The international swaths of Broncos Country were understandably disappointed and frustrated when the Denver Broncos ’2020 game vs. the Atlanta Falcons in London was postponed due to the pandemic. Thankfully, the NFL moved to rectify that as the league announced on Wednesday that the Broncos will be making a trip to London to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 30 at the iconic Wembley Stadium.
It’s been 12 years since the Broncos last took the fight to the UK to face the San Francisco 49ers in a 24-16 loss. For most Broncos fans, the game will always be remembered for former head coach Josh McDaniels authorizing illegal videotaping of his opponent’s practice sessions, costing himself his job.
If you throw in the Broncos’ 1987 preseason appearance at the old Wembley Stadium against the Los Angeles Rams, they are still to post a win on British soil. Ever since that inaugural visit, both British and European-based Broncos fans have passionately grown in numbers and will be expected to turn out in force in late October.
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Hoping that the third time will indeed prove to be a charm, the Broncos will be the road team against the Jaguars in front of what projects to be a sell-out crowd of 80,000-plus. The game will also feature a marquee battle of top quarterbacks, between the Broncos’ nine-time Pro Bowler Russell Wilson and Jacksonville’s massively talented signal-caller Trevor Lawrence.
As recently as the NFL’s spring meetings in Florida, Broncos team president Joe Ellis had been lobbying hard for their 2022 fixture against the Jaguars to be held in London.
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“I know coach [Nathaniel] Hackett and [GM] George [Paton] would be open to the possibility of playing in London, ”Ellis said in late March. “There’s some games in London this year, I’d love to see us. We play the Jaguars, we’ll see if that becomes a possibility. I don’t know right now for sure. I’ve expressed interest on behalf of the team. Coach Hackett is bullish on it. George is bullish on it. Russell Wilson is bullish on it, so we are lobbying as hard as we can. ”
Since Nathaniel Hackett walked through the door, the Broncos are collectively up for taking on competitive challenges. Traveling to London presents just such an obstacle, but it also gives the Broncos a chance to fuse the team unit together and further build the lucrative brand on what is already extremely fertile turf.
Perhaps the only major downside will be the 7.30 am MDT kick-off time and that will mean setting the alarms on mobile phones for fans watching the game back home in the States.
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