The NFL just completed its last of three games played in London this season, foreshadowing more involvement for the city in the future of the sport.
On Sunday October 1st, the Jacksonville Jaguars kicked-off their return to London with a 23-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons in front of 85,000 fans at Wembley. The Jaguars were looking to run away with it, being up 17 points before the half; however, Falcons wide receiver Drake London delivered on the promise of his name, scoring on a 15 yard touchdown pass. Yet, two field goals in the fourth quarter extinguished any hopes that London’s touchdown may have sparked. With this win, the Jaguars advanced to 2-2 for the season.
The Jaguar’s time in London only got better the following weekend as they beat the Buffalo Bills 25-20. The Bills could not have gone into the game with more confidence, having beaten the Miami Dolphins 48-20 the week prior. However, MVP front runner, Josh Allen and the Bills struggled against the Jaguar’s stubborn defence. Trevor Lawrence however, can take most credit for sealing the victory, throwing for 315 yards and one touchdown. It has been ten years since the Jaguars first played in London; however they will look back on their 2023 matches decidedly more positively than their 2013 match up against the San Francisco 49ers, when they lost 42-10.
The third and final London game was held at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 15th between the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans. Derrick Henry alone could not lead the Titans to victory, despite his best efforts, and the Ravens won 24-16. The Ravens by no means had a perfect game, but their defence held QB Ryan Tennenhill to 76 passing yards before he left the game due to an ankle injury.
With all three London matches being a great success, watched by thousands of fans in the stadiums and in designated fan zones throughout the city, such as Battersea Power Station, there have been rumours this week about a possible Super Bowl being held this side of the pond. Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had described the prospect as “not impossible”.
Although the idea has not been ruled out, the possibility of a London Super Bowl has not gone down well with most American commentators. The game would hypothetically have to be played in the evening in London, starting at 20.30 in order to be viewed by fans on the West Coast at 12.30.
Currently, the likelihood of a London Super Bowl is about as probable as an FA Cup Final being held in Los Angeles. That is not to say this will not change in the future. The NFL is largely driven by where the money is and, if the international market expands at its current rate, then the Brits will be able to watch the Super Bowl without going to bed at 5 in the morning sooner than expected.