I love American football. Actually, to be honest, that’s a total understatement. I live and breathe American football from August to February. Even though I grew up in Washington, D.C., I’m a Detroit Lions fan through and through. My Dad was born and raised in Michigan, instilling his love and passion (and occasional frustration) of the Lions in me. As a young boy, he remembers them winning the NFL Championship (pre-Super Bowl) in 1957. Lions football is a special bond between me and my Dad. Whenever I’m home, I spend every Sunday afternoon planted on the couch watching the game with my Dad. It’s just our thing…we love football and we love the Detroit Lions!
When I found out the Lions were playing in London this season, I knew I had to get tickets. And then I found out the tickets went on sale on my birthday. It was a sign from God that I was meant to be at the game! So I rounded up a group of my American friends plus the token Brit and we headed off to London this weekend to see the Lions beat the Atlanta Falcons! :)
The weekend started at the NFL Fan Rally at Trafalagar Square on Saturday. They brought out the main players of the Lions (can you see Stafford, Bush, Megatron, Suh, Raiola, etc. plus Head Coach Caldwell??) who all gave some sort of inspiring, pump-up speech. After totally fangirling over them, we got to mingle with the crowd and bond with other fans from both near and far!
Me and my boyyyssss! Laurence is a Brit (and thus has no favorite NFL team), Greg is a huge Green Bay fan (yuck), and Paul is a die-hard Saints fan. The Lions beat the Saints the week before the game in London so it was a bit awkward for Paul to now be rooting for the Lions. However, as he said, the Falcons are sworn enemies of the Saints so he had to be a Lions fan!
Representatives from the NFL were handing out temporary tattoos…so obviously Greg and I had to put them on our face. We awkwardly forgot about them the rest of the day and went to restaurants, bars, etc. with them on our face :)
Getting interviewed by a reporter from the Detroit Free Press. It was such an exciting moment for me. I mean, a major newspaper that I read wanted to interview me! Unfortunately, I don’t think my interview made the cut but it was still an exciting experience (and thank you Greg for your quick thinking and snatching this photo of me being interviewed!).
We woke up bright and early for the game on Sunday! Thankfully, due to daylight savings happening in Europe this past weekend, we got an extra hour of sleep. Yippee! The game was being played at Wembley Stadium and was completely sold out. It was pretty awesome!
Because Laurence is British, we gave him the honor of wearing this Lions temporary tattoo face mask! hahaha..it didn’t even last until the second half (although in his fairness, he couldn’t move his face with the mask on and he really wanted to eat!)
Little Mix performing before the game started. You have to admit, their song “Salute” is quite catchy! For anyone who doesn’t know who they are, they’re like the “It” girl band in the United Kingdom right now.
Final play of the game. Sorry for the blurriness but I was jumping up and down, and yelling like crazy! After being down 21-0, the Lions came back and made it 19-21. With 4 seconds left and within field goal range, the Detroit Lions brought on the field goal unit to kick the field goal and win the game. Well, our kicker missed and time had run out. After falling back in my seat, people started asking what was going on on the field. Well, the refs called it a delay of game penalty which meant that our kicker had to back up 5 yards and kick again. By now, I’m screaming and jumping like crazy (I think the Brits had no idea what to do with me. They’re a bit more…subdued. At one point in the 4th quarter, I turned around to our section and yelled at everyone to stand up! haha!). So this picture above is the second field goal attempt. And guess what, our kicker MADE IT! Lions won 22-21. Best game of my life.