NFL – 2014 Tour

2014 has been a great year so far for NFL, the season is still wide open with a range of teams looking to reach those all important play-offs. So if you’re anything like us you’re stuck to your TV set determined not to miss any of the action, however nothing beats watching a team live and experiencing football first hand!

So far this year, Girls Sport Talk have been lucky enough to watch 11 different NFL teams play in 6 different stadiums across the US and also in London. Our 2014/15 NFL tour started back in August in Baltimore for a pre-season match up between the Ravens and the 49ers.

Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers - August 2014 - NFL Preseason

Baltimore Ravens vs San Francisco 49ers – August 2014 – NFL Preseason

The Levi's Stadium - 49ers vs Broncos

The Levi’s Stadium – 49ers vs Broncos

It then moved West for a huge game between San Francisco and Denver, in their first ever game at the new Levi’s Stadium. Now, here at Girls Sport Talk we are Niner fans, so we won’t discuss the score line for this game, let’s just say San Fran failed to score a single point in their pre-season opener! We then welcomed the International Series back to Wembley Stadium in London where the Oakland Raiders hosted the Miami Dolphins, the Detroit Lions faced the Atlanta Falcons and the Jacksonville Jaguars (London’s seemingly adopted team) took on the Dallas Cowboys.

Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins - Wembley Stadium - London

Oakland Raiders vs Miami Dolphins – Wembley Stadium – London

A brief trip to sunny Miami in between the International Series enabled us to see Aaron Rogers take a cruel last-minute win away from the Dolphins, proving just why he is still one of the best in the business. Possible season MVP?! We shall see. The Green Bay Packers were most definitely on course for the play-offs and maybe the Superbowl with a 27-24 win over Miami.

Miami Dolphins vs Green Bay Packers - SunLife Stadium - Miami

Miami Dolphins vs Green Bay Packers – SunLife Stadium – Miami

Our road (or air) trip, then took us to New York, the Met Life Stadium in New Jersey to be exact for a Week 11 showdown between the Giants and the 49ers. Colin Kaepernick’s play was red-hot, despite the weather conditions being what felt like below zero! Our Niners took the win back to San Fran, which was where we found ourselves for the next stop on our 2014 tour.

New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers - MetLife Stadium - New Jersey

New York Giants vs San Francisco 49ers – MetLife Stadium – New Jersey

Thanksgiving is huge in the US. It’s a time to give thanks with family and friends, however it’s a HUGE day in the football diary too. The Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara was our home for Thanksgiving as the 49ers hosted NFC West divisional rivals and Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks.

Sunny Santa Clara found itself full of travelling Seattle fans who had made the 2 hour flight down the west coast to watch their beloved team. This was a must win game for both sides, whoever took the victory was likely to push for that all important play-off position.

The game started well for Seattle and continued well for Seattle. Kaepernick gave away two passes to Seahawks Corner Back Richard Sherman, a sight that all 49ers were certainly not thankful for! Pick number one resulted in the only touchdown of the game. Seattle then added 4 field goals and held the Niners to without a touchdown all game, final score Seahawks 19-3 49ers.

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks - Thanksgiving Thursday - Levi's Stadium - Santa Clara

San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks – Thanksgiving Thursday – Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara

San Francisco’s quest for the play-offs looked to be over, would head coach Jim Harbaugh be with the team come next season? Rumours were, and still are present in the NFL, some media reports suggesting he may stay in California, however as a Raider.. not a Niner!

The next destination on our NFL tour was Jacksonville, Florida. We arrived ready for a new city, a new stadium, and maybe another opportunity to see Odel Beckham Junior get one of those ‘catches’  again, as the Jags hosted the New York Giants.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Giants. EverBank Field - Jacksonville

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Giants. EverBank Field – Jacksonville

Now, throughout the Girls Sport Talk NFL tour we’ve had the pleasure of visiting some great football stadiums, however the minute we walked into EverBank Field our mind was made up, this was our favourite! One of the stand-out features we noticed as soon as we took our seats (well you couldn’t miss it!) was the giant video screen, otherwise known as the – The Jumbotron (The stats: 60 feet high, 362 feet long, 35.5 million LED bulbs.)

The Jumbotron - EverBank Field - Jacksonville

The Jumbotron – EverBank Field – Jacksonville

The largest in the world, both Jumbotron screens sit above the north and south end zone of the field, somewhere near the new ‘Vegas like’ cabanas and swimming pools, yes.. you can watch the game from the pool with a cocktail! It was just getting better. Jacksonville’s $63 million investment for the renovation to the stadium and field was immediately obvious. From a brand perspective the Jags have got it spot on, there were some great social media campaigns in play throughout the game, engaging with there happy and loyal fans. We just hoped the football would follow suit. Which it did!

The Jags launched a 21-point amazing comeback to edge the Giants and grab their second win of the season. Josh Scobee kicked a 33-yard field goal with 28 seconds remaining, rallying Jacksonville from a 21-point deficit to beat New York 25-24.

EverBank Field - Jacksonville

EverBank Field – Jacksonville

As far as game-day experiences went, this was the best we had experienced by far. For a young team that only have 2 wins all season so far, the fans were in great voice. It was all sunshine and smiles in Jacksonville, and we could fly back to London knowing that maybe, just maybe, we had bought them some good luck..

With 3 weeks of the regular season left the play-off picture is taking shape, this is where the real excitement takes place! Where will the next part of our NFL tour take us next? We’ll keep you posted..

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