Football intrigues people - Roethlisberger
4th July 2013 12:49pm BST
Pittsburgh Steelers quarter-back Ben Roethlisberger is delighted that the UK has embraced the NFL and American Football.
For the first time ever, 2013 will witness two NFL regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium. In October the Jacksonville Jaguars will play the San Francisco 49ers, but before that, in September, the Minnesota Vikings will host Roethlisberger’s Steelers at Wembley.
It is something that Roethlisberger, nicknamed Big Ben for his size (he stands at 6’5”), is excited to be a part of. He said: “To me that is neat, to grow our sport that we love so much. We play it, we love it.”
Roethlisberger adds that he thinks the reason behind his sports popularity is the combination of physicality and finesse that attracts new fans.
He said: “I think people are intrigued as to how physical it is. It is full contact, it is the most physical sport there is, but there is still an element of finesse to it.”
American Football can be a brutal sport but it is also very technical and tactical, with the preciseness of players’ movement integral to the development of a play.
Roethlisberger added: “Some of the guys, the running-backs and wide-receivers, some of the things they do is beautiful. I think that the game of football brings so much to the table that it intrigues people. It kind of sucks you in.”
Wembley Stadium has been hosting regular-season games since 2007, when the Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants. The Jacksonville Jaguars, who play in the AFC South, have an agreement to host one of their regular-season games at Wembley until 2016, guaranteeing English audiences four more years of live action.
That is not something, Roethlisberger admits wryly, the Steelers’ fans would be too pleased about, losing one of their home games to the London venue each season.
He added: “I don’t think our fans would like it, we have got some pretty amazing fans. They are passionate and I don’t think they would take too kindly to losing a home game.”