Let’s hope that the powers that be in the National Football League learned their lesson on Sunday, and that their silly obsession with playing regular season football outside North America is now over with. While it likely won’t be, there is no denying that if you watched any of Sunday’s snoozer between the Giants and Dolphins at Wembley Stadium in London, you couldn’t help but think that this game would have been better if it were played where it should have been – Miami.
Both the Giants and Fins looked like fish out of water (pardon the pun), and while the Dolphins are just a bad football team, the Giants didn’t look all that much better. They certainly didn’t look like a team that was rolling along, winners of five in a row and making strides towards the top of the NFC East. Instead, they looked like a team that had their routine totally disrupted by this meaningless trip 3,500 miles away from home to play one game.
Just ask Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who as a creature of habit could not have been any more displeased with having to drag his unit overseas to play the game. “I’ll be glad to give my opinion to the commissioner with the issues that came up,” he said after the win. As if jet lag, the long trip to begin with, and the strange surroundings were not enough, the field at the stadium was clearly not meant for American football, and a steady rain that made the game look downright ugly on TV made conditions worse.
I’m sure that the NFL will hail the test a success, and with American sports getting more and more global, I am sure that this will not be the last we see of games away from the homeland. I for one just hope that the league looks at what made this game great in the first place, and that is the rabid fans in this country that do not deserve to lose meaningful home games, and decide to scrap this idea in the future.