NFL, World Cup Collide in London

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RWU HQ – This weekend kicks off the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium in London.wembley-nfl-2015

However, this year the NFL could be second, or even third fiddle Sunday with the Rugby World Cup and Barclays Premier League in town.

“It was always going to be the test for us here,” Mark Waller, the NFL’s executive vice president, international, said via USA TODAY Sports. “Could we establish ourselves as a proper part of the sporting calendar in the United Kingdom? That’s what has happened.”

Sunday’s matchup starring the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins is set to kickoff at 9:30 a.m. EST and is stuck in the middle of the World Cup  and a game featuring two of Barclays Premier League’s more popular teams.

Sunday features a pair of games that flank the AFC East matchup with Argentina v. Tonga kicking off at 9:30 a.m. at Leicester City Stadium, which is just over an hour and a half away from Wembley, and Ireland v. Italy beginning at 11:45 a.m. at The Stadium, 24 miles from the NFL’s bout.

NFL intIn addition to rugby, Arsenal takes on Manchester United, just 8 miles away from Wembley, at Emirates Stadium at 11 a.m.

Even with all of the action surrounding the first game of the International Series, it’s still is expected to be a hot ticket. We know that former Jets tight-end and current USA and Saracens star Hayden Smith will be at the game, along with teammates Chris Baumann and Zach Fenoglio, as the team has an off-day before facing South Africa on Wednesday.

That has been hugely encouraging to us,” Waller said. “With the (soccer) and the rugby, you are talking about huge events that are captivating this country. But we are still selling out, right in the middle of it all. It shows us that there is demand for what we have to offer, there is passion for it and commitment to it, whatever else is happening.

With so much going on in London right now, it’ll be interesting to see how many fans are actually in their seats at kickoff Sunday morning.

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DJ Eberle is easily the largest of the RWU Team; Offensive Tackle Large. In fact, this Albany native played OT for Western New England University until he graduated in 2014. Like Junoir Blaber, he's moonlights on MeetTheMatts.com. His Dad played prop with Johnathan Wicklow Barberie and Matt McCarthy - who also in a MeetTheMatts.com moonlighter. DJ's cross to bear, however, is his love for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. There is hope, though, that his genetic inclination for Rugby, will cure him of that! Follow him on Twitter: @DJEberle66

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