October 30, 2018, by brzmjb1

Superbowl Champions Philadelphia Eagles pay a visit to University of Nottingham to talk American Football in the UK

Last Tuesday, the University of Nottingham American Football Club were privileged to be joined by the media team of the Philadelphia Eagles. As part of the build up to the Eagles NFL fixture against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley on Sunday 28th October, the media team from the Eagles wanted to create a piece on University of Nottingham American Football’s Wide Receiver and die hard Eagles fan Tom Galliford, as well as gathering an insight into how the game of American football is growing in the UK.

UoN Sport spoke with Tom as well to get his side of the story as to how he fell in love with American Football and the Philadelphia Eagles.

“Back in 2013 I went out to Princeton to visit my godmother, and her whole family are massive Philadelphia Eagles fans, they all have season tickets and go to most games. When I was out there my Godmothers husband took me down to one of the training camps to watch the Eagles train and I just fell in love with the game from there. I think what is so great about American Football is its complexity in that within one game you will have almost a hundred little games and individual battles, it really is a great test of tactically preparation and individual determination to win each individual battle throughout the game.”

But it wasn’t until Tom joined the University of Nottingham that he took his interest in American Football to another level,

“When I came back from Princeton in 2013 I would have gone to the park with my friends and thrown a ball around for bit but I didn’t start playing properly until I came to University and got the opportunity to learn and play the sport properly as a part of a team, having regular training in the state of the art facilities that we have here and being able to compete really made me love the sport even more.”

The American Football Programme at the University of Nottingham is a sports programme that is growing rapidly, the club is now has 109 players and was last year awarded UoN Sport Team of the Year after their unbeaten season saw them promoted to the BUCS Premier League. Tom shared his thoughts on last years success,

“The unbeaten season was amazing, it was a huge amount of hard-work but we felt confident in every game and played out of our skins, coming out of the Division 1 National Final with a 53-0 win made everything so worth it and was a testament to everyone’s dedication throughout the year.  What gave us that edge last year is the drive at the University of Nottingham to make American football one of the biggest sports at the University, we had such a great coaching team last year which we have taken through to this year and with a club of 109 players we are confident that we can have another successful year.”

It is no secret that American Football is really taking of in the U.K as it gets more and more media attention, the number of people starting to play the sport is growing exponentially. Whilst Tom is already an avid fan of the game he outlined the importance of the games at Wembley and said,

“It is massive for increasing the awareness and support for American Football within the UK. You can see such an increase in the amount of people that are trying out for the American Football Club as well as the amount of people that have a greater understanding and appreciation of the sport. Things like this are really helping to expand the sport.

Whilst Tom’s interest in American Football really blossomed at the University of Nottingham he has every intention of continuing to play and support it when he graduates “I would love to go back to America and watch the Eagles play again, after University I will definitely continue to play, there is a really good senior football set up developing in the UK at the moment so I will definitely get involved in that.”

His assumptions were about the popularity of the sport in the U.K were confirmed on Sunday as Philadelphia Eagles beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-18 in-front of a record Wembley attendance of 85,870 fans!

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