are plagued with more controversy and tribulation than an episode of Mr. Bean.
I guess the main goal for Roger Goodell and the league right now, is to appeal to a worldwide audience.
With the Super Bowl averaging ever increasing numbers internationally each year, the NFL now looks to stretch out to countries who have shown an interest in the league, even though England has been one of the only willing participants in recent memory.
For British faithfuls (and trust me, there are many of them), they sure do love their football. Last season in 2009 the league sent the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots across the pond, and managed to delight many folks at Wembley Stadium.
And what do those impressed and loyal customers have in store for Week 8?
Those fans that follow either the 49ers or the Broncos, they may be in for an affair that is sheer torture.
Past weeks have indicated many issues for these two teams, and with Alex Smith struggling to avoid Candlestick Park boos, it's anyone's guess as to how Mike Singletary's question mark offense will perform overseas.
On the topic of Alex Smith, in an interview outside of the 49ers London hotel room yesterday, Smith filled the media in on his recent injury.
Although the starting quarterback only left a brief statement, Smith told reporters that his injured left shoulder "could be better" following a hard knock sustained against the Carolina Panthers last week.
This recent injury to Alex Smith only caps off a horrid year for San Francisco. In a recent episode of NFL Films Presents, head coach Mike Singletary detailed the "importance" of having a mountain-sized hill installed on the team's practice field, even though any half-brained nitwit can now realize that this hill isn't the only thing the 49ers must overcome this season.
Personally, Alex Smith's latest injury isn't all that worrisome for San Francisco. It has now been revealed that Smith will miss up to three weeks with a sore shoulder, however this could be taken with a grain of sand just by looking at Smith's latest stats (129 yards and 1 touchdown on the weekend).
Denver on the other hand? Let's just say they are a mile high from where they'd like to be in 2010.
To start at the top (and believe me I'm keeping this list short), the Denver Broncos have a range of outstanding problems.
One, the Broncos defense is below par this year, and perhaps even below bogey. Some may say that stats don't matter, but the Broncos 32nd rank rush defense in the league has allowed opposing teams to run through Denver's linebacker corps with ease, and leave linebackers Robert Ayres, Mario Haggan, D.J. Williams and Jason Hunter dumbfounded at the same time.
Two, Denver's offense has struggled. As much as I have been thoroughly impressed with the play of Brandon Lloyd and Kyle Orton in the past month, Denver is seriously lacking a run game right now, and take it from a guy who chose Laurence Maroney in Fantasy Football, the Broncos are as flat as a tack on the ground game.
Third and finally, Denver's injury depletion has been enormous. Elvis Dumervil was the first to go, followed by Champ Bailey's "on again off again" injury, and not to mention Knowshon Moreno.
Adding the icing on the cake was cornerback Perrish Cox's injury that caused temporary amnesia on the weekend, although some Bronco fans may wish they had come down with a spell of that themselves.
Yes, the NFL has thrown a real treat for London.
Currently one of London's northern cities, Liverpool, have been doing poorly in the countries English Premier League, much to the disappointment of many fans.
So what better way to raise their spirits than to throw a "battle of the weak" party in the NFL, and sell the brand for what it is?
49ers head coach Mike Singeltary emphasized the importance for this fixture, discussing that a trip away from the US could more or less help to stray away from San Francisco's criticism, that is plaguing the tabloids lately.
While Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels isn't expressing the same vibe, the controversial and sure to be fired head coach may secretly be loving a mild holiday away from Denver, as it gives McDaniels a week away from the limelight.
Roger Goodell's purpose was to sell the NFL overseas, and in past years he's managed to live up to his goal.
British fans may still prefer their football (or soccer to us) rather than the NFL, but maybe a showcase of two weak teams could encourage some fans, to explore the leagues bigger and brighter talent.
If all else fails, at least the players get a holiday right?
But it's arguable as to whether or not these two teams deserve it though.
The Broncos are fresh off a 40-plus point thrashing at the hands of the Oakland Raiders last week, while San Francisco have begun to grow weary at the sight of another close and meaningful loss against Carolina.
Mary Poppins is famous for her catchy tunes and spur of the moment sayings. Perhaps the site of an open umbrella in broad daylight is the last thing these two teams need though, heading toward the midway point in the season.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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