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NFL European Invasion

It's a well-known fact that football has a worldwide appeal. In Europe, due to soccer being called football, football is called American football. Confused? It's a very popular sport though and this is evidenced by the fact that three NFL games are scheduled to take place in London this year. There is no real home field advantage in football, so playing at a neutral venue doesn't impact any NFL football picks from a gambling point of view.

And with its worldwide appeal, particular in Europe, Europeans aren't just watching it, they're playing the sport. In fact, there have been a number of European players in the history of the NFL you might not have realized were from outside the US. Here are three of the all-time greats you might never have heard of.

Jan Stenerud

This Norwegian place kicker was something of a first. As a kicker he was the first player in NFL history to be used as just a kicker. It was unusual, but so where his statistics. He had a 70% success rate with his kicks at a time when the league average was only 53%.

He had never even intended to play football. He was actually spotted kicking a ball one time when he was warming up to go skiing. Sometimes things happen for a reason and Stenerud was a Super Bowl winner in 1970 and he scored a colossal 1,699 points during an NFL career which spanned 19 years. He played for the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and of course, as befits a true Norwegian, the Minnesota Vikings.

Stenerud was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991 and is one of only four kickers to be recognised in this way. The acclaim for the Norseman doesn't end there though as the Chiefs retired the jersey number 3 in his honour.

Osi Umenyiora

This defensive end is of African/British descent. Born in the UK, Osi Umenyiora has won the Super Bowl twice and is one of just three players from the British Isles to have won a Super Bowl.

The Londoner moved to the States in his youth and began playing football whilst at high school in Alabama. Fast forward a few years and he played for the New York Giants from 2003 to 2012 and the Atlanta Falcons from 2013 to 2014. Umenyiora has retired, and bow works for the BBC as their resident football expert.

Michael Roos

Roos was an offensive tackle who moved with his family from Estonia when it was still a part of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. They lived in Washington and he played as tight end in high school. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and was a huge success there.

After ten seasons with the Titans Roos retired, sadly due to a knee injury, but in his decade of playing he earned All Pro honours and an invitation to the Pro Bowl in 2008.

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