NFL Football in France… Yes You Can!

I’ve wanted to write this post since Kickoff Weekend. I haven’t yet, though, because shit happens when you have a baby around the house. I mean this literally (mostly).

As I’m writing this, I’m kicking back on my couch with the Cardinals-Bills game from this last weekend playing. I’m not a fan of either of these teams and I already know how it ends (spoiler alert: the Bills surprisingly win big) but I have NFL Gamepass this season (a shoutout to Mom and Bob, thank you!!!) and I’m rooting against the Cardinals. I don’t care if I have David Johnson on my fantasy team and I don’t care that I already know the outcome of the game. The Cardinals are in the same division as my team and is should go without saying that I’m tuned in for the joy of witnessing how the destruction unfolds.

Zef getting his gameface on at the Louvre

There are fewer things in life for a sports fan than to see their team succeed and the other teams around them crumble into a wet-eyed sack of futility.

I was raised in Seattle and grew up a huge Seahawks fan. I threw around the football with my dad on weekend afternoons. With every catch I pretended I was a future Steve Largent and with every throw that I was the next coming of Dave Krieg (for football fans, this is probably funny, I know, but I was young an impressionable).

Getting ready for NFL Sunday Kickoff Brunch

When I grew a little bit older and started playing football, with every hit I tried to channel my inner Kenny Easley and when I went to college and saw just how big and fast and strong the guys were playing football at this level, I knew it was time to hang up my cleats and enjoy being a fan of the game.

With grandma taking a post-brunch group selfie

I think about this kind of stuff when I tune into a game and as much fun as it might be to watch quarterbacks hurl touchdowns at unprecedented rates and see those fantasy football scoreboards spin, the curmudgeon in me loves a good knock ’em down and kick the crap out of them type of defense.

It’s a good thing for me then that this current incarnation of the Seahawks boasts the leagues best and most hard-hitting defense.

The best time for me to watch a game these days is on Monday morning after Zef goes down for his morning nap. I can put on the game while I’m cleaning up the kitchen or doing the rounds in the living room, but it wasn’t always this easy to watch a game outside of the football-friendly confines of the USA.

The first time I was overseas was in 2001. Back then, in the nascent days of today’s Internet, the NFL didn’t have Gamepass and people didn’t record or upload games online. The pickings for newspapers online was pretty minimal and video highlights didn’t exist. In fact, back in 2001, Google wasn’t really a thing and Facebook didn’t even exist. Sure, people didn’t walk around, necks bent staring at their phone. Hell, I don’t think most people had cellphones in 2001, let alone smart phones. There was no iPhone and the first iPod had just come out. To make a phone call to the US from France, I bought a plastic calling card for 50 Francs (this was even before the Euro!) and waited in line at the nearest phone booth. In 2001, people still wrote postcards and listened to CDs. It wasn’t quite the 20s, that is, 2001 was less Midnight in Paris than The Matrix, but still, it was damned hard to catch a game once you crossed the Atlantic.

All that has changed with NFL Gamepass. Now you can keep up with your team while your baby is napping and you’re frittering away your morning cleaning up… but… if you are untethered by a baby and are looking for a bar to catch the game out, here are a few that play some NFL games here in Paris:

Wide Open Spaces  – 184 rue Saint-Jacques, 75005, near the Pantheon and the Luxembourg Gardens. This student-friendly, homey little bar has some good eats, decent (for Paris) prices and plays the Packers every weekend. Perfect for Cheesehead Nation.

The Long Hop – 25/27 rue Frédéric Sauton, 75005, not far from the Notre Dame near Metro Maubert-Mutualité. This American-themed bar, though not the cheapest beer in town, is the best bet for getting your NFL fix. They play games throughout the year and get special permission to stay open late for the Super Bowl every year.

The Moose – 16 rue des Quatre Vents, 75006, a short walk from Saint Sulpice or the Odeon Metro. Prices at this Canadian-run joint are gauging (7-9 Euros for a pint!) but they often show the NFL games (though sometimes hockey takes precedent) and it’s central, so it’s a default for football fans traveling solo to meet up and chat about the game.

Now, the challenge throughout the rest of this season is to not only contain the excitement of my team going to the Super Bowl (this is going to happen, guaranteed) but trying to restrain myself from trying to teach Zef how to throw the ball for a few more years so he can grow up and maybe think of himself as the next Russell Wilson or Doug Baldwin.

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