Mon. May 27th, 2024

American football: Not confined to America

By Daniel Nuttman Feb 17, 2021

The NFL season finished over a week ago, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl for the first time since 2003.

Interest in the sport in UK has continued to grow due to mass coverage on channels such as Sky Sports and the BBC. 

Kingston University student Charlie Horne plays for the university American football team and is on the Kingston University sports performance programme.

He says that playing the sport outside of America is interesting as there are still many people who don’t watch it in England.

Horne said: “Even though it is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK it’s still uncommon to find people who are really interested in the sport which means you have an instant connection to the people in this community when you find them.

“Playing the sport in this country is also an interesting but brilliant experience. I’ve not played any sport that has a better team feeling and bond that what you get playing American football.”

Horne says that it was good to watch the NFL this season because he was able to get tips from the way the professionals play, as well as viewing as a fan.

He said: “I am a proud Ravens fan so although I didn’t get to see my team go all the way it was a great season regardless. I always try to watch as much of the season as possible and it is great being able to see the best in the world and try to learn from them. But mostly just watching the games for the pure excitement of it is worth staying up for the late games.”

Horne also described how inspiring it is to watch some of the best American football players in the world perform, and the work they put in to being the best they can be.

He said: “I think players like Tom Brady and Mahomes are fantastic examples for any fan, even though many people hate on Tom Brady.

“Seeing him go from being drafted 199th overall to becoming a player with more Super Bowl wins to his name then any of the 32 NFL organisations is incredible to see and does show that you can make it with the hard work and perseverance that they have. And that can be applied to anything in life, not just this sport.”

The NFL has been hosting annual games in England since 2007, with stadiums such as Wembley and Twickenham used for a small number of regular-season games each year.

Horne said that he hopes that one day the sport in this country will be able to grow to a similar level to that in America.

He said: “I would be lying if I said that I don’t still daydream about playing in the NFL. I always hope that more people take up this sport so that it grows until we have games being played in filled stadiums with more teams to let anyone who wants to try the sport have the opportunity to do so.

“This game has done so much for me and I want it to do the same for so many others.”

The NFL has signed a deal to host games in London until at least 2028, and it is hoped that the popularity of the sport in the UK will continue to grow off the back of this.

By Daniel Nuttman

Third year journalism student at Kingston University, currently the sports editor on The River. Interests include football, boxing and sports writing.

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