American Football is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK, with an increase in interest which has seen the birth and growth of many British teams, competing at both University and national level. Nevertheless, in recent years, there has been one thing above all else which has aided this invasion, the NFL International series, which has seen an increasing number of NFL games actually take place in the UK at Wembley Stadium.
This year, the International Series will be formed of three matches, with the first of these set to kick off at Wembley stadium later today. This will be a gripping encounter between the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders. Both of these teams have a great NFL heritage, having both won the Superbowl on more than one occasion.
In recent years, both the Raiders and Dolphins have struggled to replicate their former glories, but with each side possessing two exciting, young quarterbacks leading their respective offences, the future is looking bright, and we are expecting a good contest.
The Oakland Raiders are one of the most important teams in the history of the NFL, winning three Superbowls since the establishment of the franchise. They have been a team which has brought great entertainment to the NFL, both on the pitch, and off it. This evening, the main man to keep an eye on will definitely be their rookie QB Derek Carr, one of a number of promising young players to enter the NFL this year.
Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins are also a very prestigious team which has come close to rivalling the successes of the Raiders. They have seen their own portion of success, winning two Superbowls and, to this day, they remain the only ever NFL franchise to have finished a season unbeaten. It will definitely be worth keeping an eye on their defence during the course of the game with pass-rusher Cameron Wake the key man for the Dolphins
The International Series, as well as being a great promoter of the game in the UK, is one of the best tools for tracking its rapid growth, with an increase in the number of matches being shown each year. When the International Series first came into existence, there was only one game per year, this year there are a record three matches. Furthermore, recently, there have even been discussions surrounding the possibility of a NFL franchise based within the UK.
For those lucky enough to witness the action tonight, I am sure that it will be a great spectacle and a highly enjoyable evening.