Let freedom ring!
We hope that you are celebrating the 4th of July with your friends and family, marking the occasion with all the American pomp and circumstance that hot dogs, explosives, and outdoor food festivals can muster!
What better day than the accepted birthday of this great nation to revisit the Chargers’ history outside of the United States’ borders?
History of the International Series
The International Game series was started by the NFL in 2007, with a matchup between The Miami Dolphins (home team) and the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium in London, England on October 28, 2007. The first 40,000 tickets sold out for the game in the first 90 minutes of sales.
The games have been popular, with tickets for the (recent increase to) two games per season selling out in two days, nine months in advance. According to the NFL, only 3% of those attending the London games are Americans or American expatriates, while 22% are from London and 60% from elsewhere in Britain. In short, the NFL has proven that these games help cater to new audiences, not just inconveniencing teams’ existing fanbase.
The Chargers actually took part in the second International Game, held on October 26, 2008, also at Wembly Stadium. More on that soon!
There are many rules that help determine which teams play in the International Series, as one team inevitably has to “lose” a home game to make it work. Due to NFL rules, teams that are playing in temporary homes as part of a relocation or that have recently been awarded the Super Bowl are required to play a home game internationally. The Los Angeles Chargers, who will be sharing a stadium with the Rams once completed, ‘had to’ host an international game in 2018 and 2019. The team only got out of the 2017 game because the Chargers had executed its out clause to move from San Diego after the 2017 International Series games had been announced.
In any event, don’t feel too sorry for the Chargers, they still receive a portion of ticket sales AND a no-strings cool $1,000,000 for each international inconvenience.
October 26, 2008 - Chargers @ Saints - Wembly Stadium
While the first International game was a low-scoring affair, the second game was much more akin to the recent introductory MLB game in London (a 17-13 explosion). The Saints finally got their season “on track” by narrowly beating the Chargers 37-32.
The spectacle of Brees Vs. Rivers was on full display, with both QBs throwing over 330 yards and multiple TDs. While the Saints had the upper hand for most of the game, everything did indeed come down to the final minute, when the Chargers, who came from 37-20 down early in the fourth quarter, were driving for the tying touchdown. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma picked off a pass by Rivers with just over a minute to go. Brees took a safety in the final seconds to complete the scoring.
October 21, 2018 - Titans @ Chargers - Wembly Stadium
Most of you remember this game from last season, which was largely punctuated by the welcome relief of Michael Badgley, who went perfect on Field Goals and XPs. For the first play of the game for the Chargers’ offense, Rivers had connected with Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard touchdown. While Rivers would get over 300 yards on the day, it was more of a defensive match than the opening series would indicate. The Chargers won, luckily, 20-19.
November 18, 2019 - Chiefs @ Chargers - Estadio Azteca
While the Rams learned in 2018 that international games aren’t a guarantee, especially in Mexico, it seems likely that the Chargers can expect a fierce battle with the Chiefs south of the border. At this point in time, the Chargers are 1-1 in International Games, but they also could have the stronger following in Mexico between these two rivals. The potential home-field crowd could help give the Chargers the upper hand!
On the other hand... no one knows which, if either, team will have an advantage in Mexico. Time will tell!
Until then, have a splendid Independence Day, and enjoy blowing things up for freedom reasons!
-Jason “Hancock... NOW!!” Michaels