Archive for the ‘Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Category

The reason I wont be at Wembley on Sunday

I haven’t missed an NFL game at Wembley Stadium since 1987 (Los Angeles Rams v Denver Broncos) until tomorrow.

Whilst it has been painful to think that a real NFL regular season game is taking place about two hours drive from my doorstep tomorrow I do have a legitimate reason for not attending the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Chicago Bears in England – the birth of our first child Gabriella Ruby Vos.

Gabriella is just over two weeks old, but in terms of due date she arrived almost two weeks early so there was never a chance I was even going to have bought a ticked to the 2011 NFL International game.

For the first time since 2007 I will be watching the two NFL teams that have made it over to this side of the pond from the warmth of our living room, wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

I love the game atmosphere and the fact I am witnessing a game that actually counts, but I never loved the weather in late October – its usually raining at Wembley and it is normally quite nippy.

Watching the game at home will be a new experience – and a much cosier one.

I am gutted that I wont get to see Devin Hester electrify Wembley with his dazzling kickoff and punt return skills, gutted I wont see Julius Peppers attacking Buccs offensive tackles with his super-human wingspan, and gutted I wont see the Bald warrior Brian Urlacher (makes me sound like a Bears fan!).

I hope Tampa come back with winning on their mind as they were pretty awful when they last came over and got embarrassed by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

My predictions for the game are as follows:

  • Score – Buccs 20-17 Bears
  • Game MVP Earnest Graham the unsung Buccs RB who is the perfect workhorse do-it-all backup and a man who deserves more love.
To all the fans from England, Great Britain, Europe and those coming from the Stars and Stripes I would like to wish you all a great day out in London, which I hope stays dry and sunny.
Raise a glass of ripoff Wembley beer from me and have a great day.
Ill be back in 2012 for the 6th annual NFL International Game – maybe NFL people will even bring the game forward so its a bit warmer – Roger why can’t you do September in London sir?

Ill miss putting on my Art Monk shirt and seeing the Wembley arches.

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The Bucs are coming back to Wembley.......maybe.

It was announced earlier this week that the NFL will be coming back to London for a fifth consecutive regular season showcase*.

* = Pending current lockout resolution by August 1. If unresolved game will be played in Tampa Bay, Florida.

This is fantastic news in the midst of quite a depressing offseason. I for one did not think the NFL would commit to a game in London this season, so finding out the Chicago Bears will be coming over from the Windy City to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is a real Easter treat.

It was the ’85 Bears, led by Jim McMahon, Walter Payton, Mike Singletary and Richard Dent that got me hooked on the greatest sport on earth.

In 1986 the Bears came and played the Cowboys in a pre-season game in London, unfortunately I was only 11 at the time and although I have a game program from the contest (given to me by my dad’s lovers son in law) I did not get to go to game itself.

The Bears are an institution here in England. They will always hold fond memories for those fans who were introduced to the NFL in the early and mid 1980s.

This game in October will be the first time that the NFL has scheduled two teams from the same conference, the NFC, and will also be the first time that a team has come back for a second bite of the NFL in London experience.

My register of interest form was filled in as soon as it came into my inbox.

Now I just have to wait and see if a bunch of billionaires and millionaires can get round the table and sort themselves out. Hey i’ll come out and be a peace ambassador for a small fee and some sideline passes for the game in October.

Roger – come on fella, you wouldn’t want to make 80,000 NFL fans in England mad would you?

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The Iggles WRs Jackson and Macklin will be geared up for a huge Week 9 output

It has been a while I admit but it’s time to get back to the crystal ball gazing lark and give some NFL predictions.

Plenty of juicy matchups for week 9 in the 2009 NFL season, but my personal favourite is the Philadelphia Eagles against the Dallas Cowboys.
 
Everyone loves a bruising NFL East battle, and this one looks set to be a humdinger.
 
My prediction for the top performers in Week 9 goes to the Iggles WR pairing of Jeremy Macklin and DeSean Jackson.
 
I am going for Macklin and Jackson combining for 200 yards and two touchdowns in a monster win.
 
Not so long ago the Eagles had strength pretty much everywhere apart from WR. They went and got TO and got all the way to the Superbowl.
 
Now they have invested big in two remarkably similar types of players on the outside, but ones that could dominate for many years and become the new Fitzgerald and Boldin or Stallworth or Swann (providing they pick up some Vince Lombardi trophies in the next five years).
 
After three weeks of predicting I was 28-20. Now for the business of the day…. 
 
