Looking Back: A Review of the Raiders’ History in London

2021 was a memorable year for football played in the UK as they saw one of the best games on their shores in the regular NFL season.

The game brought a first win for the Jaguars and Trevor Lawrence this season, and how they did it, coming from behind to beat the Dolphins 23-20 with a last-minute 53-yard field goal, will last long in the memory of the 60,000 people watching on. The noise in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium just highlighted the continuing appetite for the game in the country despite soccer being the national sport.

Although the Raiders didn’t feature on the roster this year in London, they have been a big part of the international series of regular-season matchups, which have taken place for almost 15 years. As explained in a Bwin NFL graphic, the London series began in 2007, with 80,000 people watching the New York Giants defeat the Miami Dolphins 13-10 at Wembley. Two other venues have since hosted games regularly, with only one team not appearing on British soil; the Green Bay Packers.

Attendances at the games across the board have been huge, with many of the games being a sell-out and it does beg the question, could an NFL franchise based in the UK be a success? However, it’s one thing having a handful of games per season over there, but it’s completely different having teams flying across the Atlantic to compete every week.

As we’ve mentioned, the Raiders have played in London as part of this successful flyaway series of NFL games, but brought some indifferent results for the franchise. So, let’s look back at those as we contemplate a potential return to the UK in 2022 for the Silver and Black ahead of the fixtures being announced.

2014 – Dolphins v Raiders (YouTube)

The Raiders’ first trip to London was a special one for offensive lineman, Menelik Watson who grew up in Manchester, and it looked like it was going to be a fantastic homecoming within 5 minutes of the kickoff. Derek Carr hit Brian Leonhart in the endzone to give the Raiders the lead. The Dolphins marked their first points with a field goal before Mike Wallace’s TD took them into a 2nd quarter advantage that they never let go, winning 38-14

2018 – Seahawks v Raiders (YouTube)

One memorable thing about this game was the atmosphere in the stadium; it had a Raiders feel with the cheerleaders and fireworks all welcoming the ‘home’ team to the field. 84,992 people packed into Wembley Stadium and it still stands as the second-highest attendance for the games in the UK But it was Russell Wilson who was in fine form, and he inspired his side to victory in what NBC called a stomping; it was a real learning exercise for the Raiders who vowed to come back and turn things around for their British fans.

2019 – Bears v Raiders (YouTube)

That promise was upheld too in the first NFL game played at the new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as running back Josh Jacobs put in a scintillating performance, scoring a first-half touchdown ending a 90-yard drive which helped the Raiders to a 17-0 lead at halftime. After beating the Colts a week earlier, it was the perfect platform for back-to-back victories for Jon Gruden’s team. However, the Bears fought back, scoring three TDs to nudge into the lead, but the headlines were left for Jacobs, who scored from two yards to seal a 24-21 Raiders win, and he ended the game as the MVP with 126 yards from 26 carries to add to his twelve-point haul.

The Raiders won’t likely give up a home game next year, but they do have a game in 2022 against the Jaguars. Given what a hit the Raiders have been in London in the past, it seems like a reasonable possibility that they could return again in 2022.

twitter: @raidersbeat

photo credit: WM


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