A few weeks ago I was contacted by a fellow from London named Adam. He told me a little about a trip he was going to take this year that involves attending 35 NFL games in one season. I found the idea fascinating. What NFL fan wouldn’t love to pull this off? Adam and I had a sit down (each on our own computers on opposite ends of the world) for a little Q&A on this football trip that would be a fantasy for any of us.
First a little background…
I am an NFL fan from London, England, and I have always been fascinated with Football, or what we call American Football. I have recently sold my apartment in Canary Wharf, London to pay for the trip. I will be leaving my beautiful, smart, lovely girlfriend, Steph, behind in the U.K and I will be leaving my wonderful fun job as a drama tutor to head to the states for 17 weeks to watch 35 live NFL games!..A world record!
I will be driving to each home stadium, with 2 games at Giants stadium, one for the Jets and for the Giants, I will also be coming back to the U.K to see the San Diego Chargers Vs the New Orleans Saints in my home town. The Buffalo Bills are also playing a home game in a foreign stadium this year, Toronto, where they host the Miami Dolphins, making 34 games. Due to the way the schedule has worked I can squeeze in a 35th game, and that will be at the Chicago Bears. So I will see them twice at Soldier Field. I figure I am lifelong Bears fan and so if I could squeeze an extra team in somewhere it would have to be the Bears, especially as they are taking on the Green Bay Packers!
The aim of the trip is to meet as many great NFL fans out there and really find out the great impact an NFL team has on its supporters and surrounding communities, I will be rooting for each home team. I will try to take in as much of the home team culture as I can.
Adam, I have to say looking over your site this is a fantasy for any NFL fan. You do realize this isn’t what we call Soccer right? (This is a joke )
Haha, yup. I like soccer to a certain extent but seeing 35 games in 17 weeks would be fun, but not as much fun as “American Football”
I had seen a few games in the States, mainly pre-season games when I had been visiting in the summers. But it was the Monday Night Football game in Arizona in 2006 against the Bears when I had the idea. The article about that game is on my site.
It was my first Monday Night Game and the atmosphere was electric. I saw how uplifted the city was because of the game, and of course it helped by the fact it was such an amazing comeback (which I stupidly left with 5 minutes to play!!). I learnt then never to leave a game early! After that game I orginally wanted to go to each Monday Night Football game , to feel the “power” of MNF games but I realised that it would not be fair to each team, as only about half of the teams get the MNF slot. I was told some teams may not get the MNF for some years, negating my theory that it could be done in two years; to visit each team for a MNF game, but alas, it does not work like that apparently. About four weeks later I started to look at past season schedules and began mapping it out. Each year was tight and it was only because of the Thursday, Saturday and of course the Monday games that would allow the route to take in all 32 teams.
I realised it could be done, and made plans to do the trip some time before the schedule came out, all in all it has been about 2 years in the making. I was dreading the schedule in April 2008 hoping, nay praying to get good schedule, otherwise all my efforts would be in vain. In truth I got a schedule I am really happy with. I wanted to only have to cross the country once or twice, but I’m doing it about 8 times, and clocking up about 35,000 miles, driving! (not including the London game of course!).
The “Hey I can do this…” moment, came on the flight back from NYC in April recently where I took my family and my girlfriend on holiday. It had taken me the whole flight to plan out my route. The moment was like a 10 year old kid that had just won the Superbowl with his favorite team on a Madden video game. I had a rush of exitement, woke up my my girlfriend, and whispered loudly:
“I can do it, I can do it”. ( But without the Mexican accent from an Adam Sandler film). Needless to say she rolled over, yawned and I ordered a celebratory drink!
I was five when the Bears won the Superbow, and it was shown on T.V at the time. I did not really like Soccer that much at the time. This was the late 80s and hooliganism was rife. I remember my Dad taking me to a local soccer game; Leyton Orient, who play in the third division. Something like a minor league I supposse, and I remember there being a riot. I always enjoyed the spectacle of the American Football, and as a five year old I did not understand the game, but it had a “wow” factor, maybe it was the cheerleaders or all the gear? I probably would have supported whoever won the Super Bowl that year, but I’m really happy it was the Bears, as they have a lot of history, and soul. I also love the the windy-city. I have gone all over the world and met some great Bears fans. I supposse something in my sub-conscious drew me to them…or maybe it was just their colors! haha
I have yet to book flights, as I am working, nay hoping to get a sponsor for that, or some kind of deal with an airline or travel operator. Though I intend to land in NYC around the 1st or 2nd of September, and make my way to Giants Stadium on the 4th September for the 1st game of the season.
