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NFL

NFL Hospitality Packages & VIP Tickets

The NFL has become a fixture in London and is always a fantastic day out, whether you’re an avid fan or casual supporter. Spread over several hours, a hospitality package is the ideal way to take in the whole spectacle.

October 2022
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Guides

for NFL Games

A Guide to NFL

Introduction

American Football had long been a bit of a mystery to us in the UK. For decades it seemed people in the UK just couldn’t get their head around it – it was seen as less ‘manly’ than rugby, and much more complicated than cricket. We just didn’t see the point.

That’s all changed now though – with better coverage, more NFL games being played in this country and the rising popularity of the NFL Fantasy Football game, we are becoming a country obsessed with the NFL. We can appreciate it for what it is – an incredible spectacle of sport.

That doesn’t mean we know everything though – so we thought it would be helpful to provide you with this simple guide to the NFL – covering a little of the history, NFL rules, how to follow an NFL game and how you can experience an NFL game in person – an absolute must for any sports fan.

NFL guide - intro
NFL Guide - History

A (very) Short History of the NFL

While American Football had existed for a long time, the first NFL (National Football League) season was in 1922. It wasn’t really the sport that it has since become, with games between teams like Milwaukee Badgers and Rock Island Independents, the format was just a simple league – something much easier for us in the UK to understand than the current sport!

Since then, the NFL has undergone many changes over the last century, with divisions being introduced in 1950 which split the teams geographically between east and west. This was complicated further in 1960 when the American Football League was created to rival the NFL. In 1967, the winner of the two rival leagues would meet as the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in what would become known as the first-ever Super Bowl.

In 1970, the NFL and the AFL merged, creating two different conferences – the National Football Conference and American Football Conference – playing under the banner of the NFL, under NFL rules. This was the last major change to the format of the NFL, but still many teams (or franchises as they are known) undergo changes – with entire teams moving to different cities.

As the sport has grown in popularity in the USA, there has been an attempt to grow the NFL around the world, with more matches being played in other countries, particularly here in the UK. A few matches a year tend to get played over here, and they are always incredibly popular, being seen as an essential experience for any sports fan.

NFL Rules

There are loads of NFL rules, an intimidating amount, in fact. Here is a basic review to give you enough to understand what is happening.

The objective

The highest score wins – in order to score points you need to run with the ball into the end zone of your opponents, or throw the ball for a teammate to catch while in the endzone (a touchdown – worth 6 points). You can also kick the ball through the posts to kick a field goal (worth 3 points).

If you score a touchdown you get the opportunity to kick the ball through the posts for an extra point or attempt to get into the end zone again to score an extra 2 points.

Getting the ball downfield

When in possession of the ball (the offensive team) you have four chances (called downs) to advance the ball 10 yards – if the defensive team manages to stop you from doing this, possession is turned over to them, if you succeed, you get a new set of downs. Usually, a team will have three attempts, and if they are still short of their yards, they will kick the ball downfield as far as possible so that the other team has to start from further up the pitch – this is called a punt.

Your progress is usually described as what down you are on, how many yards you need to advance to get a new set of downs and where you are on the pitch. So for example, “2nd and 6 on your own 22” would mean that you are on your second down, you need to get 6 more yards for a new set of downs and you are 22 yards away from your own goal line.

The make-up of an NFL roster

An NFL roster (or squad) will be made of three main teams:

Offensive teams

The team that comes on when a team is in possession of the ball. The main guy is the Quarterback who will receive the ball and then hand it to a ball carrier (usually one of his Running Backs) for a run play, throw it forward to one of his Wide Receivers or Tight Ends, or run with it himself. At the front will be the Offensive Line, big fellas whose job it is to protect players, especially the Quarterback, from the defensive team.

Defensive teams

The team that comes on when the opposing team has the ball. This team is made up of the Defensive Line – another group of big lads, Linebackers – who line up behind the defensive line and react to the offensive team calls, and the Secondary (made up of Cornerbacks and a Safety) – who defend deeper to stop the opposition from getting into the end zone.

