Can we expect more Brits in the NFL?

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The NFL is one sport where you can be sure that the majority of those playing it are from two countries, USA and Canada. You have the odd foreign import but not as much as the other so called ‘North American sports’.

Baseball has a large influx of Central and South Americans playing in their sport while the NHL boasts large numbers from Scandinavia and Russia, even Basketball has a fair number of overseas talent playing on the hard courts of the NBA.

Not many of these players are British but a recent trend has seen a handful of Brits attempt to make it in the NFL. There have been three British born players to win a Super Bowl ring, Osi Unmenyiora (Born in Golders Green, London), Scott McCready (London) and Lawrence Tynes (Greenock, Scotland).

Though all of these born in England their stay was quite short lived before they moved to the US, where they have found a way to the NFL.

This offseason saw two Brits start on their journey to the NFL. Menelik Watson was drafted in the second round of the Draft by the Oakland Raiders and Lawrence Okoye, undrafted but was signed by the San Francisco 49ers after competing in the Olympics for Great Britain last summer.

Watson had the better chance of making it, as proved by Okoye’s release from the 49ers yesterday, though there is still hope that he will show enough to make it on to a practice squad for the season ahead.

As the sport gains more and more popularity in the UK we could very well see more and more young kids looking at the NFL as something they work towards. The likes of Watson and Okoye will give people belief that just because you are British doesn’t mean you can’t make it.

The continued presence of the International Series in London will no doubt help more and more young people into the sport, and in generations to come, more are likely to follow this year's hopefuls.

image: © Matt McGee