Cast your mind back to December 2019, long before the global pandemic. It’s a Friday night and I am relaxing getting ready for another NFL weekend. My phone lights up. ‘Hey Mike, I have some good news for you. The Denver Broncos are going to London to play the Atlanta Falcons’. Two months later, UK based radio station ‘talkSPORT’ was in Miami for the Super Bowl. NFL presenter Will Gavin is casually chatting with Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, who mentions that the team are planning to play the Denver Broncos in London the following season.
One month later, the world shuts down and the inevitable happens - the game is moved to Atlanta. Now, two years later - the Denver Broncos have an opportunity to play in London once again.
Joe Ellis was the first to even mention the potential 2020 Atlanta game in public, speaking at his end of year presser for the 2019 season. At the NFL Owners meetings in March, the rumor mill started again after Ellis had his say. “I know Coach Hackett and George would be open to the possibility of playing in London. There’s some games in London this year, I’d love to see us,” Ellis told media members. “We play the Jaguars, we’ll see if that becomes a possibility. I don’t know right now for sure. I’ve expressed interest on behalf of the team. Coach Hackett is bullish on it. George is bullish on it. Russell Wilson is bullish on it, so we’re lobbying as hard as we can.”
The NFL will announce the international games for the London, Munich and Mexico City markets this Wednesday at around 7:30AM MDT on Good Morning Football. The Denver Broncos are heavily rumored to play in a game this year, even outside of Joe Ellis’ comments.
I know for Broncos fans based in the United States, it can be very difficult to accept an NFL game being played overseas. After all, it is America’s game. In comparison, the Premier League has never moved a game to a different country in its history. The NFL wants to grow in the overseas market and a game like this is one which the NFL would see as a perfect option for a London game. A high profile QB like Russell Wilson will sell out Wembley Stadium. It’s as simple as that.
The reality for fans based in Europe is that a flight to Denver is a minimum ten hour journey - and a quite expensive one at that. The prospect of potentially playing the Jaguars at Wembley is more than the game itself. It gives the thousands of Broncos fans in Europe the chance to see their team - many of whom were introduced to the team in the John Elway, Steve Atwater and Terrell Davis years.
It is important to note that the Jacksonville Jaguars home stadium is hosting a college football game on Saturday October 29th. If the Denver Broncos are selected as the ‘away’ team, you could expect a game on Sunday October 30th at the historic Wembley Stadium, with a potential bye week following this.
We will know on Wednesday if this will become a reality. One thing is for sure - Denver Broncos fans if called upon will paint Wembley stadium orange and blue. This will be a Broncos defacto home game - and what a game it promises to be if it happens for the fans in Europe who massively deserve it. I’m just glad I got through a whole article and I didn’t mention the 2010 game at all!
You can listen to the ‘Dublin to Denver’ podcast on the Mile High Report podcast network.