going to London

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    Myles Simmons



    As has been well publicized, the Rams have to travel a lot this season — just as they did in 2016.

    Another London trip meant another long flight across the Atlantic. But this time, L.A. elected to stay on the East Coast for most of the week before making the trip across the pond.

    That’s the method head coach Sean McVay had experienced as a coordinator with Washington last year. And so far, it seems to be working for the Rams.

    “I’ve really been impressed with our team’s ability to handle the last week, with all the traveling we’ve done,” McVay said. “They’ve just kind of continued to go about their work in a very business-like manner, but still have allowed themselves to have fun doing it. And that’s a credit to our team and our players.”

    “We came directly after a game last year and didn’t really have time to rest before you go on the flight,” middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “So, this week we stayed in Jacksonville all week and kind of rested, prepared really well and then came up here. I think everybody is feeling pretty good so far.”

    Ogletree complimented McVay and the staff for keeping much of the schedule the same despite the different locations.

    “We tried to do normally what we do every week and that’s have meetings when we do normally, and just move on and get ready for the next game,” Ogletree said. “I think coach did a great job of having everything set up for us to stay on the same schedule. Hopefully we put on a good show this Sunday.”

    The team plane departed Jacksonville at about 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, and arrived at London Heathrow Airport at about 9 a.m. BST. Following Friday’s practice, a few players said they were able to get in some sleep on the red-eye flight.

    “I’m a little tired still, but I definitely slept the whole time,” running back Todd Gurley said.

    “We got some good bonding time and we were able to sleep a little bit on the plane, so we feel good,” quarterback Jared Goff said.

    That’s in contrast to their head coach, as McVay didn’t quite get the rest he would’ve liked.

    “Well, my red eyes say no,” McVay replied when asked if he got any sleep. “I tried to sleep for a little bit — started out sleeping, felt like I was sleeping for about three hours, and then I realized it was only about 30 minutes. So I haven’t gotten as much sleep as I’d like.

    “But it was similar last year when I was in Washington — we traveled on a Thursday and then I was able to get a good night’s sleep [on Friday]. But I think our players did do a good job of being able to get some rest. I was really impressed with just their tempo and their energy in practice today. And that was encouraging because it’s more important for those guys to feel fresh than me.”

    Still, traveling so much can be a bit disorienting, as defensive lineman Michael Brockers put it following Friday’s practice.

    “I don’t know how I’m feeling, I’m just in limbo,” Brockers said with a laugh. “I was tired a little bit earlier, and then talking about football and going into the film room kind of got me up. As for right now, I’m like I don’t know where I’m at. I don’t know if I’m tired, I don’t know if I’m ready to go see London. I’ll see after I get in and get settled a little bit.”

    Aside from the travel, one element that’s different about playing an international game is the fans. It’s no secret that soccer is the more popular sport around here, and perhaps because of that, kickers and punters might get a few more cheers than they normally would.

    “They’re fun, it’s a lot of fun, especially during the games,” Goff said. “You don’t really know when they are going to cheer, when they’re not. It’s not really their fault, but we were talking about it with Greg [Zuerlein] and Johnny [Hekker] — they are going to, from my experience cheer, when we punt and kick. So we should be OK on offense.”

    With the Rams in the U.K. only for a couple days, there likely won’t be much time for sightseeing on this trip. And that’s OK for the players, who said they’re focused on improving Los Angeles’ season record.

    “If we can leave out of this 5-2,” Brockers said, “I think I’ll be happy.”


    Rams are far from home in London, but they’re delighting some loyal fans


    link: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/10/20/rams-are-far-from-home-in-london-but-theyre-delighting-some-loyal-fans/

    LONDON — One bought a hat at Disney World, another at a department store. A couple of them randomly started playing as the Rams on a video game. Another liked their helmet on a wall chart.

    Fandom often is related to geography, but for those who grew up thousands of miles away in Europe, the path to choosing and following the Rams is fascinating and, at times, frustrating.

