The NFL has plenty of traditions when it comes to scheduling its games. We all know the NFL absolutely owns Thanksgiving, as watching football all day is as synonymous with our national holiday as turkey is. The NFL also owns the biggest night in primetime with Sunday Night Football, and course also owns Monday night during the football season. The NFL’s dominance with the Super Bowl also goes without saying. Another scheduling quirk that the NFL has implemented over the last decade is the International Series.
It all started in 2007 when two NFL teams traveled to Wembley Stadium in London to play in front of over 80,000 British fans. Six years later, the NFL would add more and more games to this series, as now four regular season games were played outside the United States this season including one in Mexico City. Here are the top three games from the NFL International Series.
October 26, 2014: Detroit Lions defeat the Atlanta Falcons 22-21
Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions came out flat in their first ever trip to London. The Falcons led the Lions 21-0 at halftime, with Matt Ryan leading the way with two touchdowns behind a great defensive outing in the first half. The script flipped in the second half thanks to the foot of Matt Prater. The Lions would go on a 22-0 run to erase the three-touchdown deficit, highlighted by a 48-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. Prater originally missed a 43-yard field goal but got another chance when the play was whistled dead due to a delay of game penalty, an automatic penalty. The kick was moved back five yards, which must have made Prater more comfortable as his kick iced the comeback at Wembley.
October 2, 2016: Jacksonville Jaguars defeat the Indianapolis Colts 30-27
The Jaguars and Colts kicked off the mark of the 10th anniversary of the International Series earlier this season. The Jags were in control for most of the game, as they led 23-6 at the end of three quarters. The win wouldn’t come easy to the Jags, who entered the game 0-3 and seeking their first victory of the season, as Andrew Luck almost pulled off the comeback. Luck would lead the Colts to three touchdowns in the fourth, including a 64-yard touchdown to Phillip Dorsett with three minutes left in the game to pull the game to 30-27. After a three and out by the Jags, the defense would make a stand on 4th down for only the offense to punt the ball once again. Luck would get the ball with only 26 seconds left in the game on his own 18 yard, which resulted in a number of laterals in a last ditch effort. Fans got the opportunity to watch Luck work his comeback magic, but fell just short of him fully pulling it off.
October 28, 2007: New York Giants defeat the Miami Dolphins 13-10
You know what they say, the first time is always the one you remember the most. Don’t be too surprised, but it was a rainy day in London for their first ever NFL game. Eli Manning and the Giants held a 10-0 lead at half over the Cleo Lemon led Dolphins. Yes, Cleo Lemon! It was a sloppy, but memorable game nonetheless. The NFL started a new tradition that has only gotten bigger and bigger as the years went on, as the Giants would go on and win this game 13-10 as part of their Super Bowl season, while the Dolphins would finish with a putrid 1-15 record. The Dolphins would go on and visit London two more times with another trip scheduled for 2017. The Giants would return to London this season, beating the Rams 17-10 as they played the first NFL game at Twickenham Stadium.