Taking Max to the NFL

As Brits, we take a lot of pride in our nation, our culture and our people.
One thing we sometimes lose sight of is our sense of adventure and excitement of willing to try and do new things.
At the age of 14 I was introduced to American Football by a friend. I’d seen pictures and films of it but never truly knew about it. The more I immersed myself in the sport, the more I grew to love it. Even though the sport is played professionally to America, it has captured audiences from all over the planet. It’s one exciting export has to be the regular season games played in London. Since 2007 the NFL has been sending teams to play in England which has swelled in popularity, bringing more teams and games to Wembley, Twickenham and now Tottenham’s new stadium.

I had a chance to see my first game in 2014, but the reason I’m writing this whole blog post is because of the experience I had last year.

Last year we got the opportunity to interview NFL players in preparation for the London Games courtesy of Ticketmaster (of whom we are very grateful for the experience) who gave us tickets to a game knowing Max would have more interviewing to do (it’s difficult knowing you have homework when you’re busy). At first I was skeptical of Max going to the game, a typical NFL match lasts 3 and a half hours including stoppages and if you don’t know the rules, it can be bewildering. However, that was not to be the case. Max and I share a bond over American Football and knew how passionate he was about it.

The match day involves a lot of tailgating where there are stands to get drinks, food and take in the experience of typical game day in America. This game was the Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns. As part of our work for the day, we were given a tour of the locker rooms at Twickenham where you could see how things look in preparation for the game. We had the privilege of meeting former Browns Legend Hanford Dixon and Max was lucky enough to receive free hat and football. It was fair to say that convinced him he was a fan of the team.

After interviewing Hanford we took the time to soak in the atmosphere before kickoff. The most notable thing that stood out was that it was a friendly environment. No fights, no rudeness and it was filled with fans of all NFL teams. People are just grateful to have this experience to see a professional game. The atmosphere gave you an overwhelming sense of excitement and inclusion. At no point did it feel isolating or awkward. There games to play, discussions with the NFL commissioner.

Just before kick off we had a treat of seeing the ground up close and the players as they warmed up. It gave you an appreciation for how hard these players train and how focused they are. My dad, who took us for the day, spotted England Rugby legend Lewis Moody and was more than happy to get a picture. My dad knows the sport but doesn’t follow it, even he said you’d be mad not to get this experience.

Finally it was game time and the crowd was spectacular. The game itself began quick with the Browns scoring early. Max was wild with excitement, starting chants, waving his flag and cheering them on. The stoppages in play were filled with entertainment of Circus acts, marching band music and t shirt bazookas. No matter what, there was something to watch.

As the Browns met an unfortunate defeat from the Vikings, it was time for us to depart.
We all said in the car what a wonderful day we had and what a great experience it was for a family of any size.

If you watch the Super Bowl or have always wanted to see a game or have kids that are interested in it, I couldn’t recommend it more. It’s a great family day, a fun experience and a great taste of American culture.

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