The New York Jets flew into London and dominated a lacklustre Miami Dolphins at Wembley this weekend.
The Dolphins looked like they were suffering from jetlag as they failed to find any rhythm in the opening half of this game, whilst the Jets clearly meant business as they looked to put pressure in their group during New England’s bye week.
Their preparations were so meticulous they even brought over 350 rolls of their own toilet paper to ensure their players had a comfortable trip.
This 27-14 win made it 9-3 in favour of the away teams in the International Series. The London crowd was awash, mainly, with aqua and green as thousands of fans came out to support these bitter rivals.
Talk leading up to the game was about the possibility of a London franchise. The Chancellor, George Osborne, continued to pledge his government’s commitment to bring a team over here. On Friday he told his aspirations of having a franchise within the next four to five years.
So what do the fans think? Some don’t want it. A few would rather keep the International Series. The concern is that so many fans have such strong affiliation with their own team, they would find it difficult to support another.
The Jets vs Dolphins brought the third-highest International Series attendance. 83,986 were at this game. Tens of thousands of them decked in the colours of the teams they’ve long supported. There’s a clear case to keep this festival of football going.
But the UK market is growing. The crowds have increased on each of the last four games over here. British media coverage is expanding. People want more. There’s no way we will see eight games in London unless a franchise is set up here. If the current momentum continues, a British team will attract sell-out crowds.
People want football and they will endorse it. Over time a solid fan base for this franchise will be built. The foundations are being put in place.
In the meantime we have two more games to look forward to in 2015 and they come in quick succession in weeks 7&8. During that time we will learn who will be heading over next year with talk of even more games in 2016.