Picture a chilly London morning, where the air is buzzing with excitement. There I stood, right outside the stadium. For years, I was like you, a fan in the stands, wearing jerseys, waving foam fingers, and shouting my heart out regardless of which team was playing. But this year, everything changed. This year, I was in the press box, working with the media, covering the very games that made me an NFL fanatic.
The Fan In Me
My NFL journey began at my now-husband’s house, watching Sunday night games on TV. The first time I attended an NFL game in London two years later, it was like stepping into a different world. The sea of fans, the chants, and the joy of being among fellow enthusiasts were unlike anything I’d experienced.
Of course, I started the blog that same year, and I kept coming back for more, immersing myself in the tailgates, joining the chants, and savouring the unforgettable moments on the field. Seeing NFL stars live was a thrill that kept me returning year after year.
Making the Leap
As time passed, I wanted to get closer to the action, to be more than just a fan. I first applied for credentials in 2022 and was instantly rejected. This year, I finally got my shot.
Moving from a fan to a media person was a big decision. I knew it meant giving up some fan experiences, but I couldn’t resist the chance to get closer to the game I loved. This transition had its challenges. I had to figure out media passes, learn press conference etiquette, and adapt to a new way of enjoying the games. I had doubts, but my love for the NFL pushed me forward.
Behind the Scenes
The day finally came when I was in the press box, surrounded by reporters, photographers, and analysts. My job was to connect fans with the action and share insights. I’m no game-day reporter, but I doubt anyone expected that from me. Being able to attend these games meant I had something extra to give and add value to in talking about the experience. Not just during the games but all year round, too.
I have to be honest; it was thrilling and a little intimidating. From the press conferences at the practice sessions to the post-game pressers. Being able to get in and ask a question (aka shout the loudest) could be brutal and overwhelming. That said, for my first year doing media, I’m pleased with how I handled myself.
The Three Consecutive NFL Games
The three back-to-back NFL games were a whirlwind of excitement. Each had its own story, and magic. The first game was a blur of excitement and adjustment. I was learning the ropes and balancing being a fan and media. The second game saw me getting more comfortable, confidently interviewing players and coaches and keeping fans updated. By the third game, I felt like I had come full circle. I was in my groove, sharing the drama of the NFL with fans worldwide.
Challenges and Rewards
The journey wasn’t all smooth sailing. There were moments when I missed being a fan, swept up in the emotions of the game. But the rewards were worth it. I talked to NFL legends – I met and interviewed Kenny Stills, I got to ask a question to Doug Pederson, met some great fellow writers, gained insights into the sport, and shared those experiences with fans who couldn’t be there.
The challenges made the rewards even sweeter, teaching me the value of chasing your passion. There have been times when I considered quitting the blog and podcasts. I felt burnt out occasionally, but I’m so glad I persevered.
The Fan-Media Balance
Balancing my roles as a fan and a media person wasn’t always easy. Sometimes, I had to hold back my cheers in the press area or put my emotions aside to do my job. But in those moments, I gained a newfound appreciation for the hard work that goes into bringing the NFL to fans.
A prime example is the press conference with OBJ sat opposite me. I had a question I wanted to ask. My heart was beating like crazy through nerves. The PR guy said, “Two questions left,” and I tried to shout mine, but I got beat by a guy asking about Fish and Chips; it wasn’t meant to be. But I know for the future what I need to do to get the important stuff asked.
As the final whistle blew on the third game, I felt fulfilled. I had come full circle, from being a fan in the stands to working in the press box. I was thankful for every step of the journey.
My love for the NFL brought me here, and now, as part of the media, I can share that love with others. The London NFL games deepened my passion and gave me a new perspective on the game I adore.
I was also wiped out from three back-to-back weekends driving from Manchester to London. It’s safe to say that entering this new weekend knowing I’m planless and don’t have any 4+ hour drives ahead of me is a relief. On the other hand, what I’d give to do all of this over again… Fingers crossed, I’m lucky enough to be invited back again!