Twickenham Stadium in London England is a venue for rugby union – and has hosted conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses, but is it suitable for American football games? Instead of the usual rugby wagering, fans will be betting on whether a Ram can topple a Giant on Sunday, October 23rd, and the outcome of the event will have a lot to do with how the players respond to the field. NFL teams have not been too pleased with Wembley Stadium’s grass, which is a soccer field – soccer being a sport in which, unlike football, players actually use their feet.
This will be Billy Williams’ Cabbage Patch’s first football game, and while there are obvious differences between the two sports – just like there are differences between rugby wagering and football betting – NFL executive VP of international Mark Waller has said neither the Rams nor the Giants have to worry about the grass at Twickers. It’s good weed, mon. “Twickenham is a really good grass field for rugby, and I stress the rugby point because one of the things at Wembley you see is like all soccer stadiums, the field is prepared for a much different game,” Waller said.
Waller went on to explain that in soccer, you want a slick motion, while in rugby – as well as in football – there is a lot of traction (and not just the kind of traction they use for straightening broken bones after a particularly vicious hit), so the rugby field will play more like a football field than a soccer field. Twickenham hosts England’s home test matches, the Middlesex Sevens, the Aviva Premiership final, the LV Cup and European Rugby Champions Cup matches. In addition to that, it is the second largest stadium in the United Kingdom – and fourth largest in Europe – after Wembley.
Speaking of which, the NFL was quick to point out that they have absolutely no complaints regarding Wembley – which has been the league’s home away from home in England since the NFL International Series came to London in 2007. The 90,000-seat venue is majestic enough to host two NFL teams and their respective entourages. However, the smooth grass that favors soccer makes for sloppier games than American fans are accustomed to. For example, the uniforms tend to get dirtier than at home. Well, English soil can indeed be unforgiving. Just remember the “six feet of English ground, or seven feet as he was taller than other men” that Harold Godwinson offered Harald Hardrada.
Nonetheless, the NFL set out to find a a stadium in a residential area that can serve as a “destination stadium” like Wembley, but which could result in a “very different experience.” Like when you win big at rugby wagering, the league hit the jackpot with the 82,000-seat Twickenham Stadium. As a bonus, the stands at Twickers are closer to the field, which should give the audience in the first few rows that feeling of being immersed in the action.