DENVER — Author Samuel Johnson described London thusly: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."
The Broncos path back to the playoffs goes down Abbey Road. Denver will face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium in London, their first appearance in the city since 2010. The game will be televised on ESPN+. The Broncos are the visiting team, so they still will have eight home games in Denver this season as the franchise aims to return to the playoffs for the first time since Super Bowl 50.
"To be able to go to London, to be on this football team is a tremendous honor. We are excited about it," said Wilson, who played in Wembley with the Seahawks in 2018. "First of all, playing internationally, it expands the game of football. The game of football is growing like crazy. ... That's what we love about it. What I remember about that (previous) trip (to London) is the bonding, and the celebration afterward when you get to get on the plane a winner."
The Broncos are expected to enter this contest a favorite, led by the nine-time Pro Bowler Wilson and caffeinated coach Nathaniel Hackett.
"It's a great honor for the Denver Broncos to be selected to play in London," Broncos general manager George Paton said. "Broncos Country is everywhere, and the best way to grow our game and reach fans all over the world is by playing internationally. Our entire organization is excited with the opportunity to play at historic Wembley Stadium against the Jaguars."
Hackett made the trip abroad multiple times as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator. The teams will feature high profile quarterbacks — Wilson and 2021 No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence — and new bosses in Hackett and Doug Pederson. Jacksonville plays in the game annually, which is why Blake Bortles leads NFL quarterbacks in international passing yards.
The Broncos have been vocal in their support of participating in the game. They were scheduled to play Atlanta in 2020 in London before the pandemic hit, making this matchup a natural fit.
It will provide a convenient stage to create new Broncos memories and cleanse the past.
In 2010, the NFL fined the Broncos and McDaniels a combined $100,000, $50,000 apiece, after it was determined that the team's video operations director filmed a 49ers practice, forbidden by league rules. Steve Scarnercchia filmed six minutes of San Francisco's walkthrough, and the team ultimately fired him.
Denver has participated in eight international games, but this represents only the second in the regular season. This will be the Broncos’ third game in London, the aforementioned 49ers game and a 1987 preseason affair against the L.A. Rams. And it features Wilson.
“He’s had so many come-from-behind victories. You have to play 60 minutes against a Russell Wilson-led team,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said of facing the Broncos.
The full schedule will be released on May 12 and the Broncos will play in Seattle against Wilson's former team.
"I know they will be ready to roll and we will be ready to roll. It will be a great atmosphere," Wilson said. "But, the reality is that you have to play with no emotion, locked in, zoned in. To me it's a mission to go out and play a great football game."
In February, the league dropped the locations of the five international games that will be played this season, as well as one of the teams that will play in each. The NFL released its slate of international matchups on Wednesday, so now we know the opponents, including for the Jaguars.
Wednesday, the release played out on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football." The first game revealed that Tampa Bay will play the Seahawks on Nov. 13 at. FC Bayern Munich Stadium in Munich, Germany, representing the first regular season game in Germany. The Packers will play the Giants at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on Oct. 9, and the New Orleans face the Vikings on Oct. 2. And the Arizona Cardinals travel to Estado Azteca in Mexico City.
The stakes are high for the Broncos this season. They are part of the national conversation for the first time since Peyton Manning retired. The Broncos will likely be featured in five prime-time games, must navigate the AFC West gauntlet and avoid a misstep during their international trip.
Wilson embraces the challenge.
"You don't win it down the road, you win it today, One moment at a time," Wilson said. "That wild obsession with the process and not the end result is the key."