    “I’m a big Man United fan,” said Louis Patterson, a 23-year-old London resident, “and had always slightly looked down on foreign fans. But having followed an American sports team from abroad, I see how much time and effort it must take for them to follow their team, and my respect has grown hugely.”

    The Rams arrived in London on Friday after their extended stay in Jacksonville, and given that most of the players made the overseas trip a year ago, this is nothing special, a three-day business trip. It might even be an annoyance for players.

    For some fans, though, it’s everything. If last year’s game is an accurate model, Sunday’s game against Arizona at Twickenham stadium will be filled with fans wearing jerseys of almost every NFL team. American transplants and tourists will be in attendance, but it’s more meaningful for the overseas fans.

    “I know they don’t like giving up a home game,” Drew Mikhael, a Northern Ireland native, said, “but I hope U.S.-based fans can appreciate that they are making me happy, because the opportunities to watch your team are rare indeed.”

    So rare, in fact, that Mikhael, 34, who now splits his time between Belfast and Beirut, said he intends to fly in from Amman, Jordan, on Sunday morning, to catch the Rams for a third time in London.

    Mikhael said he chose his allegiance at age 8, near the end of the Rams’ first stint in Los Angeles. Mikhael said he visited Southern California once as a child, but that’s not why he became a Rams fan.

    “My brother had a wall chart with all the NFL teams’ football helmets on it,” Mikhael said. “He had a team, and it was my time to choose. The Rams’ helmet was an easy choice. It stood out from the crowd. The colors and the horns. It was the only team I could pick. I was hooked from the start.”

    Among the Rams’ overseas fans who responded to a social-media request to share their stories, Mikhael is a bit unique. He fits the age demographic (under 40), but most of his fellow fans started following the Rams within the past two decades, when television and online advances made it far easier.

    Tom Langford, 31, is a lifelong resident of Essex, England, approximately 30 miles from London. Langford said when he first started to follow the Rams, in 2001, he had to track games on the text-based play by play on NFL.com, and had to pay a customs fee to acquire a personalized jersey from the United States.

    So taken was Langford by the sport as a teenager that he acquired a football, “so we could play pick-up games on the school field,” and he later joined an amateur team.

    Now, the NFL Europe online store still isn’t perfect, Langford said, but at least he can purchase the “Game Pass” package and watch the Rams live. That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Langford said when the Rams played a Thursday-night game at San Francisco, he stayed awake for the 1:25 a.m. kickoff, watched the entire game, then went to work at 6:30 a.m.

    “I’m so obsessed with Rams football though,” said Langford, who will attend Sunday’s game, “that I even stayed up to watch preseason games when they were on late.”

    The Rams’ surprising 4-2 start to this season has kept their overseas fans awake and enthusiastic, and the team will hold an event Saturday at a London pub with Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson.

    For some fans, it’s a rare opportunity to connect with people who their passion for football.

    “We weren’t born into an American football culture where family and friends watch games routinely,” Paul Clarke, an Oxford resident, said. “Neither was the sport covered in newspapers or mainstream TV channels. I had to seek out games and other fans. I had to teach myself the positions and the rules. I had no one to ask what a ‘West Coast offense’ was when I heard an announcer use it on TV.”

    Paul Clarke, seen with former Rams running back Marshall Faulk, said he had to become a student of American football to gain more appreciation for it. “I had to teach myself the positions and the rules,” the Oxford, England resident said. (Photo courtesy of Paul Clarke)
    The game has grown tremendously in England, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see an expansion team, or a relocated team, land in London within the next decade.

    It seems that most overseas Rams fans, including 24-year-old Jordan Gallacher, from a small town outside Glasgow, Scotland, have never been to a Rams game in the United States, but cherish the opportunity to attend the Twickenham game for a second consecutive year.

    “Just because I live 5,000 miles away from L.A.,” Gallacher said, “doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the same excitement or nervousness during a game, or happy or down after a win or loss — as those fans that are at the game. Our emotional investment in this team is really strong and it will only grow.”

