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UK Pat's First Game Thoughts

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PaulThePat, Oct 26, 2009.

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  1. PaulThePat

    PaulThePat On the Game Day Roster

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    Supported the Pats for 27 years and the game at Wembley was the first time I'd not only seen the Patriots live but it was the first NFL game I've ever seen in the flesh. Thought people might (or might not) be interested in how the day went :cool:

    Tailgate

    Unlike the ones you will see at Gillette and other NFL stadiums this was more of an "event/party" than a tailgate. There were no people roasting buffalo wings or firing up barbecues. There was beer, music, a Hall of Fame exhibition, merchandise and food. Was worth 30 minutes or so but after that it was time to head to the stadium.

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    Wembley
    The people at Wembley had done a great job of setting the stadium up. It was a Tampa home game so you had to expect every seat to have a Bucs flag on it. Pitch looked in great condition and there wasn't a breath of wind. Lot's of Pats fans everywhere you looked and was great to be amongst friends !! Still look forward to the day when I attend Gillette and experience being part of a home crowd.

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    Game
    Won't really discuss this as there are other threads on the game itself. My comments are more on what it was like for someone who'd never been at an NFL game before. Have to say it's difficult at times to be sure who has made a tackle or put pressure on the QB. However, the stadium announcer did a good job of keeping you up to date.

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    For the Pats I was impressed by the defence and especially Tully Banta Cain whose name was called on several occasions. On offence Welker looked as good in real life as he does on TV.

    Was interesting to see that during TV breaks Brady and Hoyer threw the ball to each other to keep loose. This isn't the sort of thing we normally see.

    This could well be the only Pats game I ever see so I'm glad we won it. As for the talk of an NFL team in the UK I'd say FORGET IT. The 20,000+ Pats fans at Wembley would never start supporting a UK team ahead of the Patriots. I'm sure the same would go for the fans of all other teams. These games are good to have but we don't want a team.

    Paul.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  2. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    Thanks for your input, Pat. I'm glad you had a great time. What I found most interesting was your remark that Brit Pats' fans WOULDN'T change allegiances IF London got its OWN NFL team. That's the second time I've heard that from a Brit Pats fan. Very interesting. It tells you something about the British sports fan's extreme sense of loyalty. But then again there are STILL Giant's fans in NE who predated the Pats arrival and NEVER switched back. So maybe its just sports fans in general who attach themselves to teams and NEVER let go.
     
  3. Wax Frog

    Wax Frog In the Starting Line-Up

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    Re: the second pic - I sure hope that's trophy #4 on the distant off-camera horizon :p
     
  4. PaulThePat

    PaulThePat On the Game Day Roster

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    Paul :)

    Absolutely not. I support the New England Patriots. If there was an NFL team in the UK I'd want to Pats to beat them as bad as any other team. It's a no brainer.

    Oh yeh, here is another picture from the tailgate !!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  5. borg

    borg In the Starting Line-Up

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    Great pictures...glad your first game was a win.
    I would love to hear about the status of other professional sports (besides soccer) in the U.K. Frankly, I haven't a clue what other pro sports exist (cricket? rugby? basketball?) And what about sports on the university level?
     
  6. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Maybe you should change your nick to PatThePaul? ;)
     
  7. patfanken

    patfanken Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    #91 Jersey

    Don't take it personal, Paul. People who know me, will tell you that I have butchered more names than a dozen posters put together. It reminds of when I was a HS coach. I had a young sophmore who for some reason I call Doug, though his name was Allan. By the time he was a Junior, I had it down correctly, but by then, he wouldn't respond when I called him Allan, just Doug....:D. I think its the dyslexia, I'm not certain, but its as convenient an excuse as any.
     
  8. PaulThePat

    PaulThePat On the Game Day Roster

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    Football (Soccer to you :D) is pretty much the only game in town. Rugby has a dozen or so professional teams but outwith that it's still mainly an amateur game watched by nobody. Cricket is a summer sport which gets big crowds for big games but the domestic competition is in general poorly supported. Basketball and Ice Hockey are played with teams mainly stuffed full of US and Canadian imports. As for College/University sports we don't have the same system as in the States and nothing at this level is of any relevance.

