London Week: A retrospective
by Tim Love - BBC Sport (U11756775) 24 October 2008
All the excitement over the NFL game at Wembley between the Chargers and Saints has got me reminiscing about last year’s contest between the Dolphins and Giants.
Once we’d made it into the stadium proper, I experienced one of the highlights of the day: the Wembley toilets
But it wasn’t just the booze. I was really taken with how the field and stadium had been prepared in order to create an ‘authentic’ experience (which I’ve heard will be even more impressive this year). The NFL had done a great job of turning Wembley into mini-America, and I even got goosebumps when I heard the national anthems play.
As the game progressed, we seemed to be getting through a lot more beers than we’d anticipated. It wasn’t one of those planned drinking sessions, but we just always seemed to have a beer in our hands. I think it was partly due to our sensational seats. We knew we’d struck gold when we saw them: they there were, all shiny and red… right at the end of the aisle. We could come and go as we pleased, taking it in turns to buy four pints at a time without having to ask anyone to stand up. It was wonderful.
My memory of the game is slightly hazy, but contrary to what I have read since I believe that there was a great atmosphere and that the crowd thoroughly enjoyed the event, even those that didn’t know what was going on. There was noise from the stands throughout the game, and good plays were well appreciated (even if they were in short supply). My friend, who was not an NFL fan, thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and given the fact that he's a very moody man, this was quite a success.
Of course, this year will be quite different for me. I’ll be in the press area eating as many prawn sandwiches as possible, and will be preparing an extra-special Fumble for Monday which will include a great ‘in the locker room’ feature. The press get great access to players in the NFL, and we get the chance to go down to the players post-game when they’ve just showered and annoy them as they are drying off. Great opportunity? Yes. A bit weird? Most definitely.
What are your memories of last year’s game? What will your pre-game ritual be on Sunday?
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