Steelers vs. Vikings Across the Pond in 2013, Does England Care?

October 18, 2012

It looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings are going to go head to head in London next year along with the Jacksonville Jaguars going against the San Francisco 49er’s. It seems hard to believe that the English are all that intrigued with American football. In fact, I challenge anyone who knows a sports fan from across the pond to ask them what they think of the National Football League. For most of them it is a novelty and nothing more. They don’t know the names of the teams or the names of the players and they are certainly not all that familiar with the rules. The NFL coming to England is like the Harlem Globetrotters coming to your neck of the woods. It is entertaining, but you don’t need to be a huge basketball fan to enjoy the game. The English are too wrapped up in soccer or football if you want to be “pc” about it. It is basically the equivalent of Americans suddenly becoming huge fans of soccer. Of course, there are quite a few soccer fans in America, but the sport will never become main stream.

With all these things in mind, why does the NFL keep sending teams over the pond to duke it out in a place where no American has much of a chance to see the game, let alone go to the game? I can appreciate the NFL trying to expand the American culture to other parts of the world, but after several years of playing games over there, the popularity still seems to be the same. If they’re not interested then they’re not interested. I think it is time that we admit the obvious fact that it is one giant publicity stunt perpetuated by the owners so that they can make a few extra bucks. It doesn’t matter if the people of London are true Steelers or Vikings fans, just as long as they go home with a jersey. Frankly, if the people of London love their soccer so much, then let them have soccer. We as Americans don’t need to be shoving our sports down their throats. I’m sure that there are plenty of fans in America who would like to attend those games much more than the people of London.

On the other side of the coin, I’m sure there are plenty of people in London who are sick of the United States trying to force our sports on them and it just gives them another reason to hate us. The thing that makes a genuine American football fan is tradition. A tradition that involves backyard barbecues, tailgating, cold weather, beer, and hometown loyalty.  Fans are loyal to their teams because they grew up in the town that that team is from. Take Steelers fans for example. They are some of the most loyal fans in football and they are notorious for following their team around the country and I’m sure there will be a few that take the trip across the Atlantic next year. However, the reason these fans are so devoted is because they all have a long standing tradition in Pittsburgh. Families have passed down their allegiance to their kids and football is rooted in their blood, which I might add is black and yellow. So for the NFL to try and send these teams over to London to try and start the kind of tradition that America has is simply a fantasy.

London has these kinds of traditions with their soccer teams. Anyone who has seen Green Street Hooligans would understand that. Come on NFL owners; there’s no need to send your team over there. It is pointless for the fans and that’s what’s most important. You have billions of dollars and you don’t need to compromise the integrity of the game just to make a little money. What you are trying to do is build a fan base on the idea of a logo or a superstar player. The love of the game should come organically and you should find your team based on hometown or family tradition. It is arrogant to think that if Americans love football then everyone across the world should love football. I’m sorry but that’s just not the way it works.

About gonzo

I am a long time Colorado sports fan, I live in Fort Collins, CO. I recieved my Bachelor's in English from Ellis University in 2011. I have a strong passion for writing and maintain several blogs about beer, pets and sports, Check them out.,, and

12 Responses to Steelers vs. Vikings Across the Pond in 2013, Does England Care?

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  2. Cliff81 on October 19, 2012 at 12:25 am

    It’s not only England that cares…there are many people here in Europe who care about American Football. I heard of the game just yesterday and it’s already two of us who are travelling from North Germany to Londonmnext year. I’ve lived in MN for One year, so,I really want tomwatch this game.
    You probably don’t know, that there is a big Football community in Germany, as are in many other countries here in Europe. Take my home team, wie just celebrated the 25th anniversary!
    So you see, that we have many folks here, looking forward to have the NFL here!

    • gonzo on October 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

      I’m glad that there are fans in Europe. All I have talked to are English people and when asked if they cared about American football, they all give a resounding no.

      • Brees on October 19, 2012 at 3:27 pm

        I’m a school boy in England and since the Super Bowl about 10 of the kids including me have become interested in this great sport. We don’t know everything but we are learning we started a fantasy league which is also turning out very competitive. I’m glad to see the NFL to come to England and I’m sure there are more like me that can’t wait to see some even bigger teams like the packers or the giants or the saints as well as the partriots play here.

      • DLJ on February 28, 2013 at 10:05 pm

        When you asked these English people if they cared about American football, where were you? At the Bull and the Bear Hotel in Woodstock having afternoon tea? What do you think the response would be if you were to ask folks at the Steelers and Vikings game on September 29th, later this year? Chances are, they would all give you a resounding yes for an answer.

