London to receive double dose of NFL in 2013
Traditionally, the NFL has hosted one regular-season game in London since 2007, with nine teams taking part in the rotation. In light of that series, the St. Louis Rams and host the New England Patriots in London on Oct. 27 of this season.
The NFL gave birth to a new tradition by introducing two regular-season games to be played in London from the 2013-16 season.
"Since we started playing regular-season games in London five years ago, we have heard very clearly from our UK fans — they want more football," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“We are honored to represent the NFL on a global level,” stated Minnesota Vikings Owner and President, “and we look forward to playing in front of our international fan base.”
Initially, the St. Louis Rams were slotted to play NFL’s first regular-season game in London in Week 4 of the 2013 season. But since the St. Louis Rams could not respond due to contractual obligations with municipalities and stadium authorities, the Minnesota Vikings filled in. The Minnesota Vikings have a flexible lease agreement on Metrodome, and are the ideal team to sacrifice a home game for the purpose since the franchise is considering playing a season at the University of Minnesota’s stadium while their new venue is being built.
The occasion will mark the Minnesota Vikings’ first abroad game in 18 years, since the team played a preseason game against the St. Louis Rams in London during 1983. The Minnesota Vikings beat the St. Louis Rams 28-10. Consequently, the Minnesota Vikings will be left with only seven home games to play at the Metrodome in the 2013 season.
“This is a unique opportunity for the Vikings organization to highlight our brand on an international level,” stated Mark Wilf. “Playing in London provides exceptional exposure to the team, as well as Minnesota’s impressive business community and tourism industry.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have never played an international game in London, during their extensive NFL history. However, the team has played seven international exhibitions, with the last game four years ago against the Buffalo Bills on Toronto.
"We are thrilled that our players and Steelers fans around the world will be able to enjoy the atmosphere at historic Wembley Stadium," stated Pittsburgh Steelers President Art Rooney II.
In the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers’ last ten meetings, both teams went home with an even set of victories. The Minnesota Vikings last defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers with a 22-42 record at Three Rivers Stadium in 1995.
"We are excited to play two games in London and take this next step in the growth of our game,” stated Roger Goodell. “We believe that more football will lead to more fans."