Switched It

Recently I’ve come to a decision which wasn’t that easy but I think it needed to be done. This is not a common thing to do and as much as I was emotionally invested I think I have done the right thing. I have decided to change my NFL team allegiance to the Green Bay Packers. I have been a New Orleans Saints supporter since 2008 when I saw them play at Wembley Stadium versus the San Diego Chargers. Before that I guess I was a Miami Dolphins supporter like quite a lot of people my age.

When Channel 4 started on UK television back in 1982 it started showing American Football and because it was new a number of people at school started watching it. If you have to chose someone to support and it doesn’t come from family pressure then lots of people chose the Dolphins in those days. NFL remained an important part of my life through university as we would watch the Superbowl each year while playing drinking games. I don’t think there was a Superbowl for about five years where I remember past the first quarter.

I’ve always kept an eye on NFL but came back to watching it more seriously when I got my own home and Sky TV. I know there are massive issues with the sport regarding health of players, treatment of women, racial inequality, pretty much everything but I still enjoy it. If I was completely moral about it I would probably not watch it anymore but I enjoy it. I’m not sure what that says about me. I don’t watch boxing though, I think it should be banned. If I’m honest with myself I probably think NFL should be banned. While I’m at it I also think the same about horse racing.

A few years ago I learnt that the Green Bay Packers didn’t have their own cheerleading team and that seems the correct thing to do. Cheerleading purely reduces women to sexual objects and nothing else. The last match I saw at Wembley had male cheerleaders too but that doesn’t stop it being a terrible thing. Just letting men do it as well doesn’t change the fact that it’s terribly sexist and objectifying. Some things just need to be stopped. Saying we’ll allow everyone else to do that thing doesn’t make that thing correct.

Also, upon investigation the Green Bay Packers are the only major sports franchise in the USA which is community owned. All the other teams are owned by individuals who have too much power. That’s why they buy sports teams. I’m all for community ownership of businesses and utilities, which is exactly what state ownership is. It seems the best way for the money to cycle around. I decided around the time I found this out that the Packers would be my third team. So, at that point, in order, my allegiance goes Saints, Dolphins, Packers. After that I don’t really care how the list goes as long as the Patriots are at the bottom.

What caused me to change my views? What about the New Orleans Saints made me want to leave them and choose a team from fuck knows where? Three things:

Drew Brees is the current Saints Quarterback and he is an amazing sport person. He can throw a ball really well. I have a NFL jersey with his name on the back. But, he has some questionable personal views. How much can I ignore those and just appreciate him as a sports person? Well, I was coping at that. A while back he appeared in a video by Focus On The Family. Any group called that sort of name in the USA tends to have questionable views about the humanity of humans. FOTF are anti-LGBT. Fuck them. Also, Brees defended his position along with asking pupils to take their bibles to school, which in itself isn’t an issue but religious people tend to have unwaving harsh views on certain types of people. When this event happened I was saddened but at the same time I knew that he was a great sportsman and his personal views don’t matter with respect to that.

Then, Drew Brees made a comment about not respecting anyone who doesn’t respect the flag. He was talking about people taking a knee during the national anthem. That comment almost tipped me over the edge. You can do what the fuck you want during your country’s magical song. I don’t care. I haven’t stood for a national anthem for years because I don’t understand what it is I am standing for. When I sit down I don’t hurt anyone. If your views are offended by someone sitting, or kneeling, then you are the one who needs to change. Shortly after his tweet the Brees family did correct it and apologised and said they would do what they can to help. This was too little too late and I mentioned to friends that it might be time for me to change my NFL team.

Protesting the systematic and racist treatment of black people in a country with a massive history of racism and slavery [much like our own] and doing so peacefully is perfectly acceptable. It IS racism if you then can’t get employed because the owners of teams don’t think you are the “right” person. When your peaceful protests don’t work and change the system then you need to make more vocal protests. The oppressors will respond with their own violence and then you know you are doing the right thing. The police violently attacking protesters who are there to complain about police brutality is hilarious as well as very sad. If you don’t think institutions can be racist then you clearly haven’t read a book.

