Interview With Adam
Adam is attempting to live every football fans dream. He hails from London and this NFL season he will attend 35 games in 17 weeks. He will visit every NFL stadium during his trip. He will also attend Giants Stadium one more time (one for the Giants and another for the Jets), the games in Toronto and London game, and an extra trip to Soldier Field to see his favorite team, the Bears, one more time. He is also leaving behind his girlfriend and job, as well as selling his apartment to go on this trip. I posted a story about him a few days ago and came out very intrigued. I reached out to him and came out very impressed and jealous. You can go on Adam’s web site and follow his journey at www.adamsfootballtrip.com. Here is our conversation:
Tell us a little about yourself.
"I am 28 year Londoner who loves the NFL. I have been a Bears fan since I was 5 back in 1985 when as a impressionable kid saw them win the Super Bowl. I am drama facilitator, which basically means I work with teenagers and young people across London, using drama as a tool for positive social change. I will be leaving the 200 or so young people I work with to go on this trip. I am also leaving my beautiful girlfreind, Steph behind here in London, though she says she is going to come out to a few games!"
What is the knowledge of football in London?
"Well back in the late 80s, NFL was on terrestial T.V on channel 4 and many people began to access it. Though in the last ten years or so the coverage has moved to Sports dedicated networks only on cable and although not everyone is exposed to the NFL those that are have a far greater knowledge of the game than before. We have two London football teams that play in the British american Football League. We also have quite a few Universities in the country that play, I played myself for 1 year in Wales for University. i played Corner back and at 140 pounds I got knocked all over the place.I play flag football every week in Hyde Park in London, and that are a lot of American in London who go to the bars on Sunday night to watch the games. So in all there is a community here and a passionate one and it is certainly growing. At the London game last year not only was there all 32 NFL jerseys on show, but many U.K American Football teams on show as well NFL Europe."
What atmosphere should Saints fans expect at the stadium for those that attend the game in London?
"To start with there is no “tailgate” 90% of fans will be getting public transport, though that can be fun, because riding on the train together does builkd up the atmosphere. NFLUK last year put on a ticket only tailgate that was excellent with bands and all sorts of great stuff. But it was ticket only, but at least they tried to make it as American as possible.The game itself wasn’t the best, but there was plenty of passion in the fans. It may not feel like a home game, because neither fan base dominated, but the stadium is great and there was a great atmosphere. Just don’t expect too much from the stadium food! Haha"
There’s been talk about the NFL possibly going international. Do you think London could support a NFL franchise in the terms of interest?
"Well we do have two London American football teams: The London Blitz and the London Olympians, so I’m not sure if they would merge and form an NFL team, that could be good. With the NFL Europe finishing I do feel Europeans are calling out for more football. I recently played a kitted game in Copenhagen. http://www.adamsfootballtrip.com/blogs/25/we-won-the-copenhagen-bowl.htmAnd there was a massive NFL following there. I do think we could have a franchise here, there would be a few problems to start with as it settles, but if there was a team in here in London then I’d be sigining up for a season ticket right now!"
Do you think football will ever become a major sport in Europe, not necessarily as big as soccer (or whatever you guys call it) but somewhere near the level of other sports?
"I would love football to be as big as our other sports here, but I can not see it hapening soon. Domestic soccer saturates the sports pages as well as international soccer, but domestic Rugby, Cricket and other sports do not get the same coverage, it is only at international level that audiences pick up. Maybe we could push the sport towards international games to be played? There could be an internatioanl tournament between nations, there are quite a few European teams that would play! Soccer is big because of it’s ease to just pick up and play. Football needs a lot of start up kit. I would love to see the flag version of Football (what I play and teach in my youth work job),become bigger here because that is fun, quick and needs no real costs and that could be a way for the younger kids to get more involved with this great sport."
How will you be getting around through the various cities you go to?
"I’m starting the trip in NYC and I will be buying a car, or hopefully getting a sponsored car. I will be driving to each game, apart from the Seattle game, as I will be in Chicago the day before to run for the Walter Payton Cancer Trust. I’m also flying to the Toronto game as well as the London game. It will be nice to go home for the week and see my family and friends. I will be crossing the states 8 times I think, and I’ll be clocking up nearly 35,000 miles! I hope to get a car that is “green”. Any suggestions?"
There are fans in America that are just casual fans and “root” for teams like the Cowboys and the Yankees in baseball, is there that one team over there that people like but don’t necessarily follow?
"Well Manchester United are the most “famous” soccer club in the world, so you can imagine alot of people like them, and they just won the Prmeier League and the Champions League this year. They are so big that more people in London support Manchester Utd than any other London club, such as Arsenal, Tottenham or Chelsea. Part of that reason is because so many international people or people from other parts of the country move to London and they all seem to support Manchester. Then again for every person that likes them another peson hates them and is sick of them winning eveything [laughs]."
"When I have visited the States in the past, many Americans assume I support Manchester Utd, which I do not. I support Tottenam Hotspur, they are my local Premier team based in North East London and my Dad has supported them his whole life along with his Dad.I have also noticed in the States sometimes I tell people I am a Bears fan and they say : “Why? they suck”, as if I should not support my team, just because they are not so good. Hopefully I won’t [see] too many of these people as I am looking for fans that are really proud of their team whether they “suck” or not. I’m proud to be a Bears fan as I am proud to be a Tottenham fan."
What’s the one game on your trip you really look forward to attending?
"Well as a Bears fan it has to be Monday Night Football at Soldier Field against the Packers. That for me is our Super Bowl if we don’t make it to the playoffs. There are many other games for several reasons that are looking unique or special, but this is the big one! The game in London will be great as I saw my first NFL game there 1990, when the Saints played the Raiders. If I have any money left after the 35 games I hope to go to the playoffs and the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, that would be amazing."
What was the process did you go through to select the games you will be going to?
"It was a mix of the matchups and the schedule. I [wanted] to be able to see each team once at home I would need to see the games on Monday and Thursday. The Sunday games I picked from because of matchup and location from the last team and the team following. There are few games I really do want to see like the Bengals and Browns but I can not make it fit.Though I am very happy with the schedule and I have got a lot of good rivalry games!"
Maybe I’m just jealous that you get to go around the country and watch football everywhere but there has to be something wrong with you. Are you insane?
"Hahaha! I hope I’m not, I hope I’m just a passionate fan. I came back from an Arizona/Bears game wanting to check out every stadium and I realized it could be done in one year. I might actually go insane with all that driving and NFL overload, but I’m sure I will be ok! [laughs]"