NFL in Tokyo? God, I miss football! It’s been one year since I watched an NFL game. Well….that’s not true, I did download last years SuperBowl from the internet! Good old internet! I was walking in Tokyo one day, and I randomly came across a poster that advertised NFL in Tokyo called the “American Bowl.” For a moment, I was stunned because I was thinking to myself, NFL? Japan? Really?!! It was the Indianapolis Colts vs. the Atlanta Falcons. These were the two teams that were runner ups to the SuperBowl last year. I actually didn’t realize this until much later on. Anyway, the poster featured star quarterbacks Peyton Manning for the Colts and Michael Vick for the Falcons, both whom I would love to see in action. Believe it not, I have never seen a LIVE NFL game before in my life. I remember myself starting to watch NFL football as early as when I was in Junior High over ten years ago?! And with no professional team in LA now, my chances of seeing a NFL game was even lower. I was dead set on seeing this game. I thought, “NFL in Tokyo? When am I going to get another chance to watch professional American Football in Japan?(well, maybe next year if I’m still living in Japan!)” As I researched prices and availabilities for the seats in Tokyo Dome where they plan to hold the match, I began asking friends who would be interested in going with me. I knew right away my Japanese friends wouldn’t be interested but when I started asking my fellow American friends, I was surprised nobody was as enthusiastic as I was or showed interested in going. In fact at the end, I found nobody to go with and I went by MYSELF!! I really didn’t mind at all. I was just so thrilled that I was going to see a NFL game!
Prior to the game outside the Dome, representative cheerleaders from both teams were signing autographs. Unfortunately, I got there at the end of the autograph session so I didn’t have the chance to get any signatures. I did get some pictures of them but it wouldn’t it be more cool if I had picture taken with them? This is where a friend would come in handy and take a picture FOR me. I was expecting to see only guys lining up for the autographs but there were plenty of Japanese women as well. Actually, I think these women were girlfriends or wives of the Japanese men! Maybe they’re there to keep the guys from drooling too much. Among the cheerleaders, there was one Asian girl that seems to be everybody’s favorite cheerleader. I don’t know if she’s Japanese but she got a lot of attention from the attending fans. She also got a lot of coverage on the Jumbo Tron in the Dome.
I was SO excited waiting for the game to start I almost pissed my pants!! Not literally of course, haha. As I expected, it was not a sellout crowd but there were still a good amount of people that attended. I didn’t even think the Japanese would even have interest in watching football but I was wrong. And of course, there were plenty of foreigners wherever I looked. I had a good view of the whole field but I couldn’t see any players in detail. I was only able to make out the player’s jersey number if I squint hard enough. I was able to pinpoint Manning and Vick who were the only two players I wanted to watch closely. As the first kickoff began, my adrenaline was at its ultimate high, I think I was screaming like a maniac throughout the game, yelling things like, “sack him! SACK HIM!!” or “GET his ASS, GET HIM!” Fortunately the seats around me were unoccupied. Every time a great play was taking place, I would stand up and cheer but then I would look around and see myself and other foreigners be the only people standing. When a bad play or somebody gets hit hard, I would “Boo” and “Awww” but I wouldn’t hear a peep from my Japanese neighbors. Once in awhile, I would hear the Japanese couple behind me say “sugoi ne (that’s wonderful/cool isn’t it).” They must think I’m weird when I put both my arms straight up into the air every time a field goal is made! I’m sure the Japanese are equally excited as I am if they were watching a football, I mean SOCCER game. It was an awesome game overall. I wish they would play Manning, Vick and other starters longer than one quarter! The Falcons were the winner and it was a close game. The Colts lost by a touchdown and it came down to 4th and 10 as the last play. The MVP for the Falcons received a pair of katana, or Japanese sword (you know the thing that Morpheus used in the Matrix) in place of a trophy, that was interesting. I enjoyed the experience immensely especially being reacquainted again with the hard hitting sounds of football. Boy, do I miss the violence haha! The last thing I saw on the Jumbo Tron before I left Tokyo Dome was “Winng Team, Atlanta Falcons.” Oh yeah, one last thing, only girls sold beer in the dome. They wore a uniform advertising the brand of the beer and carried a keg on their back with a portable dispenser. Now THAT was cool!