London loves the NFL. The NFL loves London’s money. How does this perfect relationship manifest itself? Thousands of voracious, excited football fans descend on converted soccer stadiums, full of hope and promise for the NFL. The NFL, ready and waiting, rewards their loyalty with THE WORST FOOTBALL GAMES IMAGINABLE … EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.
Sunday marks perhaps the greatest example of this as Tottenham Hotspur Stadium gets the white-hot action of … Jets vs. Falcons.
Get hyped, North London, because you’re getting a battle of 1-3 teams! Two top draft picks: Zach Wilson who throws interceptions in bunches, Kyle Pitts who I promise is actually on an NFL roster despite how little he’s targeted.
There is no point discussing this game. It doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, it’s going to suck. How do I know this? Well, the teams are bad. They’re bad away, they’re bad at home, and I don’t magically think either team will become good after an international flight and jet lag. Call it a hunch.
The remarkable part of all this is the knack the NFL has for giving London the worst games imaginable. This is the 28th game to be played in London since 2007 when the International Series became a tradition, giving fans 56 different teams to watch. I took a deep look into these games, and they’re simply incredibly bad football games.
- Only four games have been between two teams that had combined winning records entering London.
- Of these games, only TWO featured teams that both had winning records.
- Nine games were settled by one score or less.
- The average margin of victory in London games is 14.8 points
The NFL gives London bad bad teams competing in bad games. If you bought a ticket to a London game you had a 7 percent chance of seeing a good game between two of the better teams in the NFL. You had a 2 percent chance of seeing two good teams finish a game by a single score.
Now, before you think that this is really just a microcosm of the NFL as a whole, think again. A stunning 32 percent of games finished in a blowout of 20 points or more. By comparison only 17 percent of games are 20 point blowouts on average over the same time period as London games were played.
So, what’s the most butt game London has been subjected to? That’s tough, because so many have been awful — but there’s something magical to be said for this gem …
New York Giants vs. Los Angeles Rams — 10/23/16
So, let’s put yourself in the shoes of a fan in London who might buy a ticket to this game. We’re in the middle of Odell Beckham Jr’s domination as the best receiver in the NFL, you’ve got Eli Manning — so you’re hoping to see some incredible catches and big plays.
Then on the other side of the ball you have an incredible running back in Todd Gurley, who just rushed for 1,100 yards his rookie year and is quickly cementing himself as one of the best backs young backs in the league.
So offensively this is a win-win, right?
- Eli Manning throws for 196 yards and no touchdowns.
- Odell Beckham Jr has 49 receiving yards.
- Todd Gurley runs 15 times for 57 yards.
- Rams QB Case Keenum throws four interceptions.
Despite all these interceptions, there’s still almost no scoring. The game’s only three touchdowns comes on a 10 yard pass by the Rams, a pick six, then a 1 yard run by the Giants. The final whistle sounds and it’s 17-10 It’s a putrid game with almost nothing going for it, and people paid a premium to see it. Fans also witnessed a total of 15 punts between the two teams.
Is there any way to make these games better?
Nope! I mean, probably not. The issue is that weaving them into the regular season throws off the preparation of both teams, meaning if they’re actually good to begin with, they’re not going to play their best. That, coupled with an astounding knack to put bad games in London has become the worst gift we give the U.K. every single year.
So look forward to Jets vs. Falcons, British football fans — because this is another butt game coming your way.