“Sports are special.”
Those were the words of Michael Strahan when he spoke with Decyfr ahead of Super Bowl LVII in Phoenix, Arizona. Strahan almost needs no introduction. Before his life as host of ‘Good Morning America’ on ABC, Strahan played 15 seasons of NFL football as a defensive end for the New York Giants, culminating with a victory in Super Bowl XLII.
His legendary contribution to the game led to his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014 and there’s nobody better qualified to talk all things NFL. Prior to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl LVII victory, Strahan spoke to Decyfr about the international growth of the game.
“It’s incredible,” said Strahan.
“When I go to the UK people talk to me about football, they ask me about football. I go to the NFL offices there, where Osi Umenyiora and Jason Bell – my two old teammates – do a show.
“So I love watching the growth of the game and how international it has become.”
Umenyiora and Bell have become figureheads of the NFL UK scene, not only as ambassadors on these shores but as co-hosts of ITV’s ‘The NFL Show’ with Laura Woods. Bell and Umenyiora also co-host the ‘Jason & Osi Podcast’ and Umenyiora has helped expand the NFL’s reach in Africa with his Uprise development programs. Put short, Strahan’s former teammates have contributed hugely to the NFL’s growth both in the UK and internationally.
As well as discussing the growth of the NFL in the UK, Strahan told Decyfr how he’s witnessed the intersection of American football and international soccer.
“I’ve seen more football players from the two different types of ‘football’ hang out with each other,” Strahan said.
Perhaps the strongest example of this is Harry Kane. Kane is both England and Tottenham Hotspur’s all-time leading goalscorer – the latter achievement referenced by Strahan when speaking with Decyfr – and is a vocal fan of the NFL. Kane has even expressed a desire to play in the NFL once his current career comes to an end.
Hall of Fame defensive end and @GMA's @michaelstrahan tells Decyfr he has a message for @HKane – and gives a shoutout to two former teammates that @NFLUK fans may be familiar with… ?#Decyfr #UnlockFandom #NFL #SBLVII | @OsiUmenyiora | @JasonBell33 pic.twitter.com/vvbXEHN7mi
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) February 8, 2023
As Strahan eloquently put it when speaking with Decyfr, sports are well and truly special. Will the 2023 NFL season show continued growth for the sport’s relationship with UK fans?
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