    In short the UK is football dominated.
     
  9. MassPats38

    MassPats38 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #87 Jersey

    Great stuff, Paul. My mother is British (moved to the U.S. decades ago) but I have not been to England in over a decade. The NFL Commissioner talked about the rise in popularity in the NFL in England, so I was curious as to your take on his comments given the prevalence of non-American football there. Is the NFL something that you hear about regularly during the year (there are regular fans of the game and you hear about the sport frequently from others), or do you get the sense it is more of an oddity when a game comes to town?

    I know we have British fans on this site such as yourself, just curious as to your take on whether the NFL is catching on there.
     
  10. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    Thanks for this, Paul. I find people's first impressions of live NFL experiences fascinating.

    I think you stumbled on the one inconvenient truth about a live NFL experience when you wrote: "Have to say it's difficult at times to be sure who has made a tackle or put pressure on the QB. However, the stadium announcer did a good job of keeping you up to date."

    The truth is that, unless you have 50 yard line, close in tickets, game-wise, you are going to get more out of the game at home in front of a big screen TV and a laptop computer. It is very hard to actually see interior line play if you don't have premium seats. I would say that Soccer (footie or futbol, whatever) is a better "live" viewing experience, while NFL football is (to me) an unmatched TV/computer experience......and best done with a roomful of friends!
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  11. NumenorBlader

    NumenorBlader Rookie

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    Glad you had a good time Paul, much like I did as well! I couldn't believe the Meriweather pick, I went absolutely beserk when he tore it up towards the EZ I was at!

    As for the comments about sports over here - we pretty much get coverage of anything and everything, from Soccer to NASCAR to elite speedway (depends on satellite coverage). I think the strength in the UK is the breadth of sports we are exposed to, however the strength in the US is your season based sports calendar and the strength of the big 3 over there (discounting NHL these days). The norm over here is to follow a soccer team to death, but the great thing is that every year when Wimbledon comes round, or when the Cricket world cup/Ashes are on or even the F1 these days, the country does take a huge interest and follows them as casual fans at the least. This is also because the sports we are based in are more international with international athletes, so there is that old sense of Imperialism/wanting to be superior... it's all fun though.

    As for the NFL - it has a long way to go before it even overshadows the strength of rugby here, because again even if the domestic leagues are weak when the international games are on a lot of the nation is hooked. However the contingent of loyal, intelligent fans here is growing, and that is something to remember. We aren't justed interested in it as a fad, we are all IN.

    And as for Uni sports, we have the ACC but that is nowhere near as organised as the NCAA, mainly because the NCAA is like our lower league divisions in soccer, rugby etc. As for football, I currently play for my Uni League in the BUAFL, which is also steadily increasing in size.

    Give it 10 years. I believe the past few years are replicating the 80s NFL growth here. In 10 years of solid growth we may have a force of millions which would be ready to reconsider investment into something like an NFL Europe or likewise.

    Blader.
     
  12. shmessy

    shmessy Maude Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #75 Jersey

    You both touched on an interesting point regarding the 1980's which always confuses me.

    You alluded to the 80's as being an era of great growth in NFL interest in the UK. I saw that first hand in the autumn of 1985 when I was a student for a semester at Imperial College. There were posters of the Fridge in many supermarkets and Channel Four was getting high ratings.

    My question is this: What happened in the ensuing 20+ years? Did the interest fall off a cliff for awhile? Each of you seem to suggest the 1980's as a type of "Golden Era" of NFL interest in the UK. Was it because it was merely so new then and, thus, a revelation? Or did the 1990's and the Dallas Cowboys extinguish the attractiveness?
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2009
  13. PaulThePat

    PaulThePat On the Game Day Roster

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    I wouldn't say the 80's was a particularly golden era. It's simply when the NFL first started being covered on UK TV. As with all new things there was an initial surge of interest followed by a levelling out. I'd say the last 10 or so years have seen interest reach new levels thanks to the excellent coverage on Satellite channel Sky Sports. We get 2 games each Sunday and another channel (5) shows the Sunday night game.

