Following yet another successful year of NFL games to be played in front of packed crowds in London, the topic of the game’s popularity in the UK and the possibility of a dedicated home team is never far from fans’ thoughts, or those of players.
Jason Kelce, a star center for Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles, told Stadia Magazine following a 18-24 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium that a London-based NFL team would be a great addition for the game.
“I definitely think it has a place in the NFL. I don’t know the economics of it but the stadium is packed every year so there certainly seems to be a contingency in London that appreciates American football. I would love it to have a team here, perhaps even a league. We have teams in LA, which is a seven-hour flight [from Philadelphia], which is comparable to London. The more we can spread this game the more fun it’s going to be,” said Kelce, the two-time Pro Bowl center for the Eagles.
It was Kelce’s first time playing in London and he remarked that despite playing abroad, fan presence made it feel like it was an actual home game for the team. Kelce also reflected on the limitations of the NFL being solely a USA-based sport: “It’s special here. As an NFL player, you’re never really exposed to the international stage, that’s one of the downsides of the game. We’re envious of all the soccer guys who get to go to other countries. I’m just thankful that between London, Mexico City and some other places American Football is being appreciated by more people.”