New Teams, New Stadium for London NFL fans in 2018
Seahawks, Raiders, Eagles, Jaguars, Titans and Chargers inked to feature at Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur's new NFL-style stadium
By Gary Jordan
Tickets and information
The announcement of the London games is always a highlight of the NFL UK fanbase year. It's been made somewhat a guessing game as to when exactly they will be unveiled as it's ranged from as early as Thanksgiving, to early January. This of course adds extra weight to speculation, and excitement, as to which teams will visit.
When news broke on social media that a special broadcast would be made to reveal this year's games, the rumour mill started again, with ‘reliable' sources coming out of the woodwork to proclaim that their chosen team was heading over. Anticipation is what being a fan is all about and the NFL delivers.
In 2018 there will be three NFL games in London, with three teams coming to the UK for the first time, each slated as a road team. So, who are the first-timers?
First, we have the Seattle Seahawks. A team that has had a decent following in the past, but with recent successes, and in this new generational boom, their support has become one of the best on these shores. They will face the Oakland Raiders, a team that is a Silver and Black global brand. A very good matchup on paper and one that will christen the new Tottenham Hotspurs NFL-style stadium, which everyone is looking forward to.
Next, the current season's team with the best record Philadelphia Eagles will set foot inside Wembley Stadium and face a team that needs little introduction over here, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Two 2017 division winners squaring off in a big game of high octane offense, against big powered defense.
Lastly, the Tennessee Titans make their London debut against a team that has been over once before, this time in a new guise, the Los Angeles Chargers. Two sleeper teams that this year have woken up, the Titans in the playoffs, the Chargers missing out narrowly. Both will be hoping by the time they set foot on Wembley's turf they will be heading they will be heading for another run at the postseason.
This roster leaves just three teams who have never played in London: the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. You can be sure that they will be in talks as to when they will.
Three games on the way this year, as opposed to the four last year, and indeed the five that was being suggested, although the full handful was never officially mentioned. It is true that the NFL had signed a deal to play at least two games at the new Spurs stadium per year for ten years. This of course falls short by one this year. "This enables us to achieve important learning relating to the fans' preferences, ticketing, team logistics and local transportation and infrastructure in order to create the best possible experience and environment. We will play an additional game at Tottenham in a future season, over and above the planned two year, to make up for this," Said Mark Waller NFL Executive Vice-President of Events and International.
Tottenham's new stadium is still under major construction and a contingency plan is in place should the plans fall behind, something that club chairman Daniel Levy is confident that it won't be used: "This is a milestone year for the club as we look ahead to the opening of our new stadium and all that it will bring to the area of Tottenham."
The general feeling is that the NFL have chosen quality over quantity, of course both Wembley and Twickenham had just one game before their options were expanded, but after many blowout games its clear they've listened to fans reaction and gone for some stellar matchups. Its also the first time that the games will be played in three consecutive weeks, testing the waters further for all involved.
Week 6: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders — 14 October — Tottenham
*Week 7/8 — Philadelphia Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars — 21/28 October — Wembley
*Week 7/8 — Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans — 21/28 October — Wembley
* Dates to be finalized soon