Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Cameron Brate was among several NFL players who toured the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week. At a cost of about $1 billion, the stadium features a retractable grass pitch for soccer and an NFL-regulation turf floor beneath. It’s is sure to set the bar for sports stadiums designed moving forward. The magnificent facility was designed by architectural firm Populous – the same firm that designed several NFL stadiums such as Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, New Era Field in Buffalo and Arizona’s State Farm Stadium.
Across the Pond
When the Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers October 13th in the new stadium, it will mark the third time the Bucs have played across the pond. It is also the third time the Buccaneers are the home team. The silver lining might be the old saying “the third time’s the charm”. The Bucs are currently 0-2 in merry ol’ England, but they look to reverse that trend this year.
Not Really A Home Game
Back in 2009, the 0-7 Buccaneers would host the New England Patriots in their first game at Wembley Stadium. That game would result in a 33-7 loss for the home team, to run their record to 0-8. Just two years later, the Buccaneers would find themselves scheduled once again to play in her majesty’s backyard. Entering the game with a 4-3 record, the team once again found themselves on the losing end. They lost to the Chicago Bears, 24-18. Highlights of that game include a first-quarter safety for the Bucs, and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes for Josh Freeman. One to tight end Kellen Winslow…what?
NFL International Series
As part of the NFL International Series, there are four games to be played in the United Kingdom this year. The Buccaneers/Panthers, along with the Bears/Raiders the week before. Wembley Stadium will host the Bengals/Rams on October 27th and Texans/Jaguars the following week. Rounding out the NFL International Series for the 2019 season will be a November 18th matchup between the Chiefs/Rams in Mexico City at Estadio Azteca.
But There’s Hope
Of the 46 teams (23 games) that have been played in London, 15 of those teams would make the playoffs that year. Seven of those have occurred in the last two years. Having a game scheduled on another continent doesn’t appear to be a death sentence for a team’s playoff chances. What remains to be seen is if the “home” game in England against the Panthers coming during a seven week stretch of no games at Raymond James Stadium will motivate or eliminate those playoff aspirations.
Photo credit: kaiserslautern.armymwr.com