NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-2) at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (0-6)
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009 Wembley Stadium (84,000) 1:00 p.m. EDT
The NFL’s International Series of regular-season games returns to the United Kingdom this Sunday when Tampa Bay hosts New England. The contest will mark the third consecutive year of an NFL regular-season game at London’s Wembley Stadium. On October 26, 2008 the New Orleans Saints defeated the San Diego Chargers 37-32 before a crowd of 83,226. The International Series began on October 28, 2007 when the New York Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins, 13-10. Said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, “We are proud to be selected by the NFL to be featured in this year’s international game. I am sure our trip to the United Kingdom will prove to be an unforgettable experience for our players and coaches, as well as the many fans that will travel to the game. I know that the UK is home to some of our most passionate Patriots fans and we look forward to the experience.”
TELEVISION: This week’s game will be broadcast to a regional audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms providing color.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One. Kevin Kugler and Mark Malone will call the game. Scott Graham will host the pregame and halftime shows.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 33rd season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 26th season as a tandem.
Phil Simms from CBS on Patriots/Bucs:
(On Tom Brady’s Six Touchdown Performance): The evaluation of him every week is going overboard. Everybody’s trying to evaluate every single one of his throws, the status of his knee – it’s endless. It’s ridiculous, but that’s what we all do. And, last week in those conditions, it’s not the six touchdown throws. It’s not the numbers. It’s the physical performance that was impressive. The fact that he controlled the football, throwing it with touch, power, accuracy, and everything you want in a perfect day against a bad defense. But he also did it on one of the worst days he’s probably played in, and on one of the worst fields he’s ever played on. And, he still did all those things. So that’s what’s impressive, no matter if you’re Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, or anyone else. Confidence can never hurt an athlete’s performance. So to have such an outstanding statistical game has to build his confidence.
(On Winless Tampa Bay’s Chances This Weekend vs. New England): The big thing this weekend is that it’s an extremely tough match-up for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I don’t just mean that because they’re 0-6. I mean that just from the scheme and skill of their players. It’s not a great match for them against the New England Patriots. The style that each team plays doesn’t serve Tampa well. In games like this, if you’re undermanned you have to find ways to make it even. I’m not saying trick plays, but changing things a little bit to hopefully catch the Patriots by surprise. Then you hope to make plays. When you’re a team like Tampa, you’re 0-6, you’re just trying to get into the fourth quarter with the game still in doubt, and then you try to win it, or steal it or whatever phrase you want to use. To me that’s going to be Tampa’s game plan for this weekend.
(On NFL Game in London): It is good for the game. I was there last year for CBS’s game in London. The excitement is real, not only with the Americans that live over there but also all the British people that I met. Most of them were very excited and, by and large, the number one comment I got from them was, ‘How come there’s not more?’ I thought, ‘Wow, that’s interesting.’ When the game was over we went out to eat and almost every single person in the place was coming up to us and asking questions. They wish there were more games, and one of the guys asked us, ‘Why can’t they just send one game over here a week?’ I laughed, ‘That might be a little much right now.’ It shows you a lot about American football. You don’t have to know all the rules. No matter who you are, as you watch it, it’s easy to see and sense the excitement. It’s easy to understand the skill of the players and what’s happening. That is why it has such a tremendous attraction.
Patriots in England: As the New England Patriots are in London to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday NFL Countdown looks into what awaits the Patriots as they head back “over the pond.”
Kara Henderson reports for NFL Gameday Morning from Patriots-Buccaneers matchup at Wembley Stadium in London.