Jags in the UK

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Late October saw the glamour and razzamatazz of the NFL come to the UK with the Jacksonville Jaguars playing the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium. One person at the stadium who was making the most of the event was Pythons coach and General Manager, Steve Guy.

This was the second time in less than a year Steve had seen the Jaguars play. In 2012 he was in Jacksonville to see them take on the Indianapolis Colts. Steve says: “Jacksonville is by no means the biggest city in the NFL, and I was staying quite some way away from the centre of town, so it was a bit of the usual tourist trail. But everyone was so friendly and excited when they heard my accent and realized how far I had travelled to see their team. I certainly got quite a few free drinks out of it the night of the game!”

With the Jaguars arranging to play a game at Wembley each of the next three years they and the NFL have been keen to foster links with the football community in the UK. In April Steve was invited to an event hosted by the NFL in London where Tony Boselli (the Jaguars first ever draft pick and their greatest ever player) answered questions and unveiled the team’s new uniform and helmet design. “That was pretty awesome! Although he retired a decade ago, I think he could still do a job for the Pythons…I almost did ask if he had ever considered doing a Masters at Cambridge!”

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The week before the game Steve was able to have his photo taken with the Super Bowl trophy (“I got closer to it than many NFL players will during the course of their entire careers”) and then Steve was one of a handful of UK coaches invited to a Jaguars training session at their base in Surrey. “Sitting in the hotel lobby whilst huge NFL players walked past was only just the start of a great day. I got to meet the players, the Head Coach of the Jaguars and their General Manager and watch them train. Many of the drills they did are the same as we do at the Pythons, so it was good to know we are progressing along the same road. It was almost like watching a Pythons session, but without the bikes by the side of the field! The intensity and enthusiasm given off by the players and coaching staff was very infectious.”

Unfortunately the Jaguars lost the Wembley game, but look for them to be stronger next year when they come. As Steve says “It was very evident when speaking with both Gus Bradley (Jaguars Head Coach) and David Caldwell (Jaguars General Manager) that they have a defined plan in place for the team to get better year on year. There was a lot to inspire us when taking the Pythons forward.”

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