Posts Tagged ‘NFL London’

Big opportunity for Tom Brady's former backup on Sunday

Big opportunity for Tom Brady’s former backup on Sunday

Well, we are under 24 hours away from the NFL returning to play its 7th annual regular season game in London, England, and I am excited, despite both visiting teams being winless.

The biggest storylines are going to be the performance of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel, making his first start for an NFC franchise, and his first appearance for his third NFL team.

For the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers the headlines will be dominated by former Michigan State rookie running back Le’Veon Bell, who will be making his regular season debut. The Steelers are 0-3 for a number of reasons, but perhaps the biggest is the abysmal rbbc (running back by committee) approach by Pittsburgh.

There is a lot of expectation on Bell to become the next big Steelers tailback, but he has a long long way to go before he can even shine the shoes of former Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris, a Super Bowl winner who was in London today to take part in the festivities on Regents Street.

Common wisdom says the game tomorrow will be a high scoring affair, as both teams have superstar defenders (Jared Allen for the Vikes and Troy Polamalu for the Steel Men), but this is a team game, and the 11 starting defensive players for both teams are simply not collectively two of the better units in the game.

Some players I will be paying extra special attention to include;

  • Steelers tight-end Heath Miller. The Vikings have been slayed by big athletic tight-ends (Martellus Bennett and Jordan Cameron) and I don’t see too much changing tomorrow; and
  • Vikings rookie wide-receiver Coradelle Patterson. With a return touchdown already under his belt in just 180 NFL minutes this is one guy who could find an immediate spark with veteran quarterback Matt Cassel.

Prediction

I am going to be a Vikings fan for the day, not because Minnesota are the ‘home’ team, but because I will be meeting a friend from Minnesota for the first time. These are dark days for the Pittsburgh Steelers and it is not the time to expect a rookie running back to shoulder the load. Adrian Peterson is not human, he is built from the same stuff as the Terminator, and I see him gunning down the Steelers for four quarters.

Vikings 27-10 Steelers

2 rushing tds from AP and a Kyle Rudolph catch for Minny and a consolation Jerrico Cotchery td from Big Ben Roethlisberger. AP to be leading rusher, Antonio Brown to lead in receiving yards. Jared Allen to get one sack – driven by his lovely mullet.

See you all there on Sunday – and Scott the first round is on me !

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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.

Jerry Rice's 49ers Hall of Fame plaque in London

In 2009 the NFL Hall of Fame exhibits that were bought over to London were amazing.

This year the NFL downscaled to just the 49ers Hall of Fame exhibits.

Judging by the queue at the Wembley car park last Sunday to get to see the 49ers exhibits it was if Tutankhamun was being displayed.

The long winding queue to the player shirts, Super Bowl rings and Super Bowl trophies went via the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame inducted player plaques.

There were many players I know and loved watching, including Roger Craig, John Brodie, Joe Montana and Ronnie Lott.

I made the point of asking my wife to take a picture of me by Jerry Rice’s plaque as I grew up watching Rice torture 27 NFL teams and break every record imaginable.

It was at the precise second that I started reading Rice’s accomplishments when a cheer went up in the nearby stage area.

Using my zoom lens I focussed on the stage area, and to my absolute delight the main man was being introduced – yes here I was about 100 metres away from the legendary Jerry Rice.

Yes the man in the suit is NFL legend Jerry Rice

My paparazzi shot of NFL all time #1 WR Jerry Rice