Alright, so… the main reason we planned a trip to London was because Anthony’s parents said they were going to the Jacksonville Jaguar NFL game in London at Wembley. Well, I wasn’t missing the opportunity to tag along, or finally cross off my number one bucket list destination, so we said count us in! Every day was a highlight of all the different things we got to experience in London, but seeing my home team play overseas was definitely top ranking in the list (#dtwd!).
NFL in London?
So just a little history… the Jaguar’s owner, Shad Khan, started a London Game Experience and the Jaguars were the test dummy (and of course the other team that they would have to play). The original goal of it was to gain overseas exposure, with the incentive for season ticket holders that it would make prices cheaper because you’d only be paying for 7 home games. Well, that was all well and good when we were losing. But now that we are considered a winning team (#MylesJackWasn’tDown), who is expected to show even more growth this season and in seasons to come, losing that one home game kind of hurts your heart. So getting to go to a London game is a prized possession, if you can swing it.
Wembley and the NFL Experience (#Duuuval)
Wembley stadium holds many football (soccer) games a year, in addition to other events such as concerts. They even hold tours where you can get a behind the scenes look. Wembley was rebuilt in 2007 and is a gorgeous stadium about 30 minutes outside of London.
The whole experience was just like going to a home game (because technically it is), with the stadium decked out with Jag logo flags for the fans to fly, and even the Jaguar heads that blow smoke out when the players are introduced. It was really cool. And the fans are amazing. They love us! haha. I mean it also helped that we were kicking the Raven’s butt.
There were obviously a lot of US fans who travelled to the game, and our “war cry” is “DUUUVALLL” so it was heard many times in the first like 20 minutes of the game. At one point, a couple who was sitting next to us, leaned over and asked Anthony, “what’s duval?” We both laughed and he explained it’s our county, or district basically. They immediately understood. By the end of the game (but really, much earlier), whether you were from Duval or not, everyone was chanting our war cry. It was a beautiful moment.
Even if you aren’t a football (NFL) fan, I feel like it would be a fun day for everyone. Just like I think going to a football (soccer) game even if you aren’t a soccer fan would be an awesome experience. It’s all about atmosphere!
So after the game ended, it is obviously a mad house of people trying to leave such a small area. Our taxi driver on the way there told us to find “the pub” after the game and just hang out until traffic dies down. So we made like sheep and followed the crowds up the hill to “the pub,” or The Green Man. It was party central. Everyone from the game who got the memo was there, listening to music, drinking, and having a good time. One guy even got naked at one point… he was definitely having a good time. We chilled until about 8:30 or so and then we caught a cab back into London.
Have you been to Wembley before? Did you go to an NFL game or an actual soccer game? I’d love to hear your stories! Drop them in the comments below.
For more London recommendations, be sure to check out my 2 day itinerary below.
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