    I used to listen to games on the Armed Forces Network. UK coverage has come a long way since then !!
     
  14. olschool

    olschool Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    If you're in just about any modern stadium, you need the Hubble Telescope to see the plays from the nosebleed seats. Even Robert Kraft was using binoculars from the owners box. I guess that's why the end zone screens keep getting bigger and bigger. I think Dallas's new stadium is a little over the top though.
     
  15. stryker2001

    stryker2001 Rookie

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    Fab pics Paul.

    I also listened to games thru Armed forces radio. Continually fading away and coming back 10 minutes later. In those days though The Pats would rarely get the live game unless they reached the playoffs. The Pats had a great special team back then and thats what got me hooked on them. Everytime something exciting used to happen on kickoffs.

    Now thanks to Sky and the naughty streaming sites i can watch NE nearly every week.

    I thought last nights game was too easy to be a spectacle on TV and the atmosphere never came across too well but then when i switched to radio commentary you could actually hear the crowd and it sounded quite loud.

    One day ill make a Foxboro game i'm sure but glad all those who went yesterday had a great time too. Hope it stays a one a season game though.
     
  16. Mike the Brit

    Mike the Brit Minuteman Target PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Disable Jersey

    Nice stuff, Paul. I remember my first live football game having the same experience -- but two things. One, although you don't get to see some up-close stuff (line play, who makes the tackle) you do get to see some others, particularly the spread of the defense/offense as well as the three-dimensionality of the passing game. Also, the stadium TV replays show you about as much as the networks do anyway.

    Now to Shmessy's question. In the 80s, the second commercial TV network (Channel 4) was started, with a remit to cater for "minorities". So it was a natural fit for it to look for minority sports. They started broadcasting a game of the week on Monday evenings. I think the game took about an hour and a bit, but they had pretty much every play (not just highlights). It was ideal for incoming fans because (1) fewer irritating interruptions (2) helpful commentaries from non-U.S. announcers complete with introductory explanations (3) since there was no coverage in the newspapers/elsewhere on TV, you could watch the games "as live". Channel 4 was (is) "free to air". I doubt they paid much for the rights, but it built the brand as you can see from all of us who post here (and many, many of the middle-aged types who were there at Wembley). But then the NFL idiots took (I don't suppose very much) money from Rupert Murdoch who put it on one of his Sat channels, where it has to compete with the Premier League, the rights to which he also owns. Guess who wins out?
     
  17. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Well said sir! :D
     
  18. Batman

    Batman Third String But Playing on Special Teams

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    #24 Jersey

    This was my third year going to the NFL game and I was in the nose bleed section and the view was out of this world I have been at pitch level the last 2 years with very expensive seats this year I opted for the cheaper seats. I could see all the pitch all the action (excluding line) I could see all of the tackles and numbers. I was able to see the whole field for once and let me see more what was going to happen like the pick 6 and the mismatch on Watson for his TD. After the game I met Wes Welker and Brandon Tate on the way to the coach. Also seen Kellen Winslow Ronde Barber and all the TBB cheerleaders.
     
  19. JSn

    JSn Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

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    Doesn't sound like the reaction in the land of wooden teeth was overwhelming...

    London's view on Pats-Bucs - Extra Points - Boston.com

     
  20. Lampshade

    Lampshade Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

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    The odd exception aside, international sport gets very little coverage in the UK papers. Outside of the London games the NFL will get nary a mention; most papers won't even give a paragraph on Monday to round-up the Sunday action. It's neither traditional enough, nor popular enough right now to get extended coverage. In terms of newspapers coverage before the NFL comes football, cricket, two codes of rugby, golf, tennis, formula one, horse racing, and on and on and on. It's one area I don't see improving in the near future.

    As for yesterday, I enjoyed myself. The Green Man Pub tailgate was probably the highlight. If you doubt the passion and knowledge of UK NFL fans then you weren't at The Green Man Pub on Sunday. The Colchester Gladiators were all top guys too.

    Actually, my lasting impression of the day was just how fast Meriweather broke for the first INT; from where I was sitting (about a mile up) it was mighty impressive.
     
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