The Hype Train Diversion

By James Fotheringham (@NFLHypeTrain)

With a bit of free time available for a change, I thought it may be fun to create the most British team I could, without just cheating and saying the Cleveland Browns (since we like an underdog and never succeeding). There’s a lot of artistic licence and some imagination which at least makes me sound like a Russell Wilson scramble.

Anyway, here’s what I came up with:


QB- Matt Ryan

Goalkeeper for premier league side Brighton. We love our soccer and since there is only ever 1 QB on the field for each team at once (playing the position, I’m ignoring the Taysom Hill role) and there is only one goalkeeper on each team, it fits in some way. It’s still the backfield in some way.


RB- Bo Scarborough

Oh I do like the be beside the seaside. A favourite haunt of mine in my childhood was Scarborough Sea front. With attractions such as the Sea Life Centre and the North Bay Railway (a personal favourite) it’s a very British seaside town and to have a namesake in the NFL seem fair.


RB- Jay Ajayi

London’s own… although it could soon be Christian Wade in this spot. Ajayi is at least a Brit with a Superbowl ring, even if he didn’t do an awful lot with the Eagles in that run.

He moved to the US at the age of 7 so had the full school and college experience (Boise State), before being drafted to the NFL by Miami. He had some memorable 200yard games where he still is one of only 4 people to have two back to back. In 2017 he was traded mid-season to the Eagles and despite only playing 7 games, gaining 499 yards on 70 carries and 10 receptions, he did help them to a Superbowl ring.

After missing a long time through injury and being waived, he recently returned to the Eagles, although he is yet to see the ball. He can have the occasional mega day but has many days just tinged with disappointment. Sounds very British to me.


WR- Kenny Britt

Britt by name, and in being disappointing, an underdog that never succeeded and always last in the queue for targets, he’s even a Brit by nature.

There’s never been a British Wide Receiver even close to the NFL so this position was hard to club together. That being said, the old jokes about the England Cricket Team make me wonder if we are a nation that can’t catch more than a cold.


WR- Odell Beckham

Shame he doesn’t wear number 7 really. We definitely love our soccer and David Beckham is a name that the whole world knows. You thought there would only ever be one Beckham, but here we are, a different Football but a Beckham who is a high end celebrity with some skills. Not quite as much Posh when it comes to Odell though.


TE – Alex Grey

The former Rugby Union player is currently on injured reserve and on a futures contract with the Falcons but he’s still looking to forge a career in the NFL, although even making the field once in a regular season game looks like it will be an achievement. Apart from Mark Andrews sounding like he should be a London City banker, he’s all I have for this one.

With our sense of humour, the idea of a Tight End is amusing and with players like Ertz and Eifert providing amusing team names (My Ball Zach Ertz, My Tight End Ertz when Eifert and so on), there’s plenty of wit to be had here.


K- Graham Gano

He’s a Scot Gano, Ya know. He’s by no means the only Scot very good at kicking a ball a long way and high over the bar. He’s not too bad at getting it between the posts which is why he’s in the NFL.


P- Jamie Gillan

The Scottish Hammer even gets his home country into his nickname. #Proud. Like most proud Scots he would never have accepted the British Hammer and while he’s a Pro Bowl Calibre player, barely anyone has ever heard of him. In Scotland, the UK and even in Cleveland, not a lot of people know the absolute rarity which is happening on their doorstep.


Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


Individual defensive players (IDP)


DB- Earl Thomas

No UK link, just sounds like a visitor to Downton Abbey. Other similar links can be found with Duke Johnson and Bishop Sankey (remember him?).


DL- Jack Crawford

One of the longest serving exports to the NFL. Currently in Atlanta, although limited on snaps. He’s not going to be on Fantasy teams where you play IDP but he’s still flying the flag and is one of the modern player who showed (and still show) the way.

He was a 5th round pick in 2012 for the Oakland Raiders and also had a spell at the Cowboys. He did move across to the USA in 2005 at the age of 17 and went through the college system at Penn State, but he was still born in London.

Interestingly, he shared a class in London with Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame.


DE/LB- Efe Obada

From Nigeria to Netherlands to the UK before the age of 10. Homeless in London, eventually fostered, played for the London Warriors in BAFA at DE and TE and now plies his trade in Carolina as a DE.

The Cowboys, Chiefs and Falcons all took a look at him but on when the Panthers swept him up in May 2017 did he finally stick thanks to the International Pathway program.

He became the first International Pathway player to make a 53 man roster and by week 3 in 2018 he was playing in a regular season game. That debut was memorable as he got a sack and an interception, was given the game ball and names defensive player of the week.

He’s been quieter since then but is still on the team and came over to play in London earlier this year.

Full10Takeaways – Week 11

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Bite Size NFL news from Week 11 
  • Oakland Raiders rookie fourth round DT Maxx Crosby had a monster 4 sacks against the Bengals to move up to joint 9th in the NFL and 3rd amongst rookies.
  • Sam Darnold had 4 TD passes for the New York Jets in their 17 point win against the Redskins, his first 4 TD day in his 20 game career.
  • Talking of the Redskins they managed their first TD since the 3rd Q against the Dolphins on October 13, thanks to second year RB Derrius Guice.
  • The Atlanta Falcons won their second game in a row whilst only allowing their opponents to get a single-digit score (this week 3 against the Panthers).
  • Minnesota’s 4 point win against Denver is the first time since 2014 a team has come back from 20 or more points at half-time to win a game.
  • With 788 rushing yards Ravens QB Lamar Jackson is ALREADY 7th in the all-time rushing yards gained by a QB in a season. He needs 252 in 6 games to get the crown.
  • Patriots WR Julian Edelman tossed the 2nd TD pass of his career to beat the Eagles. Edelman is one of 15 non-QBs to have a career perfect passer rating.
  • And a final historic appetiser – One former NFL non-QB leads the NFL all-time in passing yards (350), passing touchdowns (9) and interceptions (6) – take a bow Walter Payton. 

