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Vikings And Steelers To Square Off In Battle Of London

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The NFL returns to Europe this Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings battle the Pittsburgh Steelers at Wembley Stadium in what is the seventh regular season NFL game to take place on English shores.

A London based NFL franchise has been muted but may not come to fruition for logistical reasons. However discussions are already under way for Wembley to host three games next year, adding an extra impetus for Sunday’s competitors to show Britain why they are the best to visit thus far.

The Pittsburgh Steelers arrived in London on Friday morning after flying overnight ahead of the game while , opting for a different approach to their opponents to playing a game overseas, preferring to spend the week preparing in the familiar territory of their practice facility. The Vikings arrived on Monday and have been acclimatizing in a hotel outside of London, practicing on a field just yards from their accommodation.

It was a jetlagged group of Steelers players that met the media for their first assignment on arrival in London.

“I slept about two hours on the plane,” said linebacker Lamar Woodley. “I’m alright. We’ve got practice later on, so you have to just get ready to work and deal with it.”

Cornerback Ike Taylor was in high spirits as he took questions from the assembled media.

“I love your accent,” said Taylor after receiving the first question at the podium. “Say that again, please.”

The eleven year veteran had the media laughing as he said, “I would love to meet the Queen. She’s the head lady.” Taylor also appealed to the press to toss some British slang words his way so he wouldn’t be out of place while in London.

Ben Roethlisberger enthused about the passion of the British fans he encountered on a promotional trip to London earlier this year.

“It’s an awesome honour. I want to represent the black and gold and the NFL,” said the two-time Super Bowl winner. “I knew we had fans all over the world, but the last time I was here I got to meet them and see a bunch of them.”

Inevitably Roethlisberger was asked about the famous London landmark with which he shares a nickname.

“People keep asking me how many times I’m going to hear that joke this week,” said ‘Big Ben’. “I’m supposed to keep count of how many times people mention it.”

The Steelers have made it clear that they aren’t in London for anything but a victory on Sunday. With an 0-4 start essentially spelling doom for an NFL team the novelty of playing a game in London will be overshadowed by the urgency of needing that first win. Only the 1992 Chargers have made it to the postseason after losing their first four games. Current Super Bowl predictions aren’t favourable for The Steelers either.

“I’m not here for a vacation, I am here to work,” said head coach Mike Tomlin.

“For us every game is a must-win,” said Roethlisberger. “That’s the way we approach every game. The only difference this week is that we’re in a different country.”

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

 

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