On October 23, both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chicago Bears will face-off on the other side of the big in a regular season game in London. Over the past few years, the NFL has made regular season games in London an annual tradition. The London games have a massive crowd compared to typical NFL games. For instance, 2007’s contest between the Dolphins and Giants had over 80,000 fans in attendance.
The Buccaneers are currently 4-2 while the Bears stand even at 3-3. Both teams will need to play their best football in order to get a win. The game is actually critical for both teams: The Buccaneers will try to keep pace with the division rival New Orleans Saints, while the Bears try to simply keep their head above water in the playoff race. Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount will not be playing in the game due to a knee injury, so the team will need its bench players to step up and fill the gap.
The game between the Bears and Buccaneers is the fifth and final currently scheduled to be played in London. The overseas games have been part of an initiative by the league known as the NFL International Series, with the goal of expanding the sport’s international fan base. Given the success of the games in London, it seems unlikely that the NFL won’t return to London very soon. The league has explored staging contests in other countries such as Ireland, so a London may become just one of the international stops for the NFL.