I was browsing through twitter and stumbled across a small blog post from the Herald’s own Ian Rapoport. Now we all know what media speculation is like, but I wanted to repeat the sentiment and relay some old memories on you guys to enlighten those who weren’t there for the experience and to give those who were there some happy memories to dwell on!
Ian picked up on something that the recently instated owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Shahid Khan, had said in an interview with Tania Ganguli of the Florida Trade Union;
“I think it would serve Jacksonville well to play a game or two overseas, to get the name Jacksonville out”.
Now you may wonder what on Earth this has to due with the New England Patriots right? Well the Patriots have a game in Jacksonville next season and it’s no secret thatÂ theÂ Krafts, the players, the coaches and even the media loved the experience of playing in London against the Buccaneers in the 2009 season. When asked if he would repeat the experience, Quarterback Tom Brady said “I’m all for it”!
As a fan over here in England I wouldn’t expect the Patriots to ever give up a Â home game to play over here in England. However, the Krafts are very outspoken about moving the game forward and were also very happy with their ‘Old England’ experience. If the logistics of the trip suited the team, then they would certainly go back.
Recently the NFL announced that the International Series would be expanded through the 2016 season and rumours are rife that a second game will be added every year. There were talks about such expansion this seasonÂ howeverÂ the NFL Lockout got in the way of less important things and they stuck with just the one. I would not be surprised to see it become two games next season.
Ian Rapoport wrote in his blog:
‘My thought? The Patriots are a serious candidate to make Khanâ€™s wish come true. League spokesmanÂ Greg Aiello said the NFL expects to play a game in London next year, but hasnâ€™t determined one. When will it be announced? â€śTo be determined,â€ť he said.
I wouldnâ€™t be surprised at all if the Patriots and Jaguars played at Wembley Stadium in 2012. And let me add â€” please do this. It was a fantastic trip.’
I agree with him. The experience of having the Patriots come over to England was the best of my life….I would argue better than the trip I made over to Boston back in 2008 to watch the Patriots defeat the Rams at Gillette. For those of you that do not already know, I am a moderator of www.ukpatriots.com, the largest fan base for the Patriots outside of the US. When it was announced in 2009 that the Patriots would be coming over here, I literally ran around the house pumping my fists, shouting ‘get in’ in my heavy southern accent and the smile didn’t come off of my face for weeks!
Soon after the announcement, we were told by the NFL that we could have an unlimited allocation for our fan group provided we got the numbers we needed and the money in by a certain date. We brought close to 200 fans to Wembley that weekend. On top of that, the Buccaneers’ UK fan group got the same treatment, so we organised a flag football game between the two of us. Numerous media attended, British broadcasting crews who represent the NFL over here, NFL Films…the works. I got to shake hands with LeeRoy Selmon (God rest his soul) Â prior to his untimely death this year, Shelton Quarles and Mike Alstott formerly of the Buccaneers. John Smith also showed up to the event along with the msacots and cheerleaders of both teams.
To cap it off, the UKPatriots were asked by the PFW in Progress guys toÂ organiseÂ the ‘Official Patriots Pre-Game Party’ at the Sports Bar inÂ Piccadilly. In attendance was Pat Patriot, some cheerleaders, Troy Brown, John Smith, Robert Kraft, Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti to name a few. It was capped off by Jonathan Kraft showing up at the dying stages and sharing a drink with some Patriots fans. The best part about it was simply the fact that we were all Patriots fans in one building and drinking the night away!
I couldn’t have spent theÂ weekendÂ any better. I had showed up in London on the Thursday night prior to the game on Sunday; myself and aÂ groupÂ of the members had rented out a largeÂ apartmentÂ in the heart of London for a long weekend. We had a meal with the majority of the fan club, had a poker night and spent the Friday giving out the tickets to the pre-game party with Fred Kirsch and drinking our way through the day.
It was truly overwhelming for the Patriots in the sense of the support they received here in England but what was truly great for us was seeing so many Americans, some of whom we knew, make the trip. Now I share Ian Rapoport’s sentiments; don’t be at all surprised to see the Patriots wind back up over here and, if they do, you better get you arses…no not asses, arses…over here to ‘Old England’ so we can show you how to have a good time!
You can follow Ian Rapoport for updates on the Patriots on twitter;Â @Rapsheet
Interestingly, a fellow @UKPatriots member attended the Denver game over the weekend and had anÂ opportunityÂ to speak to the Krafts. When he asked Bob Kraft’s son, Jonathan, about a potentialÂ matchupÂ between the Patriots and the Jaguars at Wembley he replied, ‘I think it will happen’. Read into it what you will, he could have been talking about the generalÂ consensusÂ of the Patriots returning to Wembley against any opponent, but that sounds extremely ominous to me.
Like what you read? Check out the rest of my blog â€™4th & Longâ€™ for more! If you would like to comment and offer your insight into this article, feel free to leave your thoughts! You can follow me on twitter;Â @DamoJarrett