Oct 26, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General view of the playing of the United States national anthem before the NFL International Series game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. The Lions defeated the Falcons 22-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
A home at Wembley
On game day, Wembley Way was once again filled with a sea of colors from every NFL team as 83,532 fans filled the home of the English national soccer team.
The majority of the crowd weren’t Falcons fans, and there were a selection of Lions fans there, but the neutrals tended to get behind Atlanta. Under each seat was a Falcons flag, and the Wembley crowd made plenty of noise on Lions’ third-down situations.
Oct 26, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) drives past Detroit Lions outside linebacker Tahir Whitehead (59) during the second half of the game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
It was a perfect opening half for the Falcons as they raced to a 21-0 lead. The Lions offense couldn’t get going, and Atlanta looked like they were heading home from London with a victory.
Unfortunately, Detroit pulled off a dramatic comeback, much like they did against New Orleans, to win the game on a walk-off field goal.
There was plenty of controversy with the field goal, though. Lions kicker Matt Prater initially missed the kick, which would have given the Falcons victory, but the play clock had already expired.
Even with a five-yard penalty for delay of game, Prater’s second kick was good. Plenty of fans were left confused, and Falcons fans were frustrated.
Despite that, with the exception of the Falcons supporters in attendance, fans left happy after seeing a great game of football, which was a true advert for the NFL in the United Kingdom.
Oct 24, 2014; London, UNITED KINGDOM; General aerial view of the Tower Bridge and the River Thames in advance of the NFL International Series game between the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Overall, the experience was a good one for the Falcons. Maybe with a true home field advantage they would have won the game, and maybe this will put them off returning to London. In future, maybe Arthur Blank would want a road game in London.
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We haven’t heard whether he wants Atlanta to play another game in London, but he believes the International Series is a positive.
“Overall the response has been fabulous. It’s grown slowly but very effectively. And the decision makers in London and the NFL have been progressive about their thinking and added games when they could have games and continued to do so,” wrote Carline.
What did you think of the Falcons playing in the International Series, and what would you think if they returned to London in the future?
Let us know your views.