Special Teams

As set-piece specialists, the special team comes on when the ball is about to be kicked. The kicking team will have a separate punter and kicker, depending on whether they are attempting a field goal, or just punting it down the pitch. This tends to be their only role in the whole game, coming on for only these plays.

The receiving team may have a designated kick returner, who will be in charge of catching the ball and running as far back up the pitch as possible.

How long is an NFL game?

An NFL game is 60 minutes long, made up of four quarters, 15 minutes each. However, each team gets 3 time-outs a half and the clock stops after every incomplete pass, every time it is carried off the pitch, every time a team scores and every time possession changes hands.

As a result, the average NFL game takes around 3 to 4 hours from when the game starts. This may sound like a long time, but it usually flies by for the spectators – and there is plenty of time to get drinks and snacks!

How to follow what’s happening in an NFL game

It’s all very well knowing the rules, but how do you apply that to actually watching an NFL game – here are some pointers to help you get more out of watching the NFL.

Watch the Quarterback

There is a lot going on when you look down the pitch, even before the ball becomes active – but it is only the quarterback that really matters initially. He will receive the Snap (when the ball is passed backwards to start a play) from the offensive line and then dictate the play. He will fake actions to try and confuse the defensive team, and that may work on you too – but ultimately he will either throw the ball, hand it off to one of his running backs or run it himself.

Keep an eye on the Play Clock

The offensive team has 40 seconds to snap the ball between each play (outside of time-outs) – otherwise, they will face a delayed game penalty. Teams will often run down the clock to nearly run out of time to tempt the opposition to move – forcing a penalty.

Penalties

We could write an entire article on the various penalties in the NFL, which are usually indicated by a flag being thrown onto the pitch. But don’t worry – the officials explain every penalty decision on loudspeakers so that everyone knows what is happening.

Maths is important!

The maximum that a team can score when they have possession of the ball is 8 points (a touchdown plus a two-point conversion), so a 9-point lead is a big one – a two-possession lead. As the game reaches the fourth quarter, the number of points that a team leads by becomes increasingly important – how much time is left, how many times might the opposing team get the ball. It will dictate whether a team goes all-out for a touchdown – risking losing possession of the ball – or whether they settle for three points and kick a field goal.

Time Management

The amount of time left in the game will have a huge influence on play calls – if a team is protecting a lead, they will look to run down the clock with running plays, keeping the ball in play so the clock continues to run. If they were to throw the ball, they may get closer to the defence’s end zone, but there is more risk that the  catches and gains possession of the ball.

Sacks & Interceptions

The prime objective of the defence is to ensure that the offensive team doesn’t get into the end zone. They do this by stopping them from advancing 10 yards in the four downs – applying pressure to the quarterback and ball carriers. If they manage to tackle the Quarterback behind the line of scrimmage (where the play starts from), the offensive team loses yards – this is called a sack.

The best outcome for the defensive team is to gain possession either by intercepting a pass or by forcing the opposing team to fumble the ball, which they then recover. It is possible for the defensive players to score a touchdown if they reach the end zone after this happens.

How does an NFL Season work?

One of the things that have bamboozled UK followers of the NFL is how exactly a season plays out – it is not simply a case of playing every team home and away – there is much more to it than that! Let’s take a look:

What is the schedule like?

The NFL consists of 32 teams, which are split into two conferences – the NFC and the AFC, as covered in the History section. Within each conference, the teams are split into four divisions – North, South, East and West, with four teams in each one. Every team will play 17 games over 18 weeks, with one bye week – this makes up the Regular Season.

