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Bears To Play in London

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 13, 2011 4:40PM

Provided the NFL actually takes the field in 2011, the Bears will be traveling a great distance for one of their regular season road games. Real football — not that silly soccer — will hit London as the Bears play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers across the pond in Jolly Old England. The two teams will face off in famed Wembley Stadium.

The Bucs have played regular season games in London before, in part because their owner Malcom Glazer also owns the Manchester United soccer team and because the team has had difficulties selling out Raymond James Stadium. However, this will be the Bears first overseas road game for a game that counts. They've previously headed to Europe for a few exhibition games, last playing in Dublin in 1997 against the Steelers. Berlin hosted the Bears and 49ers in '91. And the legendary mid-80's Bears team hit London to play the Dallas Cowboys, "America's Team," in 1987. That trip is famous for the local media mistakenly referring to William Perry as "the Dishwasher."

The NFL is pushing hard to expand its fan base internationally, but doesn't that travel and jet lag impact the players? "It's the future and I think it's coming," Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said. "If you want this thing [the NFL] to be global, and people to pick up on it, you have to be there for them to see it. It's the only way it's going to really work." We won't know the date of the match until the NFL releases its regular season schedule next month -- hopefully it'll come right before the Bears' bye week to minimize the affect on their next game.