Editor's Note: The DallasCowboys.com staff makes its first-ever trip to England. The writers – David Helman, Bryan Broaddus and Nick Eatman – will share their daily stories of being in a foreign country as they continue to cover the Cowboys this week, getting ready for Sunday's game with the Jaguars.
David Helman: Somewhere, someone saw fit to invite me to the Tower of London with the team on Friday night. It was an incredible experience in its own right – this famous, historical tower in the center of London was lit up with the blue star of the Dallas Cowboys. We were allowed to see the famed Crown Jewels, tucked away behind gigantic bank vault doors. Then we were treated to a three-course meal. All of that said, the thing that left the biggest impression on me was the moat at the tower. Starting in the summer, workers began planting red, porcelain poppies in the moat – one for every British death suffered during World War I, which started 100 years ago this year. As of this weekend, there are more than 800,000 red poppies in the moat. The final one will be placed there on Nov. 11, Armistice Day, bringing the final tally to 888,246. While the Cowboys get set to play the Jaguars on Sunday, it will be Remembrance Day here in the United Kingdom. The poppies served an impressive reminder of the significance of that.
Nick Eatman: While most of the organization found themselves at the Tower of London and seeing the Crown Jewels, I had to pass on the invitation but it was fine – I got to see an even better "Jewels" as my girlfriend Julie made the trip over here. Just getting here was an adventure for her so when she got here Friday, it was undoubtedly the best part of the week. After another great radio show on Friday, which somehow keeps making me more humbled by the day, I got to spend an evening with Julie, where we walked around to get some dinner. Of course, my impatience and grumbling stomach leads us to one of the first restaurants we come across and it's a New York style place that is blaring songs like "Go Johnny Go." So I made sure she came all this week and our first dinner out is at London's version of "Cheesecake Factory." Saturday should be a more eventful day for us – perhaps a rather memorable day if all goes well.
Bryan Broaddus: On our radio show Thursday night I went on what I thought was a well thought out rant on why London deserved to have a NFL franchise. I was drawing from my experiences earlier in my career while working in the early 90's with NFL Europe or at that time the World League of American Football. What I learned talking to some Londoners on Friday night that they were very skeptical of really how well a team would be supported and this surprised me. One of their biggest concerns were once the newness of their NFL team wore off fans would go back to supporting their soccer clubs much like fans have for hundreds of years. I was told that as a soccer fan you make such a commitment to following that club that you really have no time for anything else. What was also interesting is that to a man or women – no matter if a new team was brought to London it still would not change their loyalty from the Cowboys and they could never see themselves support another team period. I know this is a VERY small sample size and Jerry Jones even said the NFL would be conducting surveys to get a larger idea of what direction the league might turn to but from what I have heard from my friends here in London it might not be a wise decision to make.