The National Football League will send three playoff teams to London in the fall as a new survey indicates that British people find the sport second only to golf as the dullest to watch.
The Raiders will play the Seattle Seahawks on Oct. 14 in Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in North London; the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 21 or Oct. 28 in Wembley Stadium; and the Tennessee Titans will play the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 21 or Oct. 28 in Wembley.
Dates for those two games will be firmed up when the NFL’s full schedule is released in April.
In October, Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL’s UK managing director, had told ESPN that he was aiming to get the final six teams (Eagles, Titans, Seahawks, Texans, Panthers and Packers) that have not yet played overseas.
The Titans, Eagles and Seahawks can now be crossed off that list and the Jaguars have agreed to play a home game in England every year through at least 2020.
As for the Texans, Panthers and Packers, don’t be surprised if they’re on the travel list for 2019.
Houston and Carolina play one another at NRG Stadium, which would seem like an ideal game for England because it takes care of two teams with one contest.
As for the Packers, they won’t give up a home game in the league’s smallest city and host teams don’t like to give up the sellout when Green Bay comes to town.
But they play the Chargers in their temporary, 27,000-seat StubHub Center digs in 2019, making London a likely landing spot for that game with the team announcing today that it will host one international game in 2018 and 2019.
The announcement comes as 70 percent of 1,616 British adults who took part in a YouGov survey said the sport was painful to watch.
The majority of those surveyed ranked “American football” as the nation’s second-dullest sport to watch, with 59 percent of respondents rating it “very or quite boring.” Only 18 percent described it as exciting and only golf did more poorly. (Cricket and darts tied for third, one point behind American football.)
That survey is at odds with the results of a Gallup poll in America. Of the 1,049 respondents to the telephone survey conducted Dec. 4-11, 37 percent said football is their favorite sport to watch.
Although the number is down from the all-time high of 43 percent in 2006 and 2007, it remains far ahead of basketball (11 percent) and baseball (9 percent).
The NFL kicked off its series of regular-season games in London in 2007, when the New York Giants beat the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on their way to winning the Super Bowl. The home of English football has now hosted 18 NFL games, with almost 1.5 million fans attending those games.
The Raiders have played once previously in London. They lost 38-14 to the Dolphins in 2014.