October 2008
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Welcome to the cheap seats

At the weekend I went to see the NFL International Series game between the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers at Wembley Stadium.

There are a million bloggers who actually know what they’re talking about when they write about sports so I’m not even going to bother trying to analyse the game.  Except to say that it was a thoroughly entertaining evening and a cracking game and I loved it.

There are some things you can hope to see at a game and some you would probably never dream of.

It was high scoring (67 points on offense) and went to the wire with a hail mary pass at 0:01 remaining and only 5 points between the teams.  There was a coach’s challenge upheld, a 4th down conversion for touchdown, an "excessive celebration" (duly penalised) and an onside kick – which was recovered!

Add to that a missed extra point, which almost never happens, and an intentional safety play, which really almost never happens.

I can only remember ever seeing one intentional safety on TV – and that came after a botched punt.  This one was run straight out of the playbook:

Plus the team I bet on won, which never hurts.

Compare this to last year where we got to see a team that hadn’t found their form yet slip and slide in the pissing rain against a team who only won one game all season.  I think it must have put some fans off as it was a doddle to get tickets this year.

I’d already decided that I wasn’t going to bust a gut to get tickets or pay over the odds to have extremely bored security personnel who thought I didn’t really look like Club Wembley material harass me over my heinous plastic bottle.  The "cheap seats" (£55) were still a superb view.

Unfortunately, I only had a compact camera so most of the pictures I took serve only as proof – should it be needed – that "digital zoom" really isn’t any better than no zoom at all.  This is about the best of it.