LONDON — The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins will travel to London next year to take part in the NFL International Series, the league announced Thursday.
The NFL will hold three games at Wembley Stadium in 2014, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders as the designated home teams.
The lineup: Cowboys vs. Jaguars, Lions vs. Falcons, and Dolphins vs. Raiders.
Dates are to be determined.
The Cowboys have played preseason games abroad before, but the prospect of playing in London was absolutely appetizing to coach Jason Garrett.
“It’s a great opportunity for our organization to go over there and play and we’re going to do what we need to do logistically to play our best,” Garrett said. “It’s Wembley Stadium, for crying out loud. It’s one of the great stadiums in the world.”
Lions All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson said it will be “interesting,” to make his first trip to London, but hopes the game isn’t scheduled before the team’s annual short week.
“Hopefully, it’s just not around the Thanksgiving time or the week before,” Johnson said.
Lions president Tom Lewand saw the game as an opportunity to promote his city, which filed for bankruptcy this year.
“The global platform also presents a unique and special opportunity for our fans and business partners to join us in sharing the many positive stories about the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan and the Lions,” Lewand said in a statement.
The Jaguars are playing four games over four seasons in London, starting on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jacksonville is a kind of designated home team for London, as it has given up one of its eight regular-season home games for four seasons.
“I know that the opportunity to play here is exciting for our guys,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Thursday. “But right now our focus is completely on San Francisco.”
It will be the first regular-season trip to London for Dallas, Detroit, Atlanta and Oakland next season, when the NFL increases the number of overseas games from 2013’s two.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of preseason games to where we played in Mexico or England or Toronto or Japan and all those things, but again, those were preseason games,” Garrett said. “[We’ll have to] ask the teams that have been over there for the regular season games, how they prepared, the logistics of things. I know some teams are going over early, some teams are going over later. Try to work through all of those logistics to give ourselves a chance to play our best.”
The Dolphins return to London after losing to the New York Giants 13-10 in 2007 in the first game of the current series.
Last month, the Minnesota Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley.
Photo via Twitter/@UKinUSA
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