London trip could be a distraction

January, 15, 2010
1/15/10
3:10
PM ET
Maybe a trip to London will be enough to make Brandon Marshall want to remain in Denver.

Or maybe not.

I wouldn’t blame Marshall, or any other member of the Broncos, if he wasn’t thrilled about the idea of playing a regular-season game overseas. But that’s what the team is going to have to deal with.

The Broncos announced they will play San Francisco on Oct.31 at Wembley Stadium as part of the NFL’s recent trend of playing a regular-season game in London. The Broncos have played several preseason games overseas over the years. Denver owner Pat Bowlen and coach Josh McDaniels expressed excitement about this opportunity in a statement released by the team.

“The Denver Broncos are honored to play in London against the 49ers as part of the NFL’s International Series,” Bowlen said. “Our organization has been fortunate to play in several American Bowls in previous years, including one in London, but to play a regular-season game overseas is truly special. It’s a wonderful, historic opportunity for our franchise and will be an unforgettable experience for our players, coaches and fans. I’m excited for the game in London and am thrilled that the Broncos will be part of the NFL’s continued international growth.”

Added McDaniels: “Playing in London in front of so many passionate and new football fans is a privilege and will be a great experience for our team. I’m excited for the opportunity, and I am certain that our players and coaches will share my enthusiasm. The previous games in London have had a playoff-like atmosphere to them, so that’s always a good thing to play in that type of an environment. We’ll be ready for the challenge.”

The game is a home game for San Francisco, so, at least, Denver doesn’t lose a home game because of this excursion.

That’s the only positive I can see. This trip is potential a distraction. It can tire a team and cause them to lose focus during the season.

Expect Denver to get its bye week directly after the London trip. That has been the recent trend. It wouldn’t be a shock if Denver is assigned to play at Jacksonville or Baltimore the week before the London game to help cut down on travel time. Those are the two most Eastern road opponents on Denver’s schedule.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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