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NFL scores big in England

London match draws raves from U.K. press

The NFL’s most recent trip to Blighty got parties from both sides of the pond talking about new football crossovers.

Unlike last season’s sodden, lopsided Dolphins-Giants contest, Sunday’s thrilling 37-30 shootout at London’s Wembley Stadium between the New Orleans Saints and the San Diego Chargers drew rave reviews from the British press.

Before the day was out, two more possible Anglo-American collaborations were floated.

One, emerging from a pre-game chat between NFL officials and Scottish organizers, would be a 2009 game in Edinburgh or at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in Wales. Per an agreement struck after the Miami-New York event, the league is committed to two more Europe-based regular-season matchups over the next two season; Wembley reps had not struck a deal for a 2009 contest late Monday.

“We have good relationships with (Edinburgh’s) Murrayfield Stadium and the Scottish Rugby Union,” said NFL Europe head Alistair Kirkwood, who has been quoted saying that he believes Yankee-style football has the potential to be a top-five sport in the U.K.

Another notion would return the favor by going from the gridiron to the pitch: NFL officials are considering talks directed at bringing a Premier League soccer contest to the U.S. “It’s a strong idea, and I’d definitely want to look at it,” said NFL senior veep for sales and marketing Mark Waller.