Tottenham Hotspur Stadium earns rave reviews after latest NFL clash
Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen described the venue as “incredible”.
The NFL returns to London at the end of October and the pressure will be on Wembley after two hugely successful debut showings from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Chicago Bears and the Oakland Raiders enjoyed playing at the first purpose-built NFL stadium outside of the United States earlier this month, with the N17 venue earning rave reviews on its opening night of American Football.
Everything went to plan during that dramatic 24-21 fixture and it was the case again when NFC South rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers went head-to-head at Spurs’ 62,214-seater home on Sunday.
Another exciting match was produced and Christian McCaffrey demonstrated his ability with two touchdowns in a 37-26 win for visiting Carolina played out in an electric atmosphere.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said: “This stadium is terrific, it really is. Whatever they did, they did it right. The field, the players talked about it being a fast surface and thought it was a good field to play on.
“The amenities in terms of the locker room, the way the locker room is set up, structure as far as the training room, the hydrotherapy room for the guys, it’s top-notch.
“I think if you come here, you should be able to appreciate the situation.”
Some of the massive plus points for Tottenham include having actual separate locker rooms created for the needs of a 53-player team plus coaches and staff – not putting them in dressing rooms designed purely for football of the English kind.
An artificial turf is another key aspect of the stadium, which finally opened in April after several delays.
The natural grass football pitch slides under the South Stand in three pieces, which reveals an artificial turf exclusively built for the NFL.
In terms of the fans, Tottenham boast the largest retail area for any football club in Europe and the store has been transformed to cater for a different sport for the past two weekends.
On sale were jerseys from all 32 American Football teams and supporters from all over flocked to the stadium in their numbers to create a deafening noise during the second NFL fixture in N17.
Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay defensive end, said: “The atmosphere was great. It sounded in some situations like Carolina fans were going wild, but for us, Tampa being the home team, we’ve got to still be able to go out there and execute.
“I enjoyed the atmosphere. I think it was great and look forward to hopefully an opportunity to come back and get a win.”
Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen made the most of Tottenham’s club shop by sporting a cap with a Spurs badge on the front.
He wore the hat during the warm-up, but refused to commit to supporting the Premier League side moving forward.
“I’m not going to claim any team,” Allen said. “I posted that on my Instagram, got roasted, so I’m not claiming anybody yet. I got to make a decision.”
Tottenham’s home certainly left the quarterback impressed, however, and he added: “The stadium is incredible. Incredible stadium.
“It was a really cool stadium. Packed to the brim. I remember running out of that tunnel, I was psyched to play here because it was packed. Fans were loud, stayed the whole game, rain or shine. It was a good experience.”
The NFL will return to London on October 27 when the Cincinnati Bengals take on the Los Angeles Rams and a week later it will be the Houston Texans against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but both fixtures will take place at Wembley.
After Tottenham’s successful debut, focus will be on the facilities and the fan experience under the arch in Brent. Should it not reach the same heights, talk of a future London franchise based at Spurs’ stadium will only increase.