Hours before departing for London, Dan Fouts dropped by CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday to discuss various NFL topics, including the Giants/Rams game that he’ll be calling from Twickenham Stadium on Sunday.
Believe it or not, the NFL is 10 years into its international experiment, as the first London game was played in 2007.
At this point, what do we make of the NFL’s attempt to attract international viewers?
“Well, I hope it’s good for the league,” Fouts said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It is tough on the players, though, and I always look at it from the players’ standpoint. The Rams left right from Detroit and headed over there, so they’ve been there for a couple days now. But still, it’s a long way. The interesting thing about the game is you see fans from just about every team. They’re wearing their jerseys. It’s kind of fun when you go to the game to see see all the different teams that are represented by the fans. So there is some interest there. They do sell out. But like I said, it is tough on the players. It’s like those Thursday night games are tough on the players. They’re not going to go away, and I don’t think London is going to go away, either.”
That said, Fouts isn’t convinced that the NFL will ever have a team in London.
“You would think it would have happened already because it has been awhile now for the NFL to be playing in London,” Fouts said. “But I think you’d have to have more than just one team in Europe. You might want to have to put a team in Berlin to at least have two teams so that London team (doesn’t have to play every road game so far away).”
As for the actual game, the Giants snapped a three-game losing streak with a 27-23 win over the Ravens this past Sunday, while the Rams have dropped two in a row following a 3-1 start. It’ll be interesting to see which version of each shows up in London – as well as which version of Odell Beckham Jr. gets off the plane. Will it be the guy who had three catches for 23 yards against Minnesota or the guy who had eight catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns against Baltimore?
Just as important, if not more important, will Beckham’s antics once again hurt the Giants, as they have in recent weeks?
“I think the key is team,” Fouts said. “Are you hurting the team by your antics? There are times that he has done that. And then you look at what he did last week against the Ravens – 222 yards receiving, a couple long bombs – and you just shake your head. After the second touchdown, he took his helmet off on the field, which everybody knows is an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. So the team had to kick off in a close game from the 20-yard line. That makes it a disadvantage for the ball club. So you hope that he would understand. I’ve met with him before and he’s a smart kid. He’s very genuine, loves to play the game. But the diva that goes with being a receiver, you see it every week. Look at Antonio Brown and the things he does. Same type of problem. He produces, but he also takes away from the team with some of his penalties.”
Eli Manning isn’t the most vocal of quarterbacks, but Fouts, a Hall of Famer, would have had no problem putting Beckham in his place.
“I would just stress the fact that we need every yard,” Fouts said. “This is a tough game. The field is 100 yards long and you’re giving the other team 15 yards. That’s a first-down-and-a-half. You don’t want to say I’m not going to throw you the ball – because if I did throw you the ball, you may go all the way for a touchdown – so it is a delicate situation, there’s no question.”
Kickoff on Sunday is at 9:30 a.m. ET.