Fortunately for fans in the UK, the history of the NFL in London will add another chapter to its legacy in 2021. It was announced that the NFL will return to London this season after a hiatus last year. The NFL international scene has really taken off in the last decade or so. In this piece, we’re going to reminisce about the best NFL London games.
Best NFL London games
The sport is gaining so much traction that there has been discussion of a potential NFL London franchise. Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium have been venues worthy of capturing the excitement of an NFL game, and it will be fun to see the energy they have again this season.
Before the Falcons, Jets, Dolphins and Jaguars square off in London this season, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable games the city has seen to date.
Chargers vs Saints, 2008
Final Score: Saints 37, Chargers 32
In only the second year of the London series, two quarterbacks known for prolific passing attacks put on a show at Wembley Stadium.
Not far removed from his Chargers days, Saints quarterback Drew Brees showed the San Diego front office everything they were missing out on. He threw for 339 yards and three touchdowns on the day, behind the strength of an impressive first half. Brees certainly spread the wealth, as five Saints had at least 30 yards receiving and two catches.
Rivers and Brees going toe-to-toe.
8 touchdowns. 69 points.
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) April 2, 2020
Not to be outdone, protégé Philip Rivers had a notable performance himself. He almost drove the Chargers down the field on the game’s final possession to steal the win, but came up a bit short.
His incredible supporting cast also put on a show. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson notched 105 yards on the ground, and added another 65 through the air, including a receiving touchdown. Tight end Antonio Gates had six catches for 96 yards and a touchdown as well.
Lions vs Falcons, 2014
Final Score: Lions 22, Falcons 21
Unfortunately, it seems like regardless of what country the Falcons play in, they’re subjected to gut wrenching defeats. In 2014, Atlanta came within a whisker of securing a win in London, but it was snatched away from them.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford led a masterful drive down the field, highlighted by chunk passing plays to wide receiver Golden Tate and running back Theo Riddick. In a weird sequence of events, Lions kicker Matt Prater missed a game winning kick, but because the play clock had already run out, Detroit had another chance from 5 yards farther back.
Prater did not squander this gift, drilling a 48 yarder as time expired.
Falcons led 21-0 at half-time 😳
Lions claw it back to 22-20 😲
Prater kicked a 48-yard field goal in the final seconds for the Lions win 🦁
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) May 10, 2019
Tate was a force all game long, as he put up 151 yards on seven catches and one touchdown. Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan did his best to get Atlanta over the hump, but star receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones were not the best pass catchers on the field that day. Atlanta did get a glimpse of the future in their backfield in this game though.
Rookie running back Devonta Freeman caught a touchdown pass in the contest, and would go on to have several productive seasons for the team.
Ravens vs Jaguars, 2017
Final Score: Jaguars 44, Ravens 7
It seems counterintuitive that such a lopsided game would count as a memorable moment in the London series.
But as it unfolded, it has become clear that the NFL has decided to feature the Jacksonville Jaguars as London’s unofficial American football franchise. As such, reminiscing about a game where the Jaguars absolutely crushed their opponent is likely to put smiles on the faces of NFL fans in England.
The Ravens basically made the trip overseas for nothing that weekend.
Baltimore turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions from quarterback Joe Flacco.
They were very fortunate that they weren’t shut out, as backup signal caller Ryan Mallett threw a touchdown to tight end Ben Watson very late in the game to save face. The Jaguars had a field day, as quarterback Blake Bortles and tight end Marcedes Lewis connected for three touchdowns. Running back Leonard Fournette punched in a score on the ground as well.