Professional Rugby vs the NFL
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That Moment When A Football Fan Goes To A Rugby Final

The NFL and other forms of American football could learn a lot from their rugby counterpart.

rugby stadium
Alex Kurtz

I recently returned from an 18-day study abroad in London and while I was over there, I got to do a lot of incredible things. My favorite event that I attended though was the AVIVA Premiere League Rugby Final between the London Saracens and the Exeter Chiefs.

As a sports fan, I have been to a lot of different events over the years, but this event was different than anything I had been a part of, and the NFL should seriously take note on how to run an event.

It starts with the walk over from the train. The station is around a mile from the stadium and during the walk over, you see stands with team apparel and street food galore.

You see this kind of in the states for NFL games, but nothing like this.

It was almost like a mile-long food market. Some of the apparel as well was very questionable from an American perspective (example: The Chiefs had huge Native American headdresses that you could buy), but then again England did not quite lead them on the Trail of Tears so it's probably different over there, but I digress.

That was a bit of a culture shock.

Eventually, we arrived at the venue. The game was held in Twickenham Stadium, a monstrous stadium that can hold around 84000 people, and while the game did not quite sell out, it was damn close and the atmosphere was electric.

What set this game apart from any other was the way the event was run. Once you got into the stadium, naturally the first thing to do was obtain food and beverages.

In American stadiums, souvenir cups run you an absurd amount of money, but in Twickenham, all the cups were souvenir. You paid a one-pound fee on top of the drink and if you did not want the cup, you brought it back and you got your pound back. Genius.

As for the food, not only did they have the stands in the stadium, but they had street food lining the perimeter of the stadium that you could get food from.

Here's the kicker though: IT WAS NORMALLY PRICED. I got a fried chicken sandwich, fries and a bottle of water for less than 10 pounds.

So, before the game has really begun, they are already better than an NFL stadium. Once the game started though, it got so much better.

We were told that before the game started that we should root for Exeter. They were the defending champs and apparently London is not well received by people outside of their fans.

Now, London is the hometown team. Normally when you go to an "away" game, the home fans can be sort of hostile towards opposing fans, especially in the NFL.

In rugby though, I did not see one act of violence or hostility. Do not get me wrong, there was good banter back and forth, but no real hostility. Rugby is a gentleman's game, and even drunk fans have respect for one another.

Once the game started, it was basically like another sports game. Teams scored, fans cheered, and eventually, one team came home with a win.

With this being a final, it was a little more electric than it normally was. When it was all said and done and the clock hit zero, London came out with the win and the championship.

For NFL games, once the game is over its over. You go home or you find a bar. Rugby games though? They laugh at you and they party. Literally.

After the game, one of the locals who used to be a police officer in London told us about a band playing on the level above. Once we found it, it was basically a small concert. Oh, and all the food and beverage vendors stay open so the fans linger, they eat/drink and they have a fantastic time.

I was shocked, to say the least.

Why the NFL does not do this for afternoon games is beyond me, because that stadium probably made so much money from people after the game was over. There was literally a mosh pit for this band, and fans from both sides are having a great time.

It was incredible. America, take notes because the British know how to throw a sporting event.

Upon finally leaving the stadium about two hours after the game ended, we found a pub to get some food and drinks and we had more fun with more rugby fans. They know how to party and it was great.

All in all, the game was an absolute blast. If you ever get the chance to go to a professional rugby game in the UK or anywhere for that matter, do it. You will not be disappointed in the slightest.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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