The NFL's annual trip to London has become less a football game and more a diplomatic mission in an effort to globalize the game and make players like Tom Brady as popular across the pond as they are in the states.
This will be the second time that Brady and the Patriots have made the pilgrimage to England, bringing their fast-paced version of football to a country that loves another fast-paced game by the same name.
"I hope it continues to
grow, and that's why we're here," said Brady in a news conference Friday. "We're here to kind of be ambassadors for the
NFL, and I think the players understand that. The players are excited about
Culturally, America has become almost as football-obsessed as England is soccer-obsessed. Much like any other movement, the growth of American football in England will have to begin at the youth level, something Brady understands.
"Growing up as a kid,
we played two-hand touch, which I'm sure all the American kids do," Brady said. "Football is a bit
unique to America. But, there's a lot that goes into
American football with the rules and the equipment and the amount of players
that you need and referees.
"There's the team
element to this game, and structure of the game and scheme of the game is so
critical to our success. … Every single guy
has an important role, and unless that person does that role, then it doesn't
usually end up being a good play."
As far as the other major sport in England, rugby, Brady said his skill set would not do him well in the physical, pad-free game.
"I have a lot of
respect for those guys. They are some tough guys," Brady said. "It wouldn't be my
type of game where you have to run fast. I'm lucky enough to be in a situation
where I kind of stand there and throw to the fast guys."
With any luck, the fast guys will help the Patriots put on a show that makes this ambassadorial trip to England a productive one for the NFL.
Photo via Facebook/New England Patriots