The turning point for me in my journey to changing my team allegiance was hearing about how the Saints organisation had lent support in terms of time and people to the local catholic church to help it “manage” the PR around the child abuse cases going on in Louisiana. Now, my views on the child rape criminal organisation aside, it seems to be the easiest answer ever: do we lend support to an organisation which has covered up child rapists systematically over the years? If you spend more than one second trying to think that the answer is “no” then that is too long. You see how easy it is to fall on the correct side of this argument? Piece of piss.

So, that was the moment. When I learnt of that support for the church I chose to leave. Will they care? No. Do I care? Yes. I am now a supporter of the Green Bay Packers. I just need to learn where Green Bay is and hope it’s lovely and warm like Louisiana. I will be spending this summer watching last season’s games and getting up to date with the news. I will also be buying a block of cheese for my head. Go Packers!

Rammed Tigers

One of the things I did this weekend was travel to Wembley Stadium to watch a game of American Football. Of the sportsy things that can be done this is one of my favourite and I watch quite a bit of it. This year the Bengals were playing the Rams and it was a Rams “home” game.

Bengals In The Red Zone
Bengals In The Red Zone

The Rams one. You can see a list of games I have attended here. The game was good fun to watch and it was great to see old friends.

I had parked about twenty minutes walk away from the stadium and the walk back to the car was lovely as there was a constant barrage of fireworks to celebrate Diwali. These fireworks continued as I drove out of London. It was an incredible sight.

I Just Don’t Like That Green

Last night I traveled to Wembley to watch the first of this season’s NFL London matches. The game was between the Oakland Raiders, who were playing “home”, and the Seattle Seahawks. I’ve got a list on these pages showing who I’ve seen over the years, you can read it here. I chose to support the Raiders for this match. Mostly because I had seen them before and also because I can’t stand that green flash on the Seahawks’ uniform.

NFL Wembley
NFL Wembley

The game was not a good one. Seattle won easily.

To get to the stadium I drove the car around the M25 and followed Google Maps to the Preston Road car park. Although the car park was fifteen minutes walk form the stadium it was also in the “right” direction – away from the centre of the city. It meant that getting out of the stadium and out of the area was easy. Overall it was a good afternoon but I can’t help feeling that NFL games can be quite anticlimactic.

NFL List

This communication serves only to remind me which NFL matches I have seen in the London series. I should probably create a page like my Bands I Have Seen page, but this will do for now.

  • San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints, 32 – 37, 26 October 2008
  • Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers, 16 – 24, 31 October 2010
  • New England Patriots @ St Louis Rams, 45 – 7, 28 October 2012
  • San Francisco @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 42 – 10, 27 October 2013
  • Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders, 38 – 14, 28 September 2014
  • Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons, 22 – 21, 26 October 2014
  • New York Giants @ Los Angeles Rams, 17 – 10, 23 October 2016
  • New Orleans Saints @ Miami Dolphins, 20 – 0, 1 October 2017
  • Seattle Seahawks @ Oakland Raiders, 27 – 3, 14 October 2018
  • Cincinnati Bengals @ LA Rams, 10 – 24, 27 October 2019

Saints Win and Huntsman

Well, it may have been a boring match but it was good fun anyway to spend the day with friends at Wembley Stadium. I was quite excited as I was seeing my NFL team play for the second time. The first time was 2008. Now, 9 years later I have seen them again. My dream is to see them play in the Superdome one day.

Anthems
Anthems

I do like the atmosphere in the stadium for these matches. It’s friendly and good fun. I’ve never seen any form of trouble.

I think I have written about the actual games in the past but I can’t really remember. There were some interceptions and two touchdowns. Will Lutz missed the first field goal attempt. The first two drives took more than the first quarter so it was quite a slow paced game.

Saints @ Dolphins
Saints @ Dolphins

The Saints won the match 20 – 0. The cheerleaders were nice. It was pretty good to see Drew Brees and others playing.

Before the match I went to Savile Row to see where they filmed part of the Kingsman movie. Nearby was a street called Cork Street and so I took a photograph of that.

