In the 1st of our series of interviews with UK NFL fans, we spoke to the host of talkSPORT 2’s all new All American Sports Show, and massive NFL fan, Nat Coombs.
How did you fall in love with Football?
As a kid, watching this remarkable technicolour sport on Channel 4, not understanding any of it, but knowing I completely loved it.
Who’s your team, and why?
The Miami Dolphins… because I’m a sucker for pain, and because as a kid they were all about the offense (Marino, Marx brothers) and always gallant, cavalier losers which appealed.
What is your favourite footballing memory?
So many – covering a game in New Orleans at the Superdome was incredible. The SuperBowls I’ve been involved with have been great for various reasons – and the Wembley games I’ve anchored have been a privilege. Looking out over the stadium and digesting that we’ve got regular season games, looking back and seeing say, Jim Kelly sitting 6 feet from me – pretty special.
Favourite of all time?
The 51-45 Jets/Fins game from the 80’s (O’Brien vs Marino) stands out. And I always remember Chad Johnson scoring, putting on the HOF jacket in celebration, as that was my first ever game.
Who is your favourite player of all time?
It has to be Marino, but I loved Jim Kelly too back in the day. Sucker for the flashy receivers so Carter, Marx brothers, TO, Johnson.
Defensively – the Giants front 7 that included Strahan & Osi (have to give my man props!) was great to watch, and the tape I see of the Bears ’85 Defense is stunning. Love for hardcore players too that give everything – like Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin & JJ Watt.
And your favourite player currently playing?
I think right now it’s AJ Green – electrifying and can’t wait till the Bengals come over to Wembley.
With the elite Quarterbacks either retiring or in their 30’s, who is the next superstar?
12 months ago I would have said Andrew Luck, but there’s an element of doubt. Wilson is arguably there. Cam has to be in the mix – he’ll bounce back.
What do you think has to happen for us to get a London franchise, and would it have to be an Eastern divisional team?
I think it would have to be a relocation as I can’t see the owners voting on adding expansion franchises. It would be very interesting to see how it would play out – because the appeal of say 6 regular season games with different teams if possibly as strong for most fans and of course much easier to action long term.
If we get a team in the UK, can you see UK universities starting up their own football programmes?
Many already have of course, though I doubt we’ll get a college circuit like in the US – mainly because of geography and tradition. Though more and more players will get a shot in the NFL, like Efe Obada has.
And finally, if a young Nat were to be drafted in the 2016 draft, what position would you play?
I had a bit of pace when I was younger, so a low round WR gamble – but these days, let’s just say I was made to be a backup QB!
Each week Nat Coombs and guests round up all the action from across the pond, from the NBA to NFL and MLS to NHL, plus everything in between on the talkSPORT 2’s all new All American Sports Show.
You can find the podcasts on talkSPORT & iTunes: