Sunday marked the return of the NFL’s London series as the Vikings and Saints battled it out in front of an international crowd. It was the 31st game played in London, dating back to 2007 and will be the first of three NFL games this season.
However, only two of them will be played on a football field. Let me explain.
The games between New Orleans and Minnesota, and New York (Giants) and Green Bay will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Denver and Jacksonville will play at Wembley Stadium.
Wembley stadium is not a football field. It is exclusively for soccer.
On the other hand, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is a football field, kind of.
It is the first and only stadium outside of North America that is specifically designed for NFL games. Opened in 2019, the club intentionally designed the field so that it could be a lock to host American football games for years to come.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium keeps the world’s first dividing, retractable American football field underground. The club is able to disconnect the soccer pitch and retract the individual sections out of sight.
Once those steps are taken, it reveals a synthetic football field underneath. To keep the hidden football field in proper shape, the club uses built-in LED lights, automated mowers and irrigation year-round.
After the football field is brought to the top, it is then connected, the gaps are filled in and connected with additional turf, the field goals are raised, the lines are marked and the game is played. It’s a rather intricate process that involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work.
Timelapse video of the stadium going from soccer mode to football mode is truly mesmerizing. It shows all of the technology and manual labor come together to put on a product worthy of the NFL.
What Tottenham did with its stadium is literally one of a kind. The entire process is so cool.