  3. Mark Irving on October 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’m British born and bred. I’ve been to see the Seahawks away in Tampa Bay, Chicago and San Francisco. Also went to see the Cowboys vs 49ers just because I could whilst on holiday. I’ve seen the Hawks at home six times including the NFC Championship game and there are many more fans in the UK who are more dedicated to the NFL than I am.
    I also enjoyed a day out at Wembley to see the Saints vs Chargers.
    I also played Free Safety for the University of Teesside 98-01, were you aware football is played at UK Universities?

  4. dan on October 20, 2012 at 5:04 am

    Does anyone know when in 2013 they would be playing in England?

  5. Trevor Martin on February 27, 2013 at 2:59 am

    As a born and breed Englishman I am so pumped that “My Steelers” are playing in London I bought a “season ticket” to both the Steelers vikings game and the jags 49ers just to see the Steelers play. I am 50 years old and have followed the NFL since listening to games on AFN Cologne in the late 70′s. You may not realise that NFL games were shown in the UK as a minority sport on channel 4 from the late 1980′s now with satellite TV we get two live games on thier channel plus via an interactive function NFL Redzone plus another channel shows the late game on Sunday Night/Monday Morning plus we get Monday Night football and all the playoffs. A radio station also provides coverage of the late Sunday Game. The Superbowl is shown live on 3 yes THREE channels BBC, Channel 4 & Sky (the satellite broadcaster).
    I am sure if the the NFL was not very popular over here they would not all cover it to that extent!
    Oh and the General Admission tickets are now sold out for both games subject to any team returns in August/September. The only tickets you can now get for Wembley games are hospitality packages!
    The NFL has seen the UK as a great place to give European Fans a view of a live game for years the pre season games were so popular that they gave us one game a year and that has been so popular this season we get 2!
    Wembley Stadium also has the biggest capacity of any venue currently in use by the NFL having 86,000 seats for NFL games. So youe question may be answered does England Care? the answer is YES we would not sell out 2 games if we did not in that venue!

  6. Simon Cutts on February 27, 2013 at 3:30 am

    I am britsh and I have followed the Steelers since the seventies. I have played and and coached the game since the 80′s. We have a thriving game over here and have done for decades. We could fil wembley many times over. Articles like this really need more research before they see the light of day.

  7. DLJ on February 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Respectfully, get a clue. You have no idea just how popular American Football is in Europe.
    The sport is wide spread is countries such as Germany, England, Hungary, Switzerland, and Italy to name a few. Spend a bit of time on FB and you’ll be pleasantly surprised as to the number of fan clubs that are out there, both professional and local. However this will require “due-diligence” on your part. Perhaps this could be your next project for a future topic. I did enjoy the publicity you gave the Pittsburgh Steelers. You are spot on with their following and fanbase. Second to none in the NFL, hence the game @ Wembley sold out. Rather quickly, I might add.

  8. Jonas on March 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    I can only agree with the other people posting comments.
    Last season I flew to New York from Germany to watch the Steelers play the Giants.
    2 Tickets to the London game plus two flights cost me about the same as just the ticket for snoopy stadium (also bought the season tickets on the day they came out).
    Football might not be the most popular sport in Germany by far, but it has a loyal followership especially now that it is easier to watch thanks to league pass.
    We may not be the biggest market, but the US market is probably saturated and for small market teams it may make sense to look for a fanbase in Europe.
    I don’t think the NFL will sell much merchandise here (peole tend to buy it on their trips to the US), but as European I love the idea of them playing in London.

  9. Mark on March 1, 2013 at 4:54 am

    I am a football fan from Germany and a big fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. So of course I’m travelling to London in September to see them (hopefully) beat the Vikings ;-) .
    For me and for many fans here in Europe the International Series is a great opportunity to see our favorite teams live BUT generally I don’t like this exporting of league games to other countries. I am a big “soccer” fan, too (FC Schalke 04, GER). And I would hate to see a Bundesliga game of us take place in the US, especially when it’s a home game. Not because I wouldn’t want the Americans to enjoy it, but I think this is rude to the fans living in the country or even in the city of the team who have always been great fans. It’s like taking away their “love” without asking them. At the end of the day this are national leagues and teams.

    So to cut a long story short, I really appreciate the International Series but I do not know whether this is fair to the fans in America and whether they likes it. I personally would not.

    Greetings from Germany,

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