These matches are made up of games against:

  • the other teams from its division – 6 matches (3 at home and 3 away (on the road))
  • teams from a division within its conference – 4 matches (2 home, 2 on the road)
  • teams from a division from the other conference – 4 matches (2 home, 2 on the road)
  • teams from the two remaining divisions in their own conference – 2 matches (1 home, 1 on the road)
  • one team from the other conference, from a different division – 1 match (home or on the road)

 

If this seems complicated – it’s because it is. I guess the thing to take away is that every team will have six matches every year the same, and the rest will rotate around the other teams in the NFL. As there are an odd number of games you may play more at home one year and then more on the road the following year.

Some of the matches are determined by where you finished the previous season, some are just on a rotation.

When are NFL games played?

The season begins in early September, and games are played on a Thursday night, Sunday afternoon and night, and Monday night. The time difference means that the matches on a Sunday afternoon are the only ones at sociable hours in the UK!

The first match of the season usually involves the winner of the previous Super Bowl, which this year was the Los Angeles Rams.

What are the playoffs?

The regular season takes the format of a league, or rather 8 mini-leagues. The winner of each of these divisions will automatically qualify for the playoffs, and the remaining six spots will go to the teams with the next-best record – three from each conference.

The teams with the best record in each of the conferences get a bye for the first round of the playoffs, and the remaining six will be drawn against each other based on their seeding – this is the Wild Card round.

The next round will involve the highest seed playing the lowest, and the two in the middle playing each other – and the winners of these two matches will then go against each other in the Conference Championships.

The winners of the two Conference Championship matches will then go head-to-head in the Super Bowl.

What is the Super Bowl?

One of the most eagerly anticipated events in sport, the Super Bowl is a one-off fixture which determines the best team of that year and is the second most-watched annual sporting event in the world – second only to the Champions League final. In the US, the Super Bowl makes up 29 of the 30 most-watched broadcasts of all time.

Always played on the second Sunday in February, the Super Bowl is renowned around the world for the Half Time Show, which features a special performance from music stars with all the glitz and glamour that you would expect.

As such, the Super Bowl is more than just a football game – it is a time when Americans gather together. It is the second-largest event for food consumption in America – only behind Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a big deal.

The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers, both from the NFC, are the record holders for wins in the Super Bowl, with six each. The leading candidates from the AFC are the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers, both with five each. The Detroit Lions are the one team that has existed for the entirety of the Super Bowl era but never played in one.

NFL Guide - which team
nfl guide - which team 2

Which NFL team should I support?

If you are looking to support an NFL team, but don’t have any strong connection to any of them, here’s a quick low-down of a few for you to consider:

New England Patriots

Since the turn of the century, the Patriots have dominated the sport, mainly down to Tom Brady, who was their quarterback. He doesn’t play for them anymore and as such their fortunes have depleted, but they are one of the most recognised teams in the world thanks to Brady’s legacy.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brady’s new team – he won their first Super Bowl for nearly 20 years when he moved there, and despite initially retiring, he has now said he will be playing for the Buccs for the 2022 season. Anything can happen when Brady is playing.

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jags have made London their second home, playing one game a year over here, and as such, they have built up a decent following in the UK. If you want to support a team that you may actually get to see, the Jags are a good shout.

Dallas Cowboys

The Man United of the NFL – a huge franchise, recognised all over the world, but a team that has struggled recently. If they get their act together, they could be a force to be reckoned with, but at the moment, it just isn’t working for them.

Philadelphia Eagles

With a hugely passionate fanbase and an intense rivalry with the New York Giants, the Eagles are an exciting team to follow – even though they often disappoint. They should be more successful than they have been, but something always seems to go wrong, other than in their Super Bowl-winning season in 2017.

Cleveland Browns

After decades of under-performing, it feels like the Browns have turned the corner a bit. If their current trajectory is maintained they could be a major force soon, so this is a great time to start supporting them!

These are just a few options – our advice is to watch a few games and see if anything jumps out at you – the kit, the logos, the fans or some of the players (there are some fantastic personalities in the sport). It won’t be long before you have a new favourite team.

How can I watch the NFL in the UK?