    Because they are playing in a temporary facility until their new Inglewood stadium opens in 2020, the Rams are required by the NFL to play one game overseas each season.

    The Rams’ 2018 destination has yet to be announced. China was rumored, and Mexico City might be the choice, rather than a third consecutive trip to London. That would please another area of fans, but would sadden the hardcore European supporters.

    “I really appreciate any time I get the chance to experience a bit of the (NFL) culture I missed out on growing up over here, which I love,” London resident Jeff Burgin said. “We will do our very best to make Twickenham feel no different to the Coliseum.”

    Rams quarterback Jared Goff joked after Friday’s practice that the British fans mostly cheer for the kickers and punters, but said he enjoys the experience.

    Running back Todd Gurley isn’t as enthusiastic. He pointed out the strangeness of the Rams and Cardinals, NFC West rivals from neighboring states, playing in London rather than having a short road trip.

    “Whatever floats their boat,” Gurley said of the NFL. “But it’s cool. I appreciate you [British reporters] all coming out here. The fans are good. I guess it’s to make the game global.”


    Starting safety Cody Davis’ status for Sunday is listed as doubtful because of a thigh injury. Davis did not practice this week, and if he can’t play, the Rams likely would use Lamarcus Joyner (who is returning from a hamstring injury) and rookie John Johnson at safety.

    Inside linebacker Mark Barron is listed as questionable, the same as last week, when Barron played a full complement of snaps. No other Rams were on the final injury report.


    Todd Gurley on international games: “It needs to stop”

    Darin Gantt

    Todd Gurley on international games: “It needs to stop”

    Lest anyone at 345 Park Avenue think Rams running back Todd Gurley isn’t being a good ambassador, he said he likes the idea of playing international games.

    But also pointed out the reality of getting to them is a pain in the butt.

    The Rams stayed in Jacksonville after last week’s game rather than cross the country again, and flew to London after yesterday’s practice to get ready for Sunday’s “home game” against the Cardinals. Asked about the ability to get into any kind of routine, Gurley made his displeasure clear.

    “Terrible,” Gurley said, via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com. “They need to stop this, all this stuff. This London, this Mexico City stuff, it needs to stop.”

    Of course, it’s not going to stop, and for the Rams in particular. They’re expected to play internationally the next two years, until their new stadium is ready in 2020. That and living on the West Coast means they’ll travel more air miles than any team in the league this year, the second year in a row they’ve earned that honor.

    “It’s cool playing over there, don’t get me wrong,” Gurley said of London. “Just more of the long week, messes up a bunch of people’s schedules. I’m pretty sure y’all [the media] wanna be in y’all bed right now, too. But naw, it’s all good. It’ll be love. The fans over there are great.”

    While complaining about air travel does make him sound like a sports writer, Gurley’s complaint underscores one of the issues the league will have when/if they try to put a team there full time. The logistics of traveling will be a grind on the players and coaches involved, and that creates an extra layer of competitive advantage issues. Whether the league would consider that over the ability to make more money seems doubtful, so players like Gurley are probably going to have to get used to it.


    MamaRAMa wrote:

    Rams games overseas

    A statement in an article caught my eye: “Because they are playing in a temporary facility until their new Inglewood stadium opens in 2020, the Rams are required by the NFL to play one game overseas each season.” I wasn’t aware of this requirement.

    More than that, the committment right now is not for the Rams to play a game each season in London. It’s to play a game each season overseas which could include China or god knows where else. Apparently the locations haven’t been determined yet.


    Extremely gay. I assume he thought Fisher was the guy to maneuver all that.


    Extremely gay. I assume he thought Fisher was the guy to maneuver all that.

    No he would have to know that;s Kroenke and the league office. Fisher didn’t have the power to do that.


    No, I meant he thought Fisher was the right guy to get the team through all the moving.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Herzog Herzog.
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