By Danny Cox
The Pittsburgh Steelers got some good news on Tuesday when the NFL announced that they would be traveling to London next year. On Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, the Steelers will take on the Minnesota Vikings at Wembley Stadium in the first of two NFL games to be played in London next year.
As was previously announced, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face off with the San Francisco 49ers in London on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013.
“We are excited for the opportunity to play in London in 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II. “It will be an excellent chance to grow the game of football internationally, and we are thrilled that our players and Steelers fans around the world will be able to enjoy the atmosphere. We look forward to playing in historic Wembley Stadium in what we are sure will be an entertaining game for NFL fans everywhere.”
More good news for the Steelers and their fans is that Minnesota is designated as the “home team” for this contest. That means that the Pittsburgh home schedule will not be affected in any way, and Steeler fans will still get eight games at Heinz Field in 2013.
“Since we started playing regular-season games in London five years ago, we have heard very clearly from our UK fans – they want more football,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who announced the schedule of 2013 games in London for at the NFL Fall Meeting in Chicago. “We are excited to play two games in London and take this next step in the growth of our game. We believe that more football will lead to more fans.”
This trip will be the second one to Wembley for the Vikings as they played there back in the preseason of 1983. Pittsburgh will be making their first ever trip to London. Well, the first regular season game in London that is.
The Steelers have played in London eight other times before, but they were all preseason games.
Wembley Stadium has been the site of the NFL International Series since it began back in 2007. Five games have been played there so far and there is still the 2012 game to be played in late October. 2013 will mark the first time that two regular season games will be played in London though.
- October 28, 2007: New York Giants 13 – Miami Dolphins 10
- October 26, 2008: New Orleans Saints 37 – San Diego Chargers 32
- October 25, 2009: New England Patriots 35 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7
- October 31, 2010: San Francisco 49ers 24 – Denver Broncos 16
- October 23, 2011: Chicago Bears 24 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 18
- October 28, 2012: New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams
- September 29, 2013: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Minnesota Vikings
- October 27, 2013: San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
While the full games have yet to be determined for years following 2013, at least one of the participants is known. The Jacksonville Jaguars have already announced they have agreed to play a home game in London starting in 2013 through 2016.
Even though the NFL Europe League ended up failing and closing up shop years ago, there is still a desire for professional football in London. The NFL has liked the success and turn-outs that have been at the games, and that is why 2013 will begin two games a season being played in Wembley.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.