With the Colts and Jaguars ready to square off at Wembley Stadium, we set out to see just how much an average Brit knows about American football.
The NFL has been trying to increase its popularity in Europe for years and regular season games based outside of the United States are now an annual event. Judging by ticket sales and attendance at various NFL-based events in London, the sport may be more popular across the pond than it has ever been.
This year the NFL will play three games in London beginning with Sunday’s Colts vs. Jaguars matchup that kicks off live from Wembley Stadium at 9:30 a.m. ET. The Colts are currently pegged as 2.5-point favourites on the Week 4 NFL odds board.
“Every now and then again, you’ll see a Colts shirt, Colts jersey,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said of the NFL’s popularity in Europe. “I think the awareness of the NFL is growing, especially in London. I think TV access, the Internet access, has grown exponentially over the past couple of years.”
After that, the Giants will face the Rams in Week 7 at Twickenham, home of an English rugby team, and Washington will square off with the Cincinnati Bengals again at Wembley Stadium in Week 8.
“The passion our UK fans have shown for the NFL is overwhelming,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are very appreciative of the strong and growing fan support, not only for the games, but for all of the related NFL events we host in the UK throughout the year. We look forward to welcoming new fans to their first NFL game in 2016 and welcoming back thousands of others that are helping our sport grow to new levels of popularity in London and beyond.”
But while that popularity may be growing in Europe, the league has a ways to go in educating the British on some of the finer points of the game.