Redskins @ Falcons – The Redskins officially suck. Yes this is a technical sporting term for teams who cannot reach 3 touchdowns against the Chiefs or Lions. Matt Ryan looks to have a big day, along with Michael Turner the Falcons low gravity work mule. I will be shocked if the Skins get 2 touchdowns, even though I expect Fred Davis the TE to have over 70 yards receiving – Falcons to win 37-13
 
Cardinals @ Bears – “They are who we thought they were.” The immortal words from former Cardinals head coach Dennis Green after a meltdown against Da Bearz a few years ago. This time I see the Cardinals stepping up and Kurt Warner atoning for his debacle last week. Look for both teams failing to establish the run, and the game becoming a shootout. Arizona to hang on with some Fitzgerald heroics – Cardinals to win 27-24
 
Ravens @ Bengals – Gotta love this game. The Ravens want revenge from the upset earlier in the season. Ray Lewis will be all over Bengals RB Cedric Benson so look for Carson Palmer to find seams in the passing game, as long has he throws to the polar opposite end of the field as Ravens All-Pro safety Ed Reed. I’ll take a bit of magic from Cincy WR Chris Henry – Bengals with the upset 24-20
 
Texans @ Colts – This is the opportunity for Houston to show that they are finally ‘for real’. If they can win this game they become contenders for the AFC. Peyton Manning will be aware that the Texans will be playing like men possessed and will try to exploit the aggression of the Houston D. Monster game from Reggie Wayne AGAIN I suspect – Colts win a close one 33-27
 
Chiefs @ Jaguars – This is not exactly the game you would show if you wanted to introduce someone to the joys of the NFL. KC are pretty awful, but they may get a spark from recently promoted running back Jamal Charles. The Jags rb Maurice Jones-Drew simply HAS to get more carries. The man had under 10 carries last week but he got two rushing tds of over 75 yards a pop. Wat has he got to do to get the rock? – Jaguars to win 29-17
 
Dolphins @ Patriots – Wow – this is gonna be a barn burner. Wildcat v The Emperor. Sounds like a trendy DJ battle. I love me some AFC East action and whilst I would love to see the Dolphins get the second win against the Pats I just can’t see past Chad Henne, and his lack of explosiveness. Ricky Williams can have another big game if he comes in to keep Ronnie Brown fresh. It wont matter as the Pats will have too much class – Pats to win 31-24
 
Packers @ Buccaneers – Ouch, ouch, ouch, the words that will come out of the mouth of Josh Freeman after he picks himself up off the floor for the tenth time. This is gonna be a car wreck. Pack to win 34-9
 
Panthers @ Saints – Saints will be tested more than a lot of people think. Don’t be fooled by Jake Delhomme’s errant arm, he has a supporting cast that can run all over teams. Ok I’ll do it here and now, sound the alarm this is my UPSET SPECIAL. Panthers can run and keep Drew Brees off the field – Panthers to eek by 23-21  
 
Lions @ Seahawks – Two words – Matt Hasslebeck – ‘Hawks win 27-10
 
Chargers @ Giants – The Giants grasp on the 2009 playoffs is currently slippier than the plastic sheets covering the carpet in a pornographic cinema in Soho. The Chargers, like a 4 x 400m relay team, seem to put their worst performances first, and then just get better. If the Giants fail to get the W here their season could fall apart. I would love to predict a Giants loss, but I just can’t – Giants to win 19-17
 
Titans @ 49ers – One team has one win, and one team has faded after a false dawn. This again is not gonna be a beauty contest in terms of class, but I do like to see Frank Gore and Chris Johnson battling to see who is the better back on the day. Alex Smith – yuk! – Titans to keep rolling 23-20
 
Cowboys @ Eagles – My game of the week by a country mile. Romo v McNabb is worthy of being an NFC Championship matchup. I think the Vikings will have something to say about that, but it is possible. As you can see above I think the Eagles WRs are a classy young bunch that can do damage against the unfamiliar Cowboys secondary. Ill expect some turnovers and some hard hits, but the edge goes to the home team and the Eagles fans – Eagles to win 33-24
 
Steelers @ Broncos – Big fat balls – we don’t get to see MNF here in England so why should I waste my time predicting this game. I wont even see tv highlights until the Friday. This will be a great game. Josh McDaniels started the season looking like the men in white coats needed to cart him away. Now he is wearing a white coat, but it is as a scientist, who has found a formula for success. Steelers will bring the Broncos back to earth though – Steelers to win 31-21
 
Any thoughts ??
 

