Pro-Bowler Jackson: I'd play for a London NFL team
St Louis Rams star Steven Jackson has told Eurosport he would be willing to play for a London franchise in the NFL.
Jackson has been in London promoting the Rams clash with the New England Patriots at Wembley on October 28th, continuing the annual tradition of NFL teams playing regular season games in London that was first started in 2007.
The Rams have signed up to play a home game in London for each of the next three seasons and such has been the success of the sold-out Wembley matches, that Patriots owner Robert Kraft – considered one of the most influential and respected men in the sport – recently came out in favour of London getting a permanent team.
Critics of the plan have said many potential players would be against having to move overseas to be play, but Jackson told Eurosport he would not be one of them.
"I would love to (play for a British team), but then I might be a little different to some other players because travelling is one of my hobbies and I would embrace the opportunity to live in another country," the three-time Pro-Bowler said.
"If London was awarded a franchise would there be a backlash from the players? I don’t know, but I think with most players, what we love to do more than anything else is just to have an opportunity to play the game."
Jackson admitted he was surprised at how knowledgeable British fans of the game were and said that such knowledge would increase even further the more the league visited the UK.
"I believe that London could have a franchise, the fanbase is growing all the time and it has helped that we have brought these games to London," he said.
"It has been an education process and now the people are very knowledgeable about the game. I think it would grow even more if the fans had a team to root for and hopefully, with the Rams coming over here for the next three years, some new British fans will start rooting for us.
"I never thought I’d be able to play football in a different country, it is exciting to represent the sport and the ‘religion’ that is football and to show the fans in person the passion and the hard work that we put into the game."
Whether the British fans will be watching a winning team in the Rams over the next three years is another question.
The Rams have struggled in recent years and won only one match last season, but the appointment of experienced head coach Jeff Fisher, who brought the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl back in 1999, has lifted expectations in St Louis.
"We have brought in Coach Fisher who is an established coach in the NFL and he has put together a fine staff and also brought in some excellent new players through free agency and drafting," said Jackson who has run for over 1,000 yards for seven successive seasons despite his team's woes.
"Each and every year there is a team that surprises in the NFL. The talent level across the different teams is very even so it comes down how well the teams gel and the leadership that is provided.
"When week one comes along every team will start with a 0-0 record and every team has an equal chance of getting to the Super Bowl."