LONDON -- I wish everybody could see what I see.
Or at least what I saw this past weekend in terms of the passion for the NFL that fans in the United Kingdom have.
To paraphrase a famous "Seinfeld" line: It's real and it's spectacular.
From the sold-out NFL UK Live event at the Landmark Hotel on Saturday to the kaleidoscope of colors with all the different jerseys in Wembley Stadium for the Jaguars' 44-7 drubbing of the Ravens to the dozen or so listeners of my podcast that met me for happy hour on Friday at the Monkey Puzzle in London, I was blown away by the Brits' passion for and knowledge of America's favorite sport.
It was surprising, encouraging and humbling all at the same time.
I'm not sure most people in the United States realize just how popular the NFL has become since I first came over as part of the International Series five years ago for the game between the Rams and the Patriots.
What it all means moving forward is up for debate, but at a minimum there are three big takeaways.
1. What the NFL is doing in London is working.
The NFL has had many initiatives outside the borders of the United States over the years, such as NFL Europe and international preseason games, like the one I played in for the Redskins against the 49ers in Osaka, Japan, in 2002 -- but none of those things really gained that much traction.
The number of people buying the NFL's GamePass product overseas, attendance (over 40,000 of the seats for all four of the NFL UK games were sold as part of a season ticket package), coverage on Sky Sports and increased focus by the BBC on the NFL are all indicators of sustained growth.
Frankly, when you compare the fact that the Chargers couldn't even sell out a 27,000-seat stadium for their first game ever in Los Angeles to the fact that over 40,000 UK fans bought tickets to see four random games between eight different teams, it's really quite remarkable.
2. The greatest room for growth is international.
The NFL's ratings in the United States aren't quite what they used to be. While that may be a blip, even if they do start to go up again, it is unlikely to be the type of growth that really moves the needle toward the NFL's revenue growth goals that commissioner Roger Goodell speaks about so often.
That's not the case internationally and is why the NFL is planning its next moves in not only London but other locales like Mexico, Germany and China. It's a long play to be sure, but the growth to this point has been outstanding and the NFL is surely betting that there's more where that came from. I know I would be.
3. London will get its own team. Eventually.
While it may not happen any time soon and there are logistical hurdles that still need to be ironed out, the growth of the game overseas to this point has been so robust that it's easy to imagine London landing a team at some point.
Before you dismiss the idea out of hand, did you really think a couple years ago there'd be two teams in LA at this point? Or that the Raiders would be on their way to Las Vegas in a couple of years?
It will take an open-minded owner who finds himself in a difficult stadium situation in his current U.S. market, but certainly the economic opportunity of being the only NFL team in Europe would be very appealing to any owner focused on the bottom line.
The UK market has proven it is fervent and viable which is a big step in that direction.
Until then, the NFL fans here will continue to talk about their fantasy teams, like the group sitting next to me on the train from Wembley back to London's Marylebone station after the game on Sunday. But they're hungry for more.