What everyone’s tucking in to

Steelers (5-5) @ Browns (4-6) 

The Steelers were on a four-game win streak, and the Browns were in danger of their entire season imploding as we went into this TNF divisional matchup. It was a torrid affair for the eyes, as Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph looked dreadful even before WR Ju-Ju Smith Schuster went out with concussion.

This was an old fashioned brutal game that was personified by a hit dished out by Browns safety Damarious Randall on WR Dionte Johnson that caused blood to come out of his ear. The hit could be justified as not a complete head hunt, but what followed was indescribably common assault. The Browns, who rode the storm of an ugly contest were 14 points up as the Steelers mounted a final meaningless drive.

With 14 seconds left Mason Rudolph threw a short pass that gained 11 yards, then all hell broke loose. Rudolph was drilled by DE Myles Garrett. Rudolph then tried to remove Garrett’s helmet and failed. Garrett then managed to remove Rudolph’s helmet and then five seconds later cracked Mason on the top of his skull with the black and gold lid. Steelers C Mike Pouncey reacted immediately and kicked Garrett whilst he was on the ground, pinned to the end-zone by Steelers G David DeCastro. To top it off Rudolph still vocalising his displeasure was knocked to the floor by Browns defender Larry Ogunjobi.

I’ve been watching the NFL since 1985 and I cannot recall an ending like this. Garrett, Pouncey and Ogunjobi were ejected from the game and soon after all received bans, Garrett suspended indefinitely, to definitely include any involvement with the 2019 NFL season.

Using a fist to punch someone in the face is bad enough, take the Andre Johnson Cortland Finnegan fight (Week 12 2010) as an example. A helmet did get ripped off but it was thrown away, to effectively level the playing field.

On Thursday night Myles Garrett used Rudolph’s helmet as a weapon to cause harm. This was not an accident, this was done with intent, albeit with red mist clogging up the former #1 overall pick’s ability to behave rationally.

This insanity has been unpicked by former players, journalists and fans across the globe. Garrett has already broken a quarterback’s leg (Trevor Siemian) this season, but he was not known as dirty. Now he will have the helmet hit follow his career…..that’s when he gets one back. 


Texans (6-4) v Ravens (8-2) 

Billed as the matchup between the two most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks on the NFL (sorry Josh Allen you are a respectable third) this was supposed to be a classic high scoring contest coming down to who had the ball last. Instead we got one team on fire and one team on ice.

Despite a non-scoring first quarter this was not going to be the Houston Texans day as their first three drives ended on a turnover (fumble lost), a failed fourth down attempt and a punt. After an equally frustrating first period Lamar Jackson woke up and went 5-5 including the opening score to the lesser spotted Seth Roberts. From that point on the Ravens flicked a switch that they didn’t turn off until the fourth quarter.

The Ravens got a second TD, LJax to TE Mark Andrews to take a 14-0 lead at the half. When Jackson threw his third TD pass on the opening drive of the third quarter, to RB Mark Ingram II, it was effectively game over.

One play of note in the second half was Lamar’s 39 yard dash on a 2nd and 1. Another entry in the Baltimore QBs MVP application form. The Ravens finished with 263 yards rushing, thanks in part to a 63 yard TD rumble by Gus ‘the mini bus’ Edwards in the late stages. 


Chiefs (7-4) v Chargers (4-7) in Mexico

Philip Rivers saw his season committed to the grave in a country the celebrates the Day of the Dead, as Mexico hosted the final International regular season game of the season. Four interceptions, including one in the end-zone, on a potential game-tying pass was a microcosm of another failing season for a Chargers team that on paper has talent throughout.

The Chiefs Patrick Mahomes was not en-fuego in the air, but some chunky RPO (run pass option) plays yielded chain moving first downs precisely when they were needed. Veteran KC RB LeSean McCoy, who carries the ball in the same way a granny would after collecting a seeded bloomer from their local bakery, was able to take his loaf into the end-zone. He was also targeted 6 times, hauling in 4-28 to outpace KC’s number one WR Sammy Watkins (2-26). Big respect to L.A. RB Austin Ekeler who had 8-108 in the air. His 65 catches only trails leading pass catcher WR Keenan Allen by 5 pigskins.

The Chiefs are still atop the AFC West, and undefeated in the division, but the rather stinky breath of the Oakland Raiders is fresh in the face of those in red and white as the pirates trail by one game and are on a three-game win streak.


Something to finish us off…

Matty Ice cracks top 10 

With his seventh 300+ passing game of the 2019 under his belt Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan moved to number 10 in the all-time regular season passing charts.

The man he happened to pass has a bronze bust in the NFL and CFL Hall of Fame – Mr Warren Moon. Moon in fact has a Super Bowl winners ring, as a Seahawks broadcaster, earned 13 years after he was enshrined in Canton.

Ryan himself will tip over 50,000 yards by the end of this season, having reached 49,383 since his 2008 rookie campaign. Ryan has started 183 games in his career, having missed his first start in since 2009 just a few weeks ago. An absolute model of professionalism, Ryan is Hall of Fame worthy with 313 career TDs and just 142 interceptions. Don’t expect Ryan to run, but be instead mildly surprised that he has darted for 1,225 yards on the ground and 9 scores.

Four Pro Bowls, one All Pro appearance, one NFL MVP and one Super Bowl played is not the most impressive CV of all time, but anyone who reaches 50,000 passing yards, which Ryan will, likely by Week 14, deserves a moment of praise.