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NFL: Broncos will play Jaguars in London this autumn

It's a "home" game for Jacksonville and will be Broncos' first game across the pond since 2010.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Dig up those passports. The NFL announced early Wednesday morning – not so early London time – that the Denver Broncos will indeed play the Jacksonville Jaguars across the pond on Sunday, Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:30 a.m. Colorado time.

“Broncos Country is everywhere and the best way to grow our game—and reach fans all over the world—is by playing internationally,'' said Broncos' general manager George Paton in a statement. 

The game in London is a "home" game for the Jaguars, who have moved one home game per year in England’s capital every year since 2013, with the exception of the pandemic year of 2020. All those games were played at Wembley Stadium with the exception of last year when the Jags beat the Dolphins at Tottenham Stadium.

The Broncos were picked to play in London this season in no small part because they expressed a strong desire to do so.

"I’ve expressed interest on behalf of the team," Broncos’ chief executive officer Joe Ellis said March 28 during the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. "Coach Hackett is bullish on it, George (Paton) is bullish on it, Russell Wilson is bullish on it. We’re lobbying as hard as we can."

RELATED: Klis' Mike Drop podcast: Talking NFL draft with GM George Paton, coach Nathaniel Hackett and top pick Nik Bonitto

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey
Joe Ellis, president of the Denver Broncos, on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Denver.

RELATED: Broncos load up in offseason to try to keep up with AFC West Arm's Race

To help accommodate the long day of travel each way to and from London, the NFL could arrange for the Broncos to play the previous week at Carolina, where the team could stay another day or two after the game, then fly from there to London. A Broncos home game prior to the London trip is also possible. The NFL also almost always scheduled a bye week for teams immediately following their game in London. The Broncos’ game previous to London and their bye week won’t be known until the rest of the NFL schedule is announced next Thursday, May 12. London is seven hours ahead of Colorado time so 6 a.m. here is 1 p.m. in London.

The Broncos last played in London during the middle of the 2010 season and it didn’t go well. Not only did they lose to a San Francisco 49ers team that was 1-6 going into the game, the NFL learned Broncos’ videographer Steve Scarnecchia violated league rules by filming 6 minutes of the 49ers’ walkthrough practice the day before the game at Wembley.

Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels said he did not view the tape when Scarnecchia presented it to him at his London hotel room but McDaniels was fined $50,000 for not reporting the illicit tape. The team was also fined $50,000 and Scarnecchia was fired. McDaniels was fired five weeks later as the Broncos had slumped to a 3-9 record. After returning to the New England Patriots as an offensive coordinator, McDaniels was hired as the Raiders’ head coach in January.

The Broncos were going to return to London in early November of 2020 to play the Atlanta Falcons but the overseas trip was cancelled because of the pandemic. The Green Bay Packers will also play the New York Giants in London on Nov. 13 this year, as will New Orleans against the Minnesota Vikings. The Tampa Bay Bucs will also play the first-ever regular-season game in Munich, Germany on Nov. 13 vs. the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals will be the host team for a game in Mexico City.

Wembley Stadium is a 15-year, retractable-roof venue that has a capacity of 90,000. A paid crowd of 84,771 watched the Jaguars get whipped by the Houston Texans, 26-3 midway through the 2019 season, the last time an NFL game was played there.

The Broncos had also previously played seven preseason international games in such destinations as Berlin, Tokyo, Barcelona, Mexico City and Sydney from 1987-99.

Credit: AP Photo/Alastair Grant
Wembley Stadium before the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers play in London on Sunday Oct. 31, 2010.

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