This week the San Francisco 49ers play the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 49ers’ third regular season game outside of the United States. In 2005, the 49ers lost to the Arizona Cardinal 31-14 at Estadio Azteca in a game with loud, passionate fans of both clubs. Guess who played for the Cardinals in that game: Anquan Boldin! Tim Rattay started for the atrocious 49ers before Alex Smith replaced him. The 49ers have come a long way since then. Unfortunately, the NFL has yet to return to this historical stadium with then-record regular season attendance (103,467 viewers) and many local football fans.
Rather, the NFL decided to take its International Series to London and Wembley Stadium. San Francisco again played outside the country when they defeated the Denver Broncos 24-16 in 2010. This time, Troy Smith got the start at quarterback for the Niners as Alex was injured.
That brings us to this week. The 49ers, 1-1 outside of the U.S., more importantly have a chance to beat the Jaguars and go into a bye week 6-2 on the season. The past is great to look at, as are the sights in London, but as Ben Roethlisberger found out, just because you can look cool next to old structures (Big Ben in his case) does not mean you will play a good football game. Here’s to hoping the 49ers do not overlook the admittedly awful Jags and tour London on their bye if they so wish.