The NFL’s annual trip across the pond to the UK has come to an end with the Philadelphia Eagles delivering a beating to the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium last Sunday.
The players may have returned home but confusion reigns in England’s capital as English Premier League sides Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City kicked off on the Wembley pitch less than 24 hours after the Jaguars and Eagles had played.
Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola raised concerns prior to the game about how damaged the pitch may be with those looking to place sports bets with the best odds left in a quandary as to whether to factor the condition of the pitch into the assessment.
As it was, the condition of the pitch was not the problem but rather the NFL markings that caused a number of players confusion.
The Wembley pitch (when set up for soccer) is considerably wider than NFL fields, meaning the NFL sideline markings and yard lines were clearly visible despite the groundsmen best efforts.
Manchester City defender John Stones highlighted the problem saying the NFL markings were a distraction and caused issues for their wide men.
As it was, Manchester City won the game 1-0 in an entertaining contest between two of the Premier League’s top sides.
However, the Premier League match should never have taken place at Wembley in the first place but for Tottenham Hotspurs stadium delays.
Initially, the club was set to move into their new all singing and all dancing stadium on the 15th September but safety issues caused that to be put back.
The hope was that Tottenham’s home game against Burnley on the 15th December would be the new opening date for the Stadium on the site of the clubs old ground White Hart Lane, but it emerged just last week that the stadium will not be ready for the remainder of the season.
It is yet another blow for Tottenham as Spurs officials have a deal in place with the NFL to host matches at the new stadium.
The week six clash between the Oakland Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks was due to open the London games for 2018 on the 14th October but the game had to be switched to Wembley stadium as soon as the club found out they could not fulfill their obligations to the NFL.
However, it is not all bad news as for 2019, the NFL has confirmed London will host four games with at least two of those set to be played at the Lilywhites new stadium.
Let’s just hope in 12 months’ time the thing is actually open!