The NFL UK general manager is ‘thrilled’ to see quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Trevor Lawrence come to London after the league announced its 2023 International Series lineup.
On Wednesday, the NFL revealed the International Series lineup for the 2023 season with five matches being played in the United Kingdom and Germany. The UK is set to host three matches while Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt will debut as an NFL stadium with two games.
While the full regular season schedule will be revealed on Thursday, the NFL released the dates and matchups for the five games taking place on foreign soil. The London games will take place over three successive weekends in October, with the Jacksonville Jaguars set to face the Atlanta Falcons and Buffalo Bills before the Baltimore Ravens clash with the Tennessee Titans.
Following the announcement, NFL UK GM Henry Hodgson revealed his excitement at the lineup, which features a number of exciting players. Hodgson pointed to the elite quarterbacks on offer, with former MVP Jackson - who ended speculation over his future in April with a new five-year contract - and Bills superstar Allen coming to London.
“There are a lot of stars coming to London, especially with the quarterbacks,” Hodgson exclusively told Mirror Sport. “Lamar is a guy who you never know what you’re going to see from him, but he’s a top five quarterback in the NFL. We’ve got Josh Allen, who’s in that mix as well.
“Trevor Lawrence had a bit of a breakout into the top 10 quarterbacks last year and he might climb higher by the time he comes to play. It’s a privilege for us British fans to watch a young quarterback with all the talent like him mature and grow on an annual basis, even twice in one year.
“Whether it’s quarterbacks or other star young players like Bijan Robinson for the Atlanta Falcons. The Tennessee Titans have a potential star young quarterback in Will Levis coming here, too. There are fantastic players across the board and it will be really fun to watch them.”
Hodgson added: “I'm thrilled for fans, that we are bringing this quality of games and star power to the UK. It's exciting that we get these games in London.”
The Jaguars will continue their unique relationship with the UK by making history in 2023. The AFC South franchise are set to become the first team to play two games in one season, welcoming the Falcons to Wembley on October 1 before being hosted by the Buffalo Bulls at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium a week later.
Jacksonville are mainstays in the UK and are gearing up to contest their 10th and 11th regular season games on these shores. Hodgson praised the organisation for its ambitious dedication to London, a partnership which began back in 2013.
“The Jaguars have a commitment to growing and engaging their fans in the UK - and this shows that commitment,” Hodgson continued. “They’re going to play back-to-back games, including one against a Bills team that was so hot last year.
“It shows how we evolve these international games from the first one in London back in 2007. We always tried to do something different and the Jags have been a partner with us along the way - and the next step in that journey are these games in the UK.”
The 2023 schedule is an ambitious project given London will host a regular season match over three successive weekends. While the logistics may prove challenging, Hodgson is ready for the NFL to leave a clear mark amid a crowded British sporting landscape.
“What excites me, I think, is the opportunity for us to kind of own a whole month on the UK sporting calendar,” Hodgson said. “I think that's a fun thing for us to be able to do.
“The challenge comes in the opportunity to show sports fans here in the UK that the NFL is here all year, and we can show off all the things we do, whether that is putting on amazing fan events, flag football or the NFL Academy. It gives us plenty of attention during that month.”
Ultimately, the relationship between the NFL and its British fanbase remains as strong as ever, with Hodgson suggesting: “The clearest underscoring of the strong relationship [between the UK and the NFL] is that the Jags are coming and playing back-to-back games.
“We constantly are looking at how we can evolve and do things that are new and different - and this is the latest example of that. The fact this is happening shows the commitment of the NFL as a whole to the UK as a central international market.”