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LONDON — About 15 years ago, shortly after the Adam Sandler movie “Big Daddy” came out, a British kid named Josh Andrew watched the flick and noticed something interesting.
Sandler’s character — just like Sandler in real life — is a passionate Jets fan. After seeing the film, Andrew wanted to know more about these Jets, and the curious sport of American football.
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On Saturday afternoon, Andrew, 20, stood in London’s Trafalgar Square, wearing a Mark Sanchez Jets jersey, and reflecting on how he first became a Jets fan because of that movie.
“I just stuck to it since,” Andrew said.
Saturday morning, Andrew and his father, Rob, took a two-hour train ride from their home in Helmshore (just north of Manchester), down south to London. They’ll attend the Jets’ game Sunday against the Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. On Saturday, they checked out the wholesale nfl jerseys china fan rally at Trafalgar Square.
The rally included an on-stage appearances by Jets players, during which quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was in a light-hearted mood.
“We’re looking forward to trying to squish the fish,” he joked, referring to the Dolphins.
One of the rally’s on-stage hosts was former Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who asked Fitzpatrick for tips on how to grow a bushy beard like his.
“You’ve got to just go with it,” Fitzpatrick said. “You can’t be too concerned with what it looks like or what it smells like or whatever.”
About 5,000 fans filled the square, many sipping beers. They watched as Jets owner Woody Johnson led a “J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant on stage. Much of the crowd shouted along, even as British fans wore a wide array of NFL teams’ jerseys — from the Raiders to the 49ers to the Packers.
The fans even played along and laughed when Fitzpatrick joked that Big Ben was “the Steelers’ quarterback,” tweaking nose tackle Damon Harrison, who had told the Jets’ website that he didn’t know the famous clock’s name.
Fitzpatrick and Harrison were joined by cornerback Darrelle Revis, fullback Tommy Bohanon, center Nick Mangold, and head coach Todd Bowles on stage at the rally.
It was an educational experience of sorts for British NFL fans, whose numbers have grown in recent years. During a Q&A on stage, Harrison explained his duties as a nose tackle.
Andrew, the British Jets fan, admits he doesn’t know all the ins and outs of this year’s team. It’s hard to follow along here, but he tries. For the Jets’ Week 2 Monday night game at the Colts, Andrew sat up in the middle of the night, watching the game on a pirated TV website.
Sunday will be Andrew’s second NFL game. He attended Dolphins-Raiders nfl jerseys china last year in London, and was surprised by the turnout at that game’s Saturday fan rally. Nearly all 86,000 seats are expected to be filled Sunday at Wembley — almost entirely by British fans.
The NFL’s personality — or at least how it is marketed — appeals to English sports fans, said Andrew’s 53-year-old father, Rob. Fans here rarely hear from professional soccer players, since they’re often shielded from media interviews.
“You have characters, people like Sherman,” Rob Andrew said of Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman. “Soccer, everybody is like robots.”
The Jets’ players certainly felt accessible to fans Saturday in Trafalgar Square. As the Jets walked from the rally to a waiting bus, fans crowded around them, snapping photos.
For all their talk about this being a business trip, the Jets understand the uniqueness of this weekend. A few minutes after his teammates left the rally, Jets cornerback Buster Skrine strolled alone by the square, just out for a walk around the city, taking it all in.
Walk around enough, and he would cross paths with New York-area Jets fans here. A few approached the Jets’ popular general manager, Mike Maccagnan, outside Trafalgar Square and asked for a picture. Maccagnan, ever polite, obliged. He even introduced himself to the fans. (It’s a safe bet they already knew his name.)
So far, pending Sunday’s result, this trip and Saturday’s sunny scene are worth every penny for Jets fans like Matt Puma, 26, of Long Island, N.Y. He paid $300 per ticket on the secondary market, for seats up high at Wembley.
Puma, in London for the first time, wore a white Muhammad Wilkerson jersey signed by the star defensive end himself. After mingling with Jets fans — the seasoned alongside the still learning — in a historic, 170-year-old square, Puma looked ready to continue enjoying all that this charming city offers.
Just make sure not to spill any beer on that nice Wilkerson jersey, he was told. He smiled, laughed, and pointed at the front of the jersey.