Patriots

British reporter: NFL in England 'has a chance' to work

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British reporter: NFL in England 'has a chance' to work

LONDON -- My friend Matt Sherry of the Press Association (the UK's answer to the Associated Press) is seated in front of me here in the press box at Wembley Stadium and he and his mates are the target audience for the NFL in it's hamhanded European moneygrab.

I asked Matt if this British Invasion by the NFL is working. I can spit on the idea -- along with most American fans -- but we aren't the market.

Matt is. A 21-year-old from Hartlepool, he's a legit NFL consumer.

"I think it has a chance to work," he opined. "I think they started (coming to London six years ago) at the perfect time because popularity was rising anyway. This hasn't sparked popularity, it was there."

Sherry said the Patriots are the leading team in terms of interest here. Why? It is a bit of a mystery.

"I think it's the three quick Super Bowls and the simple fact it has 'England' in the name," he said. "But I've been wondering that myself."

Sherry says the sport is "still a niche."

Will it rise above that?

"I think me head says it will always be a niche. My heart says it won't. The Premier League dominates. Much like the NFL took over baseball in the States, Premier League is that way here. I don't know if that can change."

Sherry has hard data of the grassroots appeal, though.

"I've got in total about seven friends here today and four of them, six months ago, couldn't have told you anything about the NFL," he pointed out. "And they've probably spent about 200 pounds each to be here. And they are all about my age."

The NFL is into Phase Two of its plan to invade. There will be two London games in 2013 and the Jaguars will play a single game in each of the next four years.

"Next year is the most important," said Sherry. "We'll find out with two games how many are here for the game and not just the event. If one sells and the other doesn't, we'll know."

Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice

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Chris Hogan, David Andrews, Marcus Cannon miss full week of practice

FOXBORO — It's safe to say Chris Hogan, David Andrews and Marcus Cannon won't play Sunday against the Dolphins.:

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The trio was not on the field for the media portion of Friday’s practice, completing a week in which the three did not practice at all. Hogan has been out with a shoulder injury, while Andrews missed last week’s win over the Raiders due to illness and Cannon has been dealing with an ankle injury. 

Martellus Bennett was also absent, making it two straight days in which he did not take the field. Bennett, who was released by Green Bay this season amid questions of whether he would undergo surgery, is listed on the injury report with shoulder and hamstring issues. 

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Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

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Morning Skate: Predators kicking it into gear

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while anticpating the turkey leftovers, ready for the taking.
 
-- NHL referee Wes McCauley is at it again, this time going with a fun no-goal call after having some trouble with his microphone.
 
-- After getting humbled on Opening Night by the Bruins, the Nashville Predators are starting to get on a roll.

-- NBC Pro Hockey Talk has Kyle Turris excelling for the Predators, and Matt Duchene very much still stuck in neutral for the Ottawa Senators.

-- NHL stars go through their favorite traditions, and what they enjoy is a game that’s full of routine, superstition and tradition.
  
-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ray Ferraro says “it looks rotten” with the Edmonton Oilers as they continue to struggle out of the starting gate.
 
-- Larry Brooks goes through an all-time ranking of the general managers for the New York Rangers, and it’s an illustrious list.

-- The Vegas Golden Knights could make the playoffs in their very first season, and are absolutely far ahead of expectations for a new expansion team.
 
-- For something completely different: Wild turkeys are making a major comeback in Massachusetts after being all but extinct here.