A lot of driving!! I want to tailgate t each game, and meet great fans in the areas where there is not a football team close by. If I fly to each game I miss out on all those fans. I won’t be driving to the London game of course, or the Toronto game. I will be flying to Seattle in week 2 then hiring a car, because I am running the Walter Payton Cancer Trust run the day before the Seattle home game. The idea is to go to one home game for each franchise, the two games outside of the States takes me to 34 games. ( I was unaware the NFL was planning this game in Toronto, and I had 5000 business cards with “33 games in 1 season”) oh well. I will be making it to 35 games, because the schedule allows me to see the Bears twice at home, and if I am going to see any team twice at home it has to be the Bears.
Every game has the potential to be amazing and every fan base will highlight a different culture for me. I have said to myself I will be rooting for each home team, so I can fully understand each franchise home culture. That’s going to be tough in my second game when the Bears are away at the Colts. that’s going to be a real ambivalence for me!
With the schedule I was able to get in some great divisional rivalries. I am not able, because I am driving and scheduling to go to every famous rivalry possible. There are a handful I would love to go, but I am more than happy with what I have. I have a reason to like every team, and I’m sure for those teams I know little about, or have little affinity with, I will soon befriend them and their fans. However below are a few games that stand out for all different reasons:
Skins at Giants: Opening game, and those teams were big in the 80s. I rooted for the Skins in 1992 when they played in London, England.
Bears Vs Colts: Not just because of the Bears, but because of the Colts new Stadium and it will be a repeater of the Super Bowl before last. I’m supposed to root for the Colts but I won’t be too sad if the Bears win
Vikings Vs Packers: Despite both teams being in the NFC North division, I actually like both teams. It is a shame I will never get to see Brett Favre play but at least I will be there when he gets his jersey retired.
And that’s just week one!
Ravens Vs Steelers and Steelers Vs Ravens. I like this rivalry a lot and I will get to see both games in this rivalry which is pretty cool!
Steelers Vs Bengals: My next door neighbour growing up, and good freind, Rob began to like football a few years after me and hence he started to like the Bengal. Going to a game with him will be great and take us back to our youth when he played as the Bengals on Madden! Plus it is a great rivalry
Chargers Vs Saints: Who doesn’t like either of these teams? The Saints fans are great and the first game I went to was when the Saints played the Raiders in London in 1990 and my Dad took me.
I’ll be taking my Dad to this game in London after taking him last year to the London game:
49ers Vs Cardinals: The stadium where I had the idea,and it was such a great game, when the Bears came back from 20-0 down, can lightning strike twice?
Pats Vs Dolphins: My good friend Justin is a lifelong Dolphins fan, and seeing any game down there with him will be a great day out, I’m not sure they can hold out for a win, but you never know.
PackersVs Saints: Another reason why I am into football is because of the fans, and the true power that football can have on its community is amazing. I think this will be more prevelant in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and I look forward to spending extra time in New Orleans to meet the fans and the teams neighbouring communities.
Dolphins Vs Bills: A great rivalry. I also used to live in Toronto as I studied there for a year, it is like my second home, so seeing a game there will be amazing. Plus I know plenty of Bills and Dolphins fans in T.O so it should great seeing them at the game!
Saints Vs Bears: My first ever game at Soldier field, need I say more?
Colts Vs Jags: The rivalry is great and I will see this game with a good friend who is Jags fan. It will be interesting to see how the expansion teams’ fans compare to the older teams.
Packers Vs Bears: If we have a poor season, this is the SUPERBOWL!
Damn good plan, you know any Packers season ticket holders, ready to give up their seat on the first game of the season? haha
Why thank you very much. I appreciate that! I love the sport and the fans. A lot of people talk about the players, training hard and playing hard, but it would be nothing without the fans, and I hope that some people will realise just how hard and what a comittment it is being a fan.
I would love to do more regular updates, that sounds great. Which game shall I see you at?
Did you say “free Dinner”? I’m there!!! I hope to see you at a game!!
All the best and thank you for the support!
So there it is. Go check out Adam’s site. If you have any season tickets laying around, contribute to the cause.