Germany host the NFL for the first time on Sunday, with Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Seattle Seahawks – live on Sky Sports!
The NFL took another step in its global adventures this week by landing in Germany ahead of Sunday’s historic game in Munich between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks.
Having successfully established itself as a permanent fixture in the UK sporting landscape, the league is now turning its attention to the NFL’s largest fanbase in Europe by hosting a regular season opener in Germany.
Such was the vast interest the league claimed to have received three million ticket requests after a snap sale earlier this year.
The love for the sport stems strongly from Germany hosting five pre-season games between 1990 and 1994, as well as being represented by the Hamburg Sea Devils, Fire, Berlin Thunder, Cologne Centurions and Galaxy in the former World Football League/NFL Europe/NFL. Europa at different stages between 1991 and 2007.
Former New England Patriots Super Bowl-winning offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, born in the German town of Kaarst, said Sunday’s game had been in the works for more than a decade.
Highlights of the Los Angeles Rams vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Week 9 of the NFL season
“In my wildest dreams maybe (I believed it would be possible) I remember being drafted by the Patriots in 2009 and I was talking to Mr. Kraft, he came up to me and said ‘L Germany is really interesting, I think we are going to play there soon,” Vollmer said. sky sports.
“Obviously it took another 13 years or so but it just showed the vision he and other owners had for the continent and obviously this country, we played in London and saw how successful it was, but it looks like Germany is and was the natural next step into what will truly become a global sport.Every day it gets more and more exciting here.
“We have seen in the last six or seven years a growth of 20%, it is thanks to television and the Internet, most fans have not seen a match live in their country. Sporting events in live in a stadium are a different feeling.
“The NFL has made it clear, it’s not unique to us, we want to be part of the community and fit into that way of life.”
It is the first game in a deal that will see Munich and Frankfurt host two each over the next four seasons after the pair secured the rights before Düsseldorf after the league narrowed its search for a host partner to three finalist cities.
Tom Brady became the first player in NFL history to reach 100,000 career yards in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The Bucs were one of four teams granted marketing rights in Germany under the International Home Marketing Area initiative alongside the Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs .
“It means a lot, I wish I could have played in my home country. It feels like a final, it’s just a next step, but it’s been a long road for a lot of people,” added Vollmer.
“It’s the part of giving back, a lot of Germans have supported the league from abroad, now they can actually see their stars.
“It’s exciting, emotional, yesterday I met a fan and I walk up to her and she started crying, absolutely emotional about football and it’s like ‘wow’.
“Without them (the fans) it wouldn’t be possible, would it? It’s a huge step forward for the league, a huge business, a huge business, the biggest sports league in the world saying ‘We’re going to pack our bags and come over here’.
“It’s a big thank you to the fans who ‘without you this wouldn’t be possible’.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits establishing a base in Germany is one of his long-term ambitions, with more to come when it comes to the league’s international operations.
“We have a long history here, we played in 1990 after the wall came down in Berlin with an American Bowl Series, then we had the World League and NFL Europe,” Goodell told Sky Sports. “It’s the first regular season game in Germany, I think it’s spectacular, this market deserves it.
“The league is in a perfect place for that, we have long-term media deals, we have stability, we really believe going international is a very important opportunity for us.
“I think there’s going to be a renewed effort, a renewed focus on this to make our game a truly global game.
“I’ll probably think about this story, how far we’ve come since 1990, it was kind of one of my favorite projects.
“I wasn’t sure that ball was going to get thrown, but now to see it kick off in a regular season game, I just think it just shows how far we’ve come and the potential where we want to go.”
Seattle Seahawks vs. Arizona Cardinals Highlights from Week 9 of the NFL Season
The teams come in with contrasting narratives from those projected when the Seahawks and Bucs were first announced as the opener against Germany.
Backup quarterback-turned-MVP Geno Smith leads a surging Seattle team in the post-Russell Wilson era, while Tom Brady, his lame offense, and the Bucs come in looking to keep their season alive.
For Smith, Germany awaits as another welcome addition to a career year for the veteran.
“I’m extremely excited, I can’t wait to be there,” he said. “It’s my first time playing in an international game, so it’s going to be fun. Our guys are here to have fun. We’re trying to see what Munich is like.
“I think everyone in our squad was excited, coach included. It’s definitely not a nuisance. Anytime you get to represent your country internationally, that’s a great thing. I compare that to be on US Olympic basketball or something.
“You go abroad and you practice your sport, but you also represent your country and also bring new fans to this sport. I know there are a large number of fans here, and we are looking forward to organizing a show for those guys.
“The more fans we can bring, the more we can go out there and be advocates for the United States and our sport of American football so maybe more kids in Germany or people in Germany will watch and want to play. , Its very important .”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-5) take on the Seattle Seahawks (6-3) in the first NFL International Series game to be played in Germany – watch live on Sky Sports NFL from 1:30 p.m. Sunday with kick off at 2:30 p.m.