Teryl Austin is the Defensive Coordinator for the Detroit Lions who beat the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium earlier today 22-21 after a last-play field goal in Game 10 of the NFL International Series.
Matt Prater kicked a winning 48-yard field goal with just a few seconds remaining to seal an unlikely win after his side trailed by 21 points at the half – the tied biggest throw-away loss in the Falcons franchise history.
After the game Austin spoke to A Head For The Game in the Lions’ locker room about the result, the trip to London and his experience in Europe as a player in the World League of American Football.
“It was great, our guys really stepped up,” said the former Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals, and Seattle Seahawks coach about the last-gasp win. “We played a lot better in the second half than we did in the first.
“We always tell our guys it’s a 60 minute game and you’ve got to play to the end and we did. We’ve done that the last couple of weeks so stepped up when we needed to and I’m real proud of our guys.”
The former University of Pittsburgh safety, who had training camps with both the Washington Redskins and Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League (CFL) as a player, also acknowledged that the trip to London had also been a valuable opportunity to improve as a team off of the field.
“When we were up in Pennyhill Park (the Lions training base, home of England Rugby) it was nice, it was just like camp,” said Austin, who played for the Pittsburgh Panthers from 1984-87.
“It was just us; just football and it’s a great feeling. Then we came down to the game and it was really, really good, and to come out with a win makes it even better.”
Following his university career and subsequent training camps, Austin played for Montreal Machine in the inaugural ‘World League of American Football’, or WLAF, an NFL developmental spring league and with many observers and the NFL themselves now speculating at the possibility of a Europe-based franchise, and most likely, London-based team, Austin himself is well-positioned to look at its potential.
“There are no parallels really between then and now,” said Austin, who played at Wembley in 1991 for Montreal against the London Monarchs.
“Jim (Washburn – Lions defensive line coach who coached in NFL Europe) and I were talking and we were saying ‘boy, it’s been so long’. You come back in here to Wembley and it looks totally different to us after about 20 years. It’s just great to be back in London; I really enjoy the city, enjoy the people and I hope to come back again soon.”
With such a successful trip for Austin in 2014, does the 49-year-old think a franchise in London is likely, and if so, can work?
“I’m sure the people at the NFL will figure out how it will work and if it’s feasible to have a team here,” he said, “but I know it’s a great experience every time I come here so we’ll leave it up to them – but, hey, I like London.”
To read more about Teryl Austin, read his biography on the Detroit Lions website HERE.
Photo courtesy of DetroitLions.com