Cork Street
Cork Street

The Huntsman tailors is the shop where the secret service agency is based within London. Next door is a wine merchant in the film. Here are the shots I took.

The Kingsman Building
The Kingsman Building (white one)

Another shot:

Huntsman Tailors
Huntsman Tailors – note the plaque

Finally, just for fun, here’s a photo of colour material hanging in Regent Street.

Regent Street Propaganda
Regent Street Propaganda

Rams Lose

Yesterday I sauntered to Twickenham. It was time to see another NFL match as part of the NFL International Series. Normally these matches are at Wembley but I was interested to see Twickenham as I had only been there once before for a Bon Jovi concert. I followed Google Maps all the way there, even though that meant going around the North Circular. Once I found the car park I had to allow security people [who I assume know what they are looking for but I doubt it] to look in the boot and under the bonnet of my car. These “security” steps annoy me as they aren’t evidence based.

Then I walked the short distance to the stadium and boy is it a fucking ugly stadium:

I waited for my ticket to arrive and had food. The pre-game show was performed by Craig David, it was shit. Then there was the national anthems and time for the annual “Jason having a moan at Ian” thing. I don’t stand for anthems. I don’t understand why I should. I also don’t get the patriotism associated with anthems. They annoy me. While it has nothing to do with the blacklivesmatter movement I’m not against their movement. I wrote some stuff here. I’ve probably written loads of stuff about my feelings towards patriotism but you can search for it yourself.

The match was interesting. Not the best one I’ve seen but good enough to justify the money I spent on the ticket!

In the final quarter we were hoping that the Rams would score and bring the game to a tie for overtime. That would have been quite exciting. But they threw an interception in to the end zone with about forty seconds to go. Such a shame, but a good afternoon anyway. I supported the Rams as I had previously when I saw them at Wembley. They are the first team I have seen twice. Also, Rich couldn’t be there and he’s a Rams fan so it made sense to support them. I would never support the Patriots. It is quite possible I have seen the Jaguars twice but the following should clear that up.

I am now going to attempt to log the games I have seen so that at least I have some form of record.

2008
San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints [New Orleans won and are my team following this match]

2010
Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers [49ers win]

2011 – I’m reasonably sure I saw the Bears this year, but am not sure.

2012
New England Patriots @ St Louis Rams [Patriots won – boo]

2013
San Francisco 49ers @ Jacksonville Jaguars [49ers won]

2014
Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders [Dolphins won]
Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons [Lions won]

2016
New York Giants @ LA Rams [Giants won]

Anthems

A NFL backup quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, has been shat on by the country of the USA because he failed to stand up while the national anthem was played before a game. He was protesting something, here’s a link. It would appear that you can say things but refuse to stand for a song and everyone hates you.

I don’t stand for the national anthem. I’ve been to sports events, NFL, at Wembley Stadium and I have remained seated during the national anthems. This is mostly a recent decision and by recent I mean over the last ten years. We stand to show respect I think. But I don’t know what I am respecting. I certainly don’t love this country, I don’t know what I would be loving. I don’t see why standing is a protocol.

On certain events at work we will sing the national anthem. I don’t. We also have a song associated with work. That I do sing. I can see that community in a more tangible sense, I know what it stands for, I know the history. I feel it’s a community I am a part of and can be involved in. I don’t really see that with the country.

I don’t see why I should have to stand. I don’t do it as a protest, I do it because I don’t understand patriotism and I don’t understand the values of a country.

Green Bay

I like American Football. Not sure why, I just do. I’ve a feeling it started young when Channel 4 was a new TV channel in the UK. I was probably about 12 when NFL started being shown on UK TV and it was different and exciting. My dad and I would sit and watch the show now and then. I became a Miami Dolphins fan, not sure why but that is who I chose. They may have been the most famous team at that time.

My allegiances were changed after seeing my first real NFL game at Wembley Stadium. On October 26 2008 I chose to support the New Orleans Saints in their match against the San Diego Chargers. Why? Because it was the Saints’ home game and hurricane Katrina had recently destroyed the city. As a bonus the New Orleans Saints won that game 37 – 32 and I became a full-on Saints supporter. So my teams are: New Orleans Saints and secondly the Miami Dolphins. It’s perfectly OK to have two teams in NFL.