It was a blowout when the New England Patriots beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium in London just over a week ago.

The Buccs looked ugly, and I tend to agree with the guy from the Florida Tuskers UFL team (the 4 team league set up this Autumn) that said they could beat Tampa Bay.

I imagine one guy who was sure glad to be part of the on-field mobbing was Patriots running back Laurence Maroney. Maroney spent 2008 injured and was not expected to be a huge ‘playa’ in 2009.

Maroney has defied his critics and is performing well in a crowded New England backfield. With Sammy Morris injured Maroney made sure he looked good in London, and his late touchdown was a just reward for his efforts.

I was lucky enough to capture his score into the Patriots painted end zone. He took two attempts to score but he looked very happy. I managed to catch his celebratory hip hit jump after the score as well as his walk back to the sideline.

Enjoy.

It wasn’t a close game, and in fact it never was going to be, as the New England Patriots bossed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from start to finish at Wembley Stadium in London, England.

Still, six total touchdowns, no rain, and a masterclass from Tom Brady was well worth the entrance fee, and the slick Patriots offense had all of the fans from across Europe hypnotised.

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It was fun to see #24 Cadillac Williams and #34 Earnest Graham warm up in front of me

I was sad not to see Randy Moss score a touchdown, but I did enjoy seeing the likes of Buccaneers RB Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams warming up in front of me, as well as witnessing Junior (oh the irony) Seau suit up and go after Josh Freeman as late as the fourth quarter.

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He may be in his 40s but #55 Junior Seau still knows how to play football

The big questions now being asked are Can London host MORE than just one NFL regular season game? and in the future could there be enough interest for England to have its very own NFL franchise?

Judging by the knowledgable fans (yes here in England we do know the difference between the Wishbone and the Wildcat, and we can spot someone who has just been found guilty of illegal motion) I think that it is possible to sustain an NFL franchise here.

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I can't wait to come back to London to see NFL football in 2010

84,000 fans made their pilgrimage to Wembley from across England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and many countries across Europe. I saw people from Germany, Italy and Finland just as a start.

If Roger Goodell needs any more proof that there are dedicated and loyal NFL fans in England then I do not know what to suggest.

Thankyou Roger and thankyou to all of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organisation, including the fans in Florida. You sacrificed a home game to enable passionate NFL fans from Europe to witness real NFL football in the flesh, and we are forever grateful.

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We all went home happy after seeing Tom Brady strut his stuff at Wembley

Roll on 2010 – with maybe two NFL games in London. Can I put a bid in for the Redskins to come over please!

Brandon Merriweather’s two interceptions in the first half of the first quarter (including one he ran back for the first score of the game) were enough alone to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the New England Patriots decided to give the London NFL fans a show none the less.

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Sam Aiken #88 is congratulated by Patriots team mates after his first ever NFL touchdown thrown by Tom Brady

The 2009 Wembley NFL crowd saw Tom Brady throw three touchdowns, one to WR Wes Welker, one to WR Sam Aiken (his first ever NFL touchdown) and one to tight end Ben Watson.

The Buccaneers managed just one score themselves, in hurry-up time at the end of the first half, Josh Johnson passing to WR Antonio Bryant.

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Time-Out New England Patriots - Future Hall of Fame WR Randy Moss #81 takes a breather

The final scoring play of the game was a Laurence Maroney rushing touchdown that I managed to capture on film.

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Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicks one of his five extra points in London

New England Patriots 35 – 7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the final score. Here is the NFL gamebook from London.

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Watching NFL football live at Wembley Stadium in London on a sunday evening is pure heaven

After a year, and a memorable encounter between the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints in the memory bank, it was time to settle down and witness the three time Superbowl champion New England Patriots play the one time Superbowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Not in my living room, not at Ray Jay or Foxboro, but here in England, yes here in England. The third consecutive year the NFL have graced Wembley Stadium and London with a regular season american football game.

It is downright weird to to think that we drove on the M42 and M40 motorway, did not catch a plane, or get on a cruise ship, travelled about 10 tube stops and there we were at a regular season NFL game.

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Brandom Merriweather returned this interception for the first touchdown - I just about captured the play

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Huddle up Tom Brady is gonna call a play!

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Tom Brady grabs a gulp of Gatorzade before taking the field at Wembley

 

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The Buccaneers offense discusses a play call during a tv timeout - note the magic sky camera !