TIME: US | UK
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Features & Blogs
"Life in the UK"
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale
I'm sure you know the situation: a relative from abroad drops in for a short stop-over before jetting off somewhere else. You look forward to them visiting, to all the good times you're going to have. Then, when they turn up, jet-lag and the strain of traveling leaves them either asleep or zombified. You wave them off at the airport, tell them it was great to see them, and they must pop back sometime - maybe when they've got more time.
Let's not pretend that the Dolphins-Giants game wasn't an anticlimax. In fact, let's call it what it was: bad conditions and terrible football. Can we stop with the 'London Superbowl' talk now? I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but the rain will be remembered longer than any play from the game. Must have looked lovely in High Def. It seemed like the British weather was saving it all up especially for this game. It wasn't raining before, and it had stopped straight after, but from 5pm to 8pm the weather put the 'mean' in Greenwich Meantime.
Most of the offense in the game came from NY's Brandon Jacobs, gaining a career-high 131 yards on 23 carries, while Miami's Jesse Chatman managed 79 yards from 16 rushes in the absence of the broken Ronnie Brown. Their efforts were impressive, but running hard in muddy conditions isn't what the predominantly British fans wanted to see (we have that already - it's called 'rugby').
What they wanted to see was high, looping passes falling perfectly into the breadbasket of big dangerous receivers. Okay, so that probably would mean Plaxico Burress destroying the Dolphins secondary, but I'm not sure that wouldn't have been less cruel than being within an onside kick of an overtime bid, only to see the squib skitter swiftly into the Giants sideline.
As the Giants took their final kneel-downs, the crowd booed, and the American press falsely suggested that the Brits didn't understand. Yes, they did. They just felt that something needed booing, and they didn't want to seem ungracious for the visit.
So was it worth it?
Yes - for historical reasons. We can say we were there. We were there the day the NFL gave London a game that counted in the win-loss column. We were there the day Ted Ginn Jr scored a touchdown. And we might yet be able to say we witnessed the team that went 0-16.
I'd like to be able to say that I was there the day the NFL started something big in London. Despite all the PR, hype and flannel, I'm not convinced that happened.
But it was 80,000 paying fans out of around 800,000 applicants. The NFL will be back for a second look ...sometime. Like, when the rain stops.
Other London Notes:
- I feel sorry for Cleo Lemon. 17 of 30 for 149 yards and a touchdown doesn't sound much, but he outplayed Eli Manning by a mile, ran for first downs, and never gave up. But that's probably the end for him as a regular starter. With the Dolphins half-way to the imperfect season, they'll spend the next fortnight preparing John Beck for the intermural against Buffalo.
- A special mention to South West trains. I suspect the lack of enthusiasm in my game review has as much to do with the ordeal of getting from the Wiltshire border to Wembley Stadium by public transport (four and a quarter hours) as it has to do with Eli Mannings' floating passes.
- A few days before the event, ticket purchasers received emailed encouragement to wear their NFL merchandise to show NFL officials our dedication. Our dedication, it would seem, is not entirely up to date. Seated near me: a Kordell Stewart Steelers jersey; a red Patriots sweater that was less a 'throw-back' than 'thrown-to-the-back-of-the-wardrobe-and-recently-rediscovered'; and a Culpepper Dolphins jersey (which admittedly might have been chosen with more than a hint of irony). If, like me, many of the fans arrived at Wembley expecting the full and varied range of NFL merchandise to suit all teams, and an opportunity to update their wardrobe, they were disappointed. A Dolphins cap for the equivalent of a mere $40? What a bargain! Our £150 merchandise budget remains unspent.
- Seated relatively near the field, Mrs Football used her commemorative Dolphins towel to wipe the swirling rain from her glasses during the third quarter. Then fell asleep briefly during the fourth.
- British super-streaker Mark Roberts made his almost obligatory appearance before the start of the second half. Roberts, who gate-crashed Superbowl XXXVIII in 2004, hadn't even removed his fake official's outfit before thousands of the crowd were cheering his appearance, so renowned is he now becoming. Sadly for security, they were slower to identify the thong-wearing Roberts, whose mid-field dance met with such a belated response that I had to convince Mrs Football that honestly, this wasn't a planned part of the half-time entertainment. At least I think it wasn't.