2014 draft-pick Telvin Smith, spoke to A Head For The Game after his Jacksonville Jaguars side beat the Indianapolis Colts at Wembley Stadium 30-27.
The 25-year-old linebacker made eight tackles in the first win of the season for the team from Florida and was happy for the win, not least for improving the journey home, but the win was looking in peril as the Colts mounted a very late comeback, falling short with just moments left thanks to a strong defensive stand.
“It was a long plane ride over around eight-and-a-half hours, so it would it would have been sick if we’d lost,” said the former Florida State player. “For us to come out battle and be strong and then get the win means a great plane ride back.
“We always say we want to start fast and finish faster,” he continued. “In the fourth quarter they came out and switched it up a little bit and in that situation we’ve got to make those adjustments and go in and lock that down – by any means necessary we got to find a way to win.
“Today that’s what we did.”
Now in his third season with Jaguars, Smith, like many others in the organisation, are regulars in London and just see the continental change as just another game.
“It’s a business trip in the way we do it,” he said. “It’s definitely not hard to get used to, but as always, if you think negative, it will be negative.
“I just keep [coming here] positive and say ‘man, it’s a great experience’. Every time we come over here I feel like the atmosphere gets bigger – just the brand of the NFL is growing over here because in our first year we came I saw a lot of people around, but earlier today when we were pulling into the stadium in our buses there were thousands of people outside.
“We played the Cowboys in our first year, but now it’s like everything is coming together. We just got to keep it going – it’s a great situation to be in.”
Officially designated as a home game, in recent years, the Jaguars fanbase has grown in the UK according to both the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars and regardless of any PR, visually, anyone visiting Wembley for their games will have seen hundreds of Jaguars jerseys, a noticeable increase in support for the proxy London franchise.
“Definitely,” said Smith when asked if it feels like a home game for him when playing at Wembley. “When you make those plays and hear the crowd cheering and stuff that gets you going, you know what I mean?
“And definitely in the opposite situation when they make a play and you hear the crowd going – when it shifts. You just got to keep a level head and continue to play.”
Photos: Jaguars.com / www.instagram.com/telvinsmith50