I realise I’m late to the party with this, but I just wanted to make sure that I had the dates of the 2017 NFL London games on the blog, as well as it allowing me to bang-on about it for a bit.
For the first time in its history, the NFL London games series has been expanded to 4 games. This means that 8 NFL teams will be playing 4 NFL regular season games in the UK! This, to me, is awesome and something I never thought would happen and I’d be lucky enough to be a part of.
I’m liking the way the NFL are slowly but surely increasing the number of games we get as the fan base for the sport slowly increases over here. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. Maybe we will have our own franchise at some stage in my lifetime, but I’ll not hold my breath. I read a headline the other day stating that Roger Goodell and the league still weren’t comfortable with housing a franchise in the UK 🙁
The teams playing in London in 2017 are the:
- Los Angeles Rams
- Cleveland Browns
- New Orleans Saints
- Miami Dolphins
- Minnesota Vikings
- Baltimore Ravens
- Arizona Cardinals
- Jacksonville Jaguars
The games are being played in two blocks of consecutive weekends. By this, I mean that the first two games of the series will be played at Wembley Stadium during weeks 3 and 4 of the NFL regular season and the final two games will be played at Twickenham Stadium during weeks 7 and 8 of the season.
The games to be played at Wembley are:
- Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 24/09/2017 – NFL week 3
- New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins – 1/10/2017 – NFL week 4
The games to be played at Twickenham are:
- Minnesota Vikings @ Cleveland Browns – 22nd or 29th Oct – NFL week 7 or 8
- Arizona Cardinals @ L.A. Rams – 22nd or 29th Oct – NFL week 7 or 8
As you can see, the dates are still to be confirmed for the Twickenham games. They will be done so once the 2016 season is complete. *At the time of writing this, the Super Bowl is yet to be played.*
For three of the teams making the trip to London in 2017, this will be their first time committing to the venture. Those teams are the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens, with the Browns being the only one of the three giving up a home game. This is good for me as I’m a Browns fan so I get to see the stadium done out as a Browns stadium for the day and, hopefully, more events over the weekend aimed at the team and their fans.
The other teams in this year’s series have all been over before for at least one game. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing for the 5th consecutive season and will be playing at least one home game a season at Wembley up until 2020, so well done them for their amazing commitment to the whole idea of NFL games outside the U.S.
The Dolphins are the next most committed seeing as this will be their 4th trip to London and another home game taken away from their U.S. based fans. It is proof that the Dolphins have a good fan base over here in Europe, as premium ticket sales for that game have sold out first and the ticket selling agent had to restrict the numbers of tickets allowed per sale due to the demand. I suppose this could be said to be because they are playing the New Orleans Saints, but I’d put money on it being because of the following the ‘Phins have in Europe.
The Los Angeles Rams are coming over for the third time with the Saints and Vikings travelling to us for the second time.
It could be said that the Saints and Vikings are the most successful teams to travel as they’re both undefeated in London but perhaps that’s pushing it a bit too far. The Jaguars are 2-2, the Dolphins 1-2 whilst the Rams are the Rams and still looking for their first win.
Since the start of the London games in 2007, we have been lucky enough to see 23 of the league’s 32 teams up to this point. That will increase to 26 once the Browns, Cardinals and Ravens have been over. The only teams still to visit our shores for a regular season game are the Tennessee Titans, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks, but I’m sure it won’t be long before we see each of those teams play.
All in all, things are looking good for the games in London as more and more games get added to the calendar for us Europeans to enjoy. This increase is because of the “accelerated growth” the sport has seen in the UK, according to NFL.com. With Sunday evening/night game viewing numbers more than doubling in recent times and a massive 75% increase in Super Bowl viewers, surely we’re on our way to even more games in the coming years? When I was at the Leicester NFL Fan event in 2016, Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports mentioned that 8 regular season games could be on the cards if we weren’t to get our own franchise at some stage in the future. This is all speculation at this stage as I imagine that even the NFL themselves don’t know how things will trend and evolve in the coming years.
So, are you excited or just a bit “Meh!” about the 2017 NFL games to be played in London? Let me know below in the comments.
I personally can’t wait! I think these games are better than the 2016 matchups we had. Yes, I’m a bit biased as I’m a Cleveland Browns fan and so am absolutely ecstatic about being able to see them play as well as, hopefully, interact with some of them over the weekend if there are events being put on again like NFL House etc, but in general I just think these games are better than 2016’s.
Days until NFL London 2017