By Barry Janoff
September 20, 2013: The NFL International Series in London dates back to 2007, when the New York Giants played the Miami Dolphins. There have been five games in London's Wembley Stadium since.
This year, however, is the first time two regular-season NFL games will be played in the UK as part of the NFL International Series. The first is on Sunday, Sept. 29, when the Minnesota Vikings "host" the Pittsburgh Steelers (Fox). Then the Jacksonville Jaguars will "host" the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 27.
Also new this year, cameras will be tracking the four teams for a two-part special on Discovery Channel, NFL In Season.
The league said that NFL In Season, an NFL Films Production from the producers of HBO's Hard Knocks, would "chronicle each team’s week of preparation leading up to the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium. Viewers will get a look off the field and into the meeting rooms for an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at how each team handles the rigors of the season on European soil."
NFL In Season: Steelers vs. Vikings, is scheduled to premiere on Oct. 4. NFL In Season: 49ers vs. Jaguars is scheduled to premiere Nov. 1.
“We’re thrilled to work with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Discovery to create a compelling two-part special that showcases the unique storylines leading up to the NFL International Series,” Ross Ketover, NFL Films producer, said in a statement. “As the NFL takes this historic step in our international development with two games in London, we are excited to give fans back in the U.S. a behind-the-scenes look at these games.”
This is the second NFL International Series game for San Francisco, which defeated the Denver Broncos, 24-16, in 2010. In 2005, the Niners played the Arizona Cardinals in Estadio Azteca Stadium in Mexico City before a crowd of 103,467.
It is the first visit to Wembley Stadium for the Vikings, Steelers (quarterback Ben Roethlisberger pictured) and Jaguars.
The Jaguars and team owner Shad Khan — who also is majority owner of Fulham F.C. in the English Premier League — have also committed to play in London in each of the next three years.
The NFL operated an NFL Europe league from 1995-2007, which included the London Monarchs.
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