Football fans were in for a pre-Halloween treat this past Sunday when the Bills played the Jaguars. The treated wasn’t limited to Bills, Jaguars, or citizens of London, but it was available to the entire world. This was the first NFL game in history to be live streamed. This gave the everyday NFL fan a chance to watch two teams (who rarely play on national television) go head to head from his or her computer screen (although if you lived on the West Coast you needed to be up at 6:30 a.m.). This was a big step for the NFL both from the streaming perspective and having yet another game overseas in London.
In terms of the actual game the Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Buffalo Bills 34-31. The Jaguars established a strong lead going into the third quarter with 27 points scored in the second quarter. After EJ Manuel (Bills Quarterback) had some ups and downs, his performance improved as Buffalo scored 18 points the last quarter, but came up short in the end. This put the Bills below .500, but put them another week closer to getting back their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor, after losing him to a MCL sprain two weeks prior.
The NFL is streaming games. To say this a few seasons back would have been insane. Media and technology are such big parts of people’s everyday lives that it seems that the NFL had to give in at some point. Yahoo sports earned the rights to the game, but it didn’t come cheap. According to CNN.com, Yahoo dished out nearly 20 million dollars for the rights to stream the game. This gave Yahoo an in to the NFL and helped build a business relationship for the future. Thursday night football is currently aired on CBS or NFL network depending on the week. CNN.com also reported that Yahoo will try to snag some of those Thursday night games. With more streaming games possibly coming, everyone comes out a winner. NFL sells the rights to games for major cash to Yahoo. Yahoo gets millions back in Ad time they sell, and popularity increases. While the viewers can watch games without cable, and enjoy the game from their tablet, laptop, or even their phone. Culture is shifting toward a more media-technology centered way of life and the NFL is shifting right along with it.
This game had other impacts and one was the fact that the NFL is still having games overseas. The players might not like the jet lag, but the NFL loves its European fans. The reason for so many avid fans is the leftover supporters and die-hards from the days of NFL Europe (aka World League of American Football). NFL Europe lasted from 1995-2007 and had a year stint from 1991-1992. Twelve years is certainly enough to develop a large fan base, especially one that constantly wants to feel the pride and joy they felt when their country had an American football team. NFL has gotten so big in England that there are leagues scattered around for children and adults to partake in the game. The most established and biggest league seems to be the “British American Football League”. They have teams for kids to play flag football and eventually put the pads on and play full contact. NFL games in Europe should continue and maybe branch out to other European countries and the NFL can do this and keep players happy at the same time. Having Europe games before or after the teams bye week will make sure they have one extra week before the game to rest or one after the game to rest to account for travel time.
NFL games outside the USA are getting so popular that the NFL hopes to play in Mexico City next year as well.
– Luis Rosario