October 29, 2010
Having the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos represent NFL football in London is like sending out Ke$ha to represent American music. Or "Saw VI" to represent American film. Or the "rent is too damn high" guy to hold the flag of American politicians.
Sadly, though, an uninspiring matchup including one of the worst teams in the NFL has become routine for the league's annual international showcase at Wembley Stadium. For the fourth consecutive year, the NFL will unintentionally export a shoddy product to the UK.
When the matchup between the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers was announced in January, it seemed like a good fit between two up-and-coming teams. Denver had collapsed in 2009 after a 6-0 start, but figured to contend in the AFC West. San Francisco was once again one of the hot preseason picks and favored to win the NFC West.
It didn't quite work out that way. Both the Broncos and Niners are two of the league's most disappointing teams. San Francisco has one of the most inept offenses in the NFL, while Denver features one of the worst defenses. Coaches Josh McDaniels and Mike Singletary are on the hot seat. It's hardly the marquee game the NFL had hoped it would be nine months ago.
That continues a trend for games in London. In three out of the four years the NFL has played in the UK, the game has included a team with the worst record in the NFL. (That's tremendously bad luck. They couldn't do that again if they tried.) The other year featured two teams under .500.
2010: Denver Broncos (2-5) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-6)
Part of this is due to the fact that no good team wants to give up a home date to play in London. Most of it is due to plain ol' bad luck.
Roger Goodell has hinted at placing a permanent franchise in London. It doesn't sound like a good idea, but who knows. Over 80,000 tickets have been sold to Sunday's game. If Brits are willing to watch a dud game like this, imagine how excited they'd be to watch good teams battle it out.
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