Raiders excited about London visit

The Oakland Raiders have certainly worked out how to win friends and influence people ahead of their International Series clash with the Miami Dolphins in London on Sunday September 28.

The Raiders are the designated home team for their Week 4 clash with the Dolphins and some of their big-name players are in favour of continued growth of American football in the United Kingdom.

Speaking to me for a series of interviews for Sky Sports and the Wembley gameday magazine, a couple of prominent Raiders were in favour of a London franchise in the future. And many more were excited about the prospect of playing a game in the UK this season.

Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who played in London for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013, was quick to praise the British NFL fans.

You know what?” Jones-Drew began. “I think they deserve one. It’s just the toll it takes on the body because it’s so hard to fly across the pond. I think the fans deserve it and London deserves it because it is a great city.

“My only worry is the toll it would take for a team to go back and forth and how would you get that done? There are some things they would have to work on – they might have to bring the Concorde back and cut that time in half. But you never know.”

Travel concerns did not seem to enter the mind of Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub as he strongly answered the question about a potential London franchise by saying: “Absolutely. I think that is definitely in the future.”

Veteran safety Charles Woodson has seen a great deal in his 16 seasons in the NFL, but he is relishing a trip to London, insisting:

“Being a little bit older, you can appreciate these kind of things. Having the opportunity to represent the NFL in London is going to be a great experience. I’m very excited to be playing in London.”

And team captain and Pro Bowl fullback Marcel Reece concluded: “I’m excited that the Raiders finally get a chance to come out to Wembley Stadium, to have some fun and get a win. We’re an international team and we have an international fan base – there is only one nation and that’s the Raider Nation.”

You’ll be able to watch my interviews with the Raiders plays in full on Sky Sports when the 2014 NFL season kicks off in September.

24 replies

  1. From a Yanks perspective, I dont mind Europe having an NFL team but Im just not sure if the fanaticism is there. You love Soccer in Europe and we love American Football. You have a big enough city with enough fans and you have an excellent facility, but your taxes are pretty extreme in comparison to the US in some ways. Im just not sure many players will really want to leave home and live abroad for their career that way. Really the flight is about the same as going from NY to LA, but many in the US feel we should have a team in LA before we go abroad. If the Buffalo Bills wanted to move to Toronto, i wouldnt complain, but Buffalo might. Its a long trip for the Seahawks and Niners to London and vice versa. If it happens, i’ll cheer for you, if it doesnt, its not personal, i think the logistics are really tough at this time.

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