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A British Invasion

10.22.09 at 7:24 pm ET
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Look out London, the Patriots are coming. No, George Washington is not the commander in chief. John Adams is not leading the protests. Paul Revere is not embarking on his Midnight Ride. Ben Franklin is not securing an alliance with the French.

Instead, it will be Tom Brady & Co. who will take to the field at Wembley Stadium to engage in a physically aggressive, hard-hitting, vigorously dynamic game of football. No, not futbol, but the great American sport itself. And the Patriots will not be opposing Peter Griffin’s London Silly Nannies, either.

For the third consecutive year, London will host a regular-season football contest with a matchup of the Patriots and the Buccaneers. With a sold-out crowd already guaranteed, who knows what London has in store for both professional clubs.

When the NFL made its regular-season London debut in 2007, the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins had no idea what they would be getting themselves into. Playing in front of a crowd of excessively passionate, wild, and enthusiastic British fans, the Giants defeated the Dolphins 13-10. However, they were not the only entertaining contributors to the international affair. At the beginning of the second half, Mark Roberts, a legendary British streaker, stormed the field with nothing but a football concealing his privates. Stripping down from a referee uniform and leaving on a hat and knee socks, Roberts paraded the field fiddling his feet to an Irish jig before being removed by  security.

That was quite the welcoming party, but not the first instance of Roberts’ British invasion in American sports. At Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston, where the Patriots defeated the Carolina Panthers 32-29, Roberts successfully performed his first North American streak when he kicked off the second half by running to midfield barely covering his genitals with a g-string.

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It was Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham who eventually leveled Roberts before he was carried off the field by security. Roberts, who is considered by the Guinness Book of World Records for being the most recognized streaker, was later fined but received no jail times for his outrageous actions. It was a Super “Bowel” no one will forget. (Roberts was overshadowed by Janet Jackson’s halftime wardrobe malfunction that occurred just minutes prior to the streaking).

In January 2007, the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy announced that America would have a front-row to watch David “Bend it like” Beckham. Instead of signing an extension with Real Madrid, Beckham agreed to a $250 million, five-year deal with the Galaxy, bringing his wife Victoria “Posh Spice” with him. That’s some couple competition for Tom and Gisele (at least now that there is no more Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson).

Although game shows do not fall in the same category as contact sports, “The Weakest Link” was an instant hit when host Anne Robinson debuted the English television program in the United States. And it did not take long for the English quizmistress to become acquainted with the sports world when she appeared on “The Tonight Show” with NBA great Shaquille O’Neal on April 11, 2001. Never shy about embarrassing dumbfounded participants on her show, Robinson became notorious for her sarcastic and witty remarks going along with the infamous phrase “You are the weakest link, goodbye!” (Just like the Tennessee Titans this past week.)

When the Beatles stole the hearts of rock fans of all ages around the country, the British Invasion did not limit itself to concerts, TV guest appearances, and on-stage performances. Even though only half of the members of the beloved Liverpool band survive (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr), the rock sensations are now featured in their own video game entitled “The Beatles: Rock Band” which was released on Sept. 9.

Ah, London. So much to see, so little time for the Patriots. Hey, maybe in their spare time they can play some cricket, watch an intense rowing competition, or have a morning jog with Mark Roberts.

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