Touchdown in the UK

by Blythe Harkins

Touchdown!  America football is here to stay in the UK.  The United Kingdom just celebrated the 100th anniversary of when the first game was played in London on November 23, 1910.  There are 45 teams that comprise the Division 1 and Division 2 teams as well as the 64 teams on the collegiate level including our home team, the Edinburgh Napier Knights.  The British American Football Association also known as BAFA is the governing body for this great sport here in the UK.  BAFA recognises both contact and non contact versions of the sport.  There are also flag teams for the youth level.

The pigskin that is used in the game. Credit: stock.xchng

Football is a beloved sport in America, and the NFL crosses the pond to play a professional game in the UK once a year.  The first game was played in Wembley Stadium on August 3rd, 1986 between the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys with the final score being Bears 17, Cowboys 6. This game was part of the American Bowl Series.  After a nine games the Series was dissolved.  The in 2005 the NFL International Series was introduced, as a way of expanding the NFL abroad.  And American Football still has a driving force in the UK with Sky Sports covering and broadcasting live games.  There is a minimum of six games that are shown each week during the regular football season.  Accompanying the live games, Sky also broadcasts several sports news shows and highlight shows.  This year, on October 31, 2010 the San Francisco 49ers acting as the home team and the Denver Broncos acting as the away team.   The game took place at Wembley Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers defeating the Broncos 24 to 16.


Full contact hold no bars. Credit: stock.xchng

The future of American football in the UK is very promising with now over 70 amateur teams in the British American Football Association Community Leagues.  Scotland is also gaining yardage with the American National Football League.  Alistair Kirkwood, the NFL UK boss, has revealed that Scotland is in talks to host two professional football games in the year 2012.  With the huge following that American Football has here in the United Kingdom, this game is here to stay.