Last week as part of the Summer Bowl 2016 held at King’s House Sports Ground in Chiswick, we spoke to Cincinatti Bengals defensive tackle Domato Peko on a number of topics, including the rivalry with the Steelers, playing alongside Geno Atkins and a potential London franchise.
Kadeem: You play alongside some very impressive players like Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, does it make it harder to get sacks?
Domata: No, I think it makes it a lot better because a lot of teams are focussing on them and it helps me out to get singled up. Last year I had my career high in sacks (five) so it’s really great to have two of the best guys in the league right next to me
Kadeem: The play-off game against the Steelers was intense, is that the kind of game you relish? Those physical, intense battles.
Domata: Yeah man, that’s what the sport is about. It’s about competition at the highest level and especially against the Steelers, it’s a great rivalry for us. It’s kind of like Chelsea v Manchester United, it’s that type of atmosphere which is great.
Kadeem: How are you finding London?
Domata: I love it, I love London. I’m a big Premier League fan and just being out here in the UK is awesome and seeing the kids and the smiles on their faces, seeing how much they love American Football is great.
Kadeem: A lot of kids are here today, why should they support the Bengals over other teams?
Domata: I would love for them to support the Bengals because just like Leicester City, no-one gave them a chance and that’s just like us. A lot of people look down on the Bengals, like ‘the Bengals aren’t going to win blah blah blah’ but just like Leicester you never know. We just have to keep working hard and keep doing our best. Like we told the kids, if you keep doing your best then good things will happen.
Kadeem: So that’s who you aspire to be this season, the Leicester of the NFL?
Domata: Yeah man, that’s who everyone wants to be. Everyone wants to carry that trophy and be a champion. Leicester showed us that anybody can do it.
Kadeem: What are you expecting from the London crowd?
Domata: A couple of guys here have already played here before and were telling me that it is an amazing atmosphere. One thing I love about the UK and about watching European soccer, football, is just seeing the crowd and how enthusiastic they are and I can’t watch to touch ground here in London and play at Wembley, just to see the atmosphere.
Kadeem: So I take it you would really enjoy a London franchise because from what it sounds like, we aren’t that far off from that one day being a possibility.
Domata: That would be great, I would love to have a UK franchise and it would be awesome for the UK and the US. To have someone out here that loves American Football, hopefully that would be great.
It was an absolute pleasure to speak to Domato Peka and I’d like to take the time to thank him for talking to us and being so open and honest when being asked these questions. Thanks once again to the NFL UK team for inviting us to their media day.
Pics: Roger Goodgroves