The best NFL players from the UK

Despite being based solely in the United States, it would be fair to say the National Football League (NFL) boasts a massive global fanbase. Its popularity has grown in the United Kingdom in recent years, helped in no small part by the league staging regular season games there.

Increased exposure of the NFL by major broadcasters has driven the growth, sparking heightened interest in the sport from associated industries.

For example, online bookmakers in the UK previously offered a limited range of odds on the NFL, focusing mainly on the end-of-season Super Bowl. Considering the UK is one of the most competitive betting markets in the world, it makes sense that betting sites now cater more effectively to the needs of NFL fans from the UK.

There are tons of different markets available for every NFL game, making it one of the most popular sports among UK bettors.

Another factor that has increased interest in the NFL is the number of UK-born players who have made their mark in American Football. Here are some of the most notable examples.

Jay Ajayi

One of five UK-born stars to have won a Super Bowl ring, Ajayi is one of the best recent examples of overseas players who have shone in the NFL.

The talented running back spent two-and-a-half seasons with the Miami Dolphins, before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2017 campaign. He rushed for 77 yards on eight carries and one touchdown on his debut against the Denver Broncos and went on to become an integral part of the Eagles offensive unit.

Ajayi was a standout performer during the playoffs, helping the team win their first NFL championship with a superb victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Lawrence Tynes

Two-time Super Bowl winner Tynes demonstrated the importance of an accurate kicker during his time with the New York Giants.

He signed for the Giants in 2007 and rounded off his first year with the club by helping the team beat the Patriots 17-14 in the Super Bowl.

Tynes missed the bulk of the following season with injuries but bounced back over the following yeas to become one of the best kickers in the NFL. He was particularly effective during the 2011 season, rounding off the campaign with three crucial kicks as the Giants clinched another Super Bowl.

Osi Umenyiora

Umenyiora was a teammate of Tynes during their two Super Bowl triumphs, but his journey to the NFL was a little more convoluted.

The London-born player moved to Nigeria as a seven-year-old, before heading to Alabama to take up a place in the American collegiate system.

He made a name for himself at Troy University and his efforts were enough to persuade the Giants into making him the 56th pick overall in the 2003 NFL Draft.

Umenyiora spent the bulk of his career with the Giants before joining the Atalanta Falcons for a couple of years. He now works as a broadcaster in the UK.

Josh Mauro

While not quite hitting the same heights as some of his compatriots, Mauro still forged a relatively successful career for himself in the NFL.

Following spells with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals, he signed for the Giants and became a key part of their defensive unit during the 2018 season. He subsequently played for the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, before resigning for another stint with the Cardinals in October 2020.

The 32-year-old is currently a free agent but may yet find his way back into the NFL if a team requires urgent defensive cover.

Graham Gano

After being waived by the Baltimore Ravens in September 2009, Gano was acquired by the Washington Redskins towards the end of the same season.

He spent another couple of years with Washington before signing for the Carolina Panthers, where he established himself as one of the most reliable kickers in the NFL. Gano kicked a 63-yard game-winning field goal in October 2018, matching a non-altitude assisted record set by just two other players.

He has spent the past three seasons with the Giants and has missed just eight of the 97 field goal attempts he has made during that period.

Jack Crawford

Crawford played for five NFL teams between 2012 and 2021, establishing himself as a reliable performer in various defensive systems.

He initially made limited impact for the Raiders but stepped things up during his time with the Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons. Crawford subsequently signed for the Tennessee Titans, before spending the final few weeks of his NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals.

Injuries blighted Crawford’s time in the NFL, but the London-born player can still reflect with pride on his achievement in making it as a professional gridiron player.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
1.9K view
Share via
Copy link