I grew up in South Africa, and as a result, rugby was in my blood and for many, many years I played the game and loved it. I met many of my closet friends playing and it has, without question, instilled in me many of the values I hold dear today. I do, however, sometimes wonder how things may have been different had I grown up in the US.
Even guys like me from over the pond in Europe look on at the game of American football in awe — the packed stadiums of 90,000 for college matches, the huge hits and, of course, the cheerleaders.
But what is great is the increasing number of regular season games that are coming to London, which in turn opens the game to a new audience. On 24 September, the Baltimore Ravens took on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in the first of four such matches to be played in the capital.
The Jaguars took the game, 44 to 7, but more than the game stats, what’s making headlines today is the story of more than 20 players and staff from both sides having knelt or linked arms during the sounding of the American anthem at the start of the game. Why this gesture? I’ll leave you to discover that on your own terms. Back to the season at hand.
Since the 2007 season, when the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 13-10 at Wembley, 17 matches have been played on UK soil as part of NFL’s international series. After its first NFL clash in 2016, England’s home of rugby union, Twickenham will this year play host to two matches and Wembley the other two. But before the action goes on any further, let’s see who’s wearing what on their wrists from yesterday’s game.
First up are the Ravens and Za’Darius Smith who, as a huge unit himself, unsurprisingly wears a Casio G-Shock.
Terrance West rocking an iced-out Rolex.
Anthony Levine wearing an Apple watch.
Over in Jacksonville, tight end Mercedes Lewis wears a gold Rolex Day-Date.
Dante Fowler Jr. also sports a gold Rolex Day-Date.