LONDON — I’m working from London all week — and if you think I haven’t been assaulting people with that Paul Rudd quote from the above clip, why do we even pretend to know each other? — so I took in the big football match yesterday. See, here’s proof I was there:
Wait, wrong football! (Let us never speak of the trip to White Hart Lane again.) Not proper football, but U.Eff.S. football:
YEAH! That’s football! That’s American! That’s appropriate selfie-based journalism! Here is my exclusive report on the game (and my weekend) for Frontburner.
• There was a minute of silence at both White Hart Lane (where Tottenham Hotspur play) and at Wembley (where the Cowboys-Jags game was played) for Remembrance Day. Turns out that honoring someone or something in this manner is really moving. That said, there is no way we could start doing this in America. We have too many idiots who can’t hold their water, who can’t help but scream something inane as soon as they’re presented with the sound of their own thoughts for more than five seconds. Like, you know, Tim.
• Getting on the tube (lingo: pwned) headed toward Wembley, I was shocked to see that everyone had a football jersey on. More shocking: Most of them weren’t Cowboys or Jags jerseys. People were wearing jerseys from every team, from the Patriots and Broncos to the Vikings and Cardinals. One group of three (two men, one woman) standing next to me sported jerseys that ranged from the Browns to the Saints to the Ravens. (The British woman wearing the Browns jersey mocked me when she saw my Tottenham scarf. That’s a low point in my sporting fandom career.) They were celebrating all of American football as much as they were interested in this particular game. Also, cheeseheads!
• That said, I saw more Jags fans than Cowboys fans. The cheers for them seemed louder, at least early in the game. I think that was because a) the Jags were technically the home team, and therefore b) the fans were given Jags flags to wave. (Which sounds weirdly pornographic.) Although these two drunks in front of me were proper Cowboys fans, in that I saw one give the entire stadium the finger for about three straight minutes.
• You might also know that poppies are everywhere on Remembrance Day (which is also called Poppy Day). Look they’re even big flags of a poppy in the crowd:
Everywhere you go, you see men with small poppy symbols pinned to their lapels. It’s very cool and very British but, let’s face it, our flag pins are the pins of an ass-kicking country. And poppies are pretty little flowers. IJS, there’s a reason we won.
• Wembley is a great stadium. That may seem obvious, but I don’t think it is. I mean, Cowboys Stadium is impressive, but it has all the charm of this thing. Wembley is both huge and somehow cool, a place where I could see everyone from the press seats, could see the action on the field, enjoyed the spectacle taking place along the sidelines (look it’s a guy in a big Jaguar suit!), and so forth. The opening in the roof felt purposeful instead of gimmicky, the sound system was great — it felt big enough for football and intimate enough to not be that thing in Arlington.
• People not only drive on the left but also WALK on the left. Mind asplode. Did everyone already know this? You’re walking down the street, in the office, in and out of church twice a day — it doesn’t matter. People try to walk to their left, i.e., to the right of you. Let me tell you who thinks this is a bad idea: the nine dozen people I’ve bulldozed over. I mean, I’ve HAMMERED at least four people. Of course, they’re British, so you just glare at them and they apologize profusely for ever existing and then give you money for your troubles. Did I mention I love it here?
• Tony Romo was out there slingin’ it around. How about that, huh?
• England cold is not like Texas cold. Those Jags cheerleaders had to be freezing. I would have asked but they weren’t part of the press conference. (I assume. I was long gone by the press conference. And the fourth quarter. Jet lag is real, people.)
• The stadium announcer was excited about every third down. “It’s third down … AND SIX YARDS TO GO!” It was as if he couldn’t believe he was lucky enough to witness the drama of a third down in person.
• According to a sign at the stadium, if some meathead is acting up nearby and you feel threatened, you can text the NFL your seat number and they’ll send someone. I mean, not if you’re a woman and that someone is a player, but still …
• Dez Bryant is good.
• This was a member of the British press during the game, playing online chess:
Well, played, mate. LITERALLY.
• Girls in skimpy outfits shooting T-shirts out of a canon! Fat guys playing in a drum line! Did Mark Cuban buy the Jags after I left town?
• There is no alcohol in the press room. Why do people become beat writers again?
• The fans were much more knowledgeable than I expected. I heard a lot of people talking stats and players from all over the NFL on their way to the game. I also saw a woman in a Vikings jersey and her husband/boyfriend in a Giants jersey cheer wildly for a Matt Stafford/Detroit Lions highlight. And the local pre-game show in London was very football-centric — they were breaking down DeMarco Murray’s footwork when I was watching it. That said, the concept of forward progress really confused the guy next to me on that play where Witten was picked up and driven back about eight yards. I suspect it’s like Americans and offsides in soccer.
• I was the only press person I saw wearing an EPL jersey. I suspect everyone was pretty jelly.
• My favorite out-of-context conversation from my first three days here: “No, no no. Not monkey. Texas Monthly.”
• Dallas won, didn’t they? I left early. I was hungry, as you can see from order below, which horrified an entire pub full of Brits. Texas is here to eat, ya limeys. How ’bout them Cowboys!