The coverage of the NFL in this country is getting better and better, and we even have the opportunity to go to a few fixtures a season. Here’s how you can keep up with the action:

NFL on UK TV

The BBC have the rights to show NFL highlights on their NFL Show, which is usually broadcast after Match of the Day, and available on the iPlayer.

Channel 5 have an NFL show on Sunday mornings to catch up on all of the action and preview that week’s matches.

Sky Sports have the rights to show live matches – over 100 a season. Some of these are in the early hours of the morning, but Sunday evenings are a great time to watch from 6 pm (UK time). They also broadcast Red Zone on Sky Sports Mix – which is perfect for the casual viewer. It features ‘live highlights’ of all the games at that time, just zipping from game to game whenever something exciting is about to happen. It’s ideal for Fantasy Football players!

Watch the NFL in person in the UK

Since 2007, the NFL has played at least one match outside of the US – mainly in London. This is in an effort to give the NFL more of an international appeal – and it has worked. The fact that the London matches have been free to watch on the BBC has undoubtedly helped expose the NFL to a much wider audience.

The games have been played mainly at Wembley, but also at Twickenham, and now the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium has become another option – with the possibility of hosting NFL matches a consideration during the building of the stadium.

Three matches have been announced in the UK in 2022:

Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 2nd

New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 9th

Denver Broncos vs Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 30th


Demand for tickets for NFL games in the UK is massive, so general admission tickets will sell out very quickly when they are released.

If you would like to guarantee tickets to watch the NFL in London, your best bet is to purchase a hospitality package – and watch the game in luxury!

There is a wide variety of hospitality packages available – from the Premium Lounge with pre match food and fast-track entrance, to a Private Box for up to 21 people with free drinks and a three-course meal. And plenty of options in between.

What’s it like watching an NFL game in London?

There is much more to watching the NFL in London than just the match itself. All over the city, you will find events such as Tailgate Parties outside the stadiums with plenty of things to do, eat, drink and buy – its an experience in itself and certainly worth checking out.

There are different events dotted about in the week leading up to the match where people can meet the players, have a photo with them and get things signed.

It’s a city-wide event, and our advice is that if you are going to go to a match, take the time to experience as much of it as possible. Get there early, make a full day of it and find out why Americans love the NFL – and everything around it – so much.

If you are interested in a hospitality package to watch the NFL in London, please just call us on 0208 053 0278 and we would be happy to help you find the best package for you and your party. Secure tickets today for a truly wonderful sporting spectacle.

The NFL London games is firmly entrenched in the regular NFL season and has gone from a novelty one off, to a regular fixture that is highly anticipated each year. We must confess that we weren’t the biggest fans when it first came over, but the Americans sure do put on a show and their relentless enthusiasm has rubbed off, making these games some of the most exciting hospitality events you can enjoy.

In 2022, they will also be visiting Europe, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosting the Seattle Seahawks at the Allianz Arena in Munich. With demand set to be high for all four games, we take you through the best ways to get tickets and VIP packages to the NFL London games.

Season Tickets

The NFL offer a season ticket package for the 3 London fixtures, guaranteeing your place at each one. Initially, these will be offered to existing season ticket holders from 20th June, who would like to renew from previous seasons. Once this has passed, new customers will be able to buy these season tickets from 30th June.

Single game Tickets

The sale windows for each game differs, so its worth keeping an eye on dates. For the games at the Tottenham Stadium these are on sale from 26th July and for Wembley these are already on sale. If you want to go to Munich, these are on sale on 19th July

Hospitality Packages and Premium Tickets

At Events Hospitality, we offer premium tickets, hospitality packages and corporate boxes for all of the NFL games in London. We are on sale with various options, which can be seen on each event page here:

Vikings v Saints – Tottenham Stadium
Giants v Packers – Tottenham Stadium
Broncos v Jaguars – Wembley Stadium

If you have any specific questions of requirements for these, please just call us on 0208 053 0278 and we would be happy to help.