Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Vikings, Steelers to play in London
CHICAGO -- The NFL is doubling down on London.
The league announced Tuesday that the Minnesota Vikings will host the Pittsburgh Steelers at London's Wembley Stadium on Sept. 29, 2013.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will host the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley on Oct. 27, 2013. This is the first time the NFL will play two regular-season games in London in the same season.
"This is a very significant and important step for our fans in the UK and our teams in general," commissioner Roger Goodell said. "It comes back to believing in the fans in the UK and in London. We wanted to deliver two games to our fans in London."
The Vikings previously played a preseason game in London in 1983.
"This is an opportunity to grow our brand and to grow the game of football internationally," Vikings president Mark Wilf said. "We have fans throughout the world. It will give excellent and exceptional exposure for the team."
The Steelers have never played in London, but did have an exhibition game in Dublin. They have played seven international exhibition games, the last against the Buffalo Bills in Toronto four years ago.
Steelers president Art Rooney kidded that "a certain member of our family has been pushing to have a game in Dublin," referring to his father, Dan, the team owner who is the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.
"We'll be able to play in front of Steelers fans in Europe. It's the first opportunity we've had."
Goodell has long championed more international games. He said some consideration has been given to playing the games earlier than 6 p.m. local time (1 p.m. ET) to provide a television tripleheader beginning at, say, 10:30 a.m. in the eastern time zone.
"That may happen in the future," Goodell said.
St. Louis hosts New England on Oct. 28 in this year's game at Wembley.