What was your first exposure to the NFL ?
Was it one of these ?
For many in the UK for a long time, the most exposure we got to the NFL was the occasional highlight package or watching the Super Bowl one Sunday a year. Now the NFL in the UK (And Europe) is, as Antonio Brown may say, ‘Boomin’, This year in the UK there will be 3 regular season games in London, all sell out. There will be 20 games played (over a 10 year period) at Tottenham’s new Stadium once it opens in 2018. But none of this brought me to the NFL
An american football game on the Sega Megadrive (genesis) by some guy called John Madden, I did not have a clue what I was doing, all I knew was throwing hail marys sounded cool and it was a lot of fun especially when that little ambulance rolled onto the field. I have played madden almost every year since, but never for very long, because well I still didn’t know what I was doing and I never got fully engaged like I could with Fifa or Halo. That all changed the year Madden 25 came out and I joined a league In the UK. Apart from the obvious benefits of being in a league, meeting fellow brits (and the occasional German) , regular games etc. The biggest thing was I started learning the basics of Football.
I learned that its best not to go for it on 4th and 38 on your own 10yd line and it definitely doesn’t happen in real life, I learned what an MLB and CB were, I learned all sorts of things.
So now instead of watching the Super Bowl in a haze of Nachos and fireworks, I was watching in a haze of Nachos, but I was starting to hear terminology I recognised, when the commentator said the WR torched the DB on the slant I knew what he meant, when he said they were in 4th down territory I understood why. I went away and got gamepass so I could watch the condensed games on a Monday morning. I caught the bug!
For me and many others in the UK, Madden isn’t just some game on the Xbox One by some guy called John Madden.
Its an eagerly awaited yearly release by EA and carries the name of one the NFL’s greatest coaches and sports broadcastings finest commentators, it teaches us about the game that relatively speaking we don’t have huge exposure to and is literally teaching us the X’s and O’s. It makes us passionate about the game and the players and teams. I’m even adopting a team this year for the first time (Go Lions!!!). So I hope the NFL realises that it doesn’t need to have Harry Kane in a patriots helmet or OBJ taking penalties, It just needs to give us more Madden.