As an aside here are the NFL matches I have seen at Wembley:

  • San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints, 32 – 37, 26 October 2008
  • Denver Broncos @ San Francisco 49ers, 16 – 24, 31 October 2010 [added 18:28 30/10/14]
  • New England Patriots @ St Louis Rams, 45 – 7, 28 October 2012
  • San Francisco @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 42 – 10, 27 October 2013
  • Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders, 38 – 14, 28 September 2014
  • Detroit Lions @ Atlanta Falcons, 22 – 21, 26 October 2014

[I’ve a feeling I’ve seen another match, but I don’t know which one so when I do remember I will place it in the list above] This has been sorted, thanks Rich.

If I was starting again and choosing a team then I would choose the Green Bay Packers. I could, of course, just change my allegiances now and maybe I will. It’s not like my blood runs black and gold. I will let you know how this process goes. At the moment it’s the start of a thought. It’s quite funny that people don’t change their banks or football teams. My association football [soccer] team is Tottenham Hotspur and I guess I could change them if I had good reason or even any bad reason. Who cares?

Here are my reasons for moving allegiances to the Green Bay Packers.

  • They are a non-profit, community owned sports organisation
  • They don’t have cheerleaders

The Packers are the ONLY non-profit community owned professional major league sports team in the USA. This is surely a good thing. The fact that they are, not the fact that they are the only one. It seems ridiculous to me that sports teams are owned by individuals or corporations. From a social and moral point of view the Packers are the team to choose.

Not having cheerleaders is a positive thing. Can you really, and I mean really, justify having women dancing in front of mostly male crowds in between the sports action, as entertainment? It is not justifiable. It demeans women. It enforces pre-existing notions of sexism and misogyny. I would argue the same for Formula 1 and other major motor racing creeds which have “grid girls” or models lining the route to the “room of uncomfortableness” after a race. Is the sport SO dull that it needs women to distract and entertain men? Wise up people. It’s simply sexist and appalling in this day and age.

My train of thought is now about the Packers and to move my support to them. I’m sure they’ll notice. There will be further updates as I make this journey.

NFL, Baby

A couple of Sundays ago, more accurately on the 28 September 2014 I went to London Town.

While there I met a group of people for an afternoon of sport. We met at MEATliquor just behind Oxford Street and I have to say it was one of the best burger meals I have ever had. The food was lovely.

After that we travelled to Wembley stadium to see an American Football match. It amuses me that in all my time I haven’t seen a soccer match at the home of soccer, just music and NFL.

The teams playing were

Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders

I chose to support the Dolphins, although that wasn’t really a choice. I have “supported” the Dolphins since I was a teenager, I now consider the New Orleans Saints as my first team.

The match was good, although the Dolphins smashed the Raiders. There was plenty of action and I had a good time.

I don’t take my camera to events I want to watch, mainly because I’d end up spending my time looking for a few great photos rather than actually watching the game. So here’s a shot using my mobile phone and all the restrictions that come with that.

IMG_7534.JPG

Def Leppard played before the game which was interesting, although I couldn’t see them as the stage faced the other way. Some dude sang the USA National Anthem and a female opera singer sang the UK National Anthem. See my communication here about that!

I was meant to see Def Leppard in 1988. A friend and I had bought tickets to see them at the Royal Albert Hall in the round in London. It would have been a great gig to see and it would have been my first. However, I was offered a place on the ATC Cyprus camp and so went to that instead. So, 26 years later and I get the chance to see Def Leppard, except I couldn’t as the back of the stage blocked my view. I have placed them back on the list of bands I haven’t seen!

H.G.

It was nice to see a plaque up on the side of a building in Baker Street that wasn’t dedicated to a fictional detective.

20131030-073403.jpg

I have to say that for half the time I was looking at this I had an image of H.G. from the television show Warehouse 13. A good programme.