It took the New York Jets just 5.5 hours (thanks to a fortuitous tailwind) to get from NYC to London. To get to Jets practise in West London it took us four hours, several tubes, trains and taxis to travel approximately 20 miles. But make it they, and we did, so here are our takeaways from the Jets first day in London.
- It turns out that toilet paper was most of the most important talking points. Mangold, who has previous experience of UK loo roll , reporting “no issues” whereas Todd Bowles refused to discuss this clearly vital element. Probably wisely as there are of course more pressing issues, but surprisingly this did dominate the conversation in the media room.
- On to less superfluous issues and in terms of injuries there are no specific changes from yesterday. On the field we saw Decker throwing with Marshall but the decision itself looks to be left till game time. However, most seemed cagey about this to say the least. Ivory and Cro received attention from the trainers prior to practise but are good to go. Revis confirmed he is feeling great.
- Travel went well and sleeping appears to not be playing a major factor, if at all. All players reported that it was business as usual and they are trying to maintain as much normality as is possible. The orange glasses and coloured lights obviously helped. Revis pointed to how both teams are in the same boat as a possible neutraliser of this problem.
- Being in London, the question of a London franchise was bought up in all interviews and was roundly side stepped by all. Revis said “it is what it is”, which is the opinion not just of US fans and players but many of us in the UK too. The overriding response was that it’s probably inevitable, but the reaction was lukewarm.
- On playing a game in London, obviously a positive response was to be expected but the players seem genuinely excited for the opportunity beyond the obvious logistical issues. Revis described it as ‘an honor’ and Mangold praised the excitement of the UK fan base, saying it had been eye opening how much interest there has been. On this Brandon Marshall pointed to the fact that Brits are fans of great sport and therefore as American Football is a great sport, he’s not surprised that we appreciate it.
- In terms of the game itself, the players were keen to play down the Dolphin’s poor run of form as a contributing factor to preparations. Marshall pointed to Brent Grimes as one of his top ranking corners after Revis and described him as a “freak of an athlete”. Mangold reiterated the message that the lack of Dolphin sacks so far should not lead to complacency on Sunday. Describing the game as a “sixty-minute battle”, they are taking this deadly seriously, especially following the loss last week.
- Following the practice session and press conferences the entire team took part in the play 60 event for local school children. The J.E.T.S chant rang out frequently as the kids went up against Marshall, Mangold ,Williams and all in a range of drills. The players looked to be genuinely enjoying the opportunity, which will go some way to beginning to grow the next generation of UK Jets fans.
- Mike Maccagnan was upbeat, which was surprising as he didn’t have a Starbucks in his hand. He apparently spent 6 months living in London some years ago and was happy to be back after 25 years away. Tonight, he is attending an event hosted by Woody Johnson at the Tower of London, surrounded by the Crown Jewels to raise the profile of the team in the UK.
- And one final hot take. It turns out that Brandon Marshall is a collector of antique bags! He was keen to share his love of London antiques fair, Portobello Market, to the gathered press as a must see tourist destination. We’ll probably give it a miss, no offence Brandon.
So as we leave for an evening in Jets pub, it was certainly a sunny day in Sunbury on Thames as the Jets touched down on their first day of what clearly is a business trip to London. The players have free time for the rest of today and without fail all said they were going to rest. It’s business as usual for the Jets and apart from a couple media appearances for some players tomorrow, its now fully on to Wembley.