It is Britain’s fastest growing sport - and now a Lancaster team are reaping the benefits of American Football’s new found popularity.
Thousands of UK fans are expected to tune into the US Super Bowl this weekend - the game’s equivalent to the FA Cup Final - to see last year’s victors Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots in a bid to retain the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
But the sport is also booming here in the UK with three NFL (National Football League) regular season games selling out at London’s Wembley Stadium towards the tail end of 2014.
Meanwhile Lancaster University-based team The Lancaster Bombers say they are seeing unprecedented interest in the sport, described as “like playing extremely violent chess.”
Matthew King, president of the Lancaster Bombers, said: “I know a lot of people who watch it because it is such a big event, we have quite a big following.
“It is not really comparable to football, it is closer to rugby.
“The challenging part is the tactics, it is a lot like playing extremely violent chess.”
The sport is a collision game in which two teams of 11 heavily-padded players try to score touchdowns against each other.
The Lancaster University-based team, formed in 1988, have had a successful season and are grateful for the strong team of coaches behind them.
Matthew said: “We have been really successful with funding, not every university gets funding because it is not as developed as it is compared to other sports.
“We have got five coaches in total, all of whom are volunteers, a lot of our success is down to the fact that we have got these coaches who put in all their own time to help us out.”
The Lancashire Academy of American Football brings together several American football teams in the county including the Bombers, who have played five games so far this season, winning four.
Carnforth lads Dylan and Joel Chesters and Bradley Temple play in the junior team, the Chorley Buccaneers, and are returning to train for the new season.
Joel and Bradley were part of a Cadet Squad, under 13s, that won a National Championship in their ‘Britbowl’ at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.
This year;s Super Bowl will see Katy Perry and Lenny Kravitz perform at half-time at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
It will be on Channel 4 and Sky Sports 1 on February 1 from 10.30pm.