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Friday, Oct 21, 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Rams, not Bucs, to play NFL games in London for next 3 years

LONDON - Per their wishes, it doesn't appear that the Tampa Bay Bucs will be playing any more regular-season games in London anytime soon. The NFL announced to today that the St. Louis Rams will play a regular-season game in London in each of the next three seasons, first facing the New England Patriots in 2012. The Rams and Patriots will play on Oct. 28 at Wembley Stadium, the NFL said. It's the sixth consecutive year year the league will play regular-season games in the British capital. Tampa Bay has played in two of the past three NFL international series matchups at Wembley Stadium, losing to New England in 2009 and dropping a 24-18 decision to Chicago in October.
"We spoke to the league recently and informed them that we wouldn't want to be participating in the foreseeable future,'' Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer said earlier this month. "We were helping the league internationally, we believe greatly in that. But for the foreseeable future, that is something we told them we want to focus on building our base here.'' The NFL has been trying to bring two games a season to Britain, but the league said the Rams-Patriots contest would be the only one in 2012. "We are confident that having the Rams host one game in the UK in each of the next three seasons will allow us to better serve the growing popularity of our sport beyond the borders of the United States," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. The NFL first played at Wembley in 2007, with the New York Giants beating the Miami Dolphins 13-10. Since then, seven other teams have visited Britain, including the Bucs' two trips. The Patriots have already been to London, beating the Bucs 35-7 in 2009. The Bucs returned this season, losing to the Chicago Bears 24-18 in October — the first of the Wembley games that wasn't a sellout. The Rams are owned by Stan Kroenke, who is also the majority shareholder in English club Arsenal. "We've seen first-hand the increased popularity of the NFL not only in London but throughout Europe," Kroenke said. "To play a role in that growth over the next three years will be incredible and is a testament to the many good things happening not only in the NFL but also in the St. Louis Rams organization."

Tribune staff writer Ira Kaufman contributed to this report