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Chargers, Saints to play in London in 2008

The San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints will play in the second regular-season game ever played outside North America when they meet in Wembley Stadium in London, England on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2008. The game will be televised by CBS in the United States. The kickoff time will be announced at a later time. The game will be shown live in England, and will also be shown live or as a highlights package in nearly 200 additional countries.

"We're proud to be chosen," said Chargers President Dean Spanos. "This is another positive step in the effort to globalize our great sport. It's an opportunity for the NFL to show off two of its marquee teams and some of its best players as well as a chance for the Chargers to expand our international fan base. In particular, it's going to be good exposure for the team, our players and our city and another opportunity for our team to grow together. We're looking forward to it."

</center>[!]( NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced plans Friday for the 
Buffalo Bills to play an annual regular-season game in Toronto, starting this year. 

The announcement came during Goodell's state of the league address during the Super Bowl festivities in Phoenix, and will make the Bills the NFL's first team to play annual regular-season games outside the United States. **More ...**

The Chargers-Saints game would be the third NFL regular-season game to be contested on foreign soil. In 2005, the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals met in Mexico City's Azteca Stadium and, last season, the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants played in London in Wembley Stadium.

The Oct. 26 contest (Week 8) will mark only the 10th regular season meeting between the Chargers and Saints. The Bolts lead the series 7-2 and won the last meeting, 43-17, in San Diego in 2004. The Saints, quarterbacked by former Charger Drew Brees, played in the NFC Championship Game in 2006. They are coming off a 7-9 record in 2007. The Chargers finished the 2007 season 11-5 and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

To help compensate for the approximately 5,500 mile trip from San Diego to England, the Chargers have requested and expect the NFL to schedule the team to play a road game on the East Coast the week prior to help break up the trip. The team would then fly directly to England from their Week 7 game and spend the week there preparing for the game. The Chargers will have their bye following the Saints game.

"The trip itself will be the longest regular-season road trip in NFL history," added Spanos. "We've asked the NFL for its support to schedule one of our East Coast road games on the weekend prior. Then, immediately following that game, our plan is to fly directly to England and spend the week going through our normal preparation schedule."

The Chargers have played a total of four games overseas, however all four have been preseason contests. The Chargers played the St. Louis Cardinals in Tokyo, Japan in 1976; the Giants in Berlin, Germany in 1994; the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tokyo again in 1996, and the Denver Broncos in Sydney, Australia in 1999.

In October 2006, NFL owners voted to play up to two games outside of the United States every year through 2011. Wembley Stadium, the site of last season's game between the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, opened in 1923 and now has a seating capacity of 90,000. A crowd of 81,176 saw the Giants beat the Dolphins, 13-10.

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