When ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown features updates on the Dallas Cowboys-Jacksonville Jaguars game at London’s Wembley Stadium during this Sunday’s show (10 a.m. ET), they will turn to ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer, who has covered the team since 2003.
Archer and ESPNDallas.com columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor travelled more than 4,700 miles “across the pond” and have been in London since Tuesday covering the Cowboys’ first regular-season game in the United Kingdom. Archer’s reporting and updates on injured quarterback Tony Romo’s status for Sunday’s game have been featured daily across multiple ESPN outlets including SportsCenter. Front Row caught up with the Cowboys beat reporter to get an update on his London assignment.
Compare the level of access you have to the Cowboys covering this game in London versus a normal week in the U.S.?
If there is a big difference this is it: no open locker room. We would be able to get every player in the locker room for 45 minutes on Wednesday through Friday. Because the Cowboys are using Wembley Stadium as their home base, we were getting players at Allianz Park – home of Saracens Rugby Club in northwest London – as they walked off the practice field toward the buses, while a few of them headed to a media area for either press conferences or informal issues. In some ways, it is set up like covering a Super Bowl.
What does your workday look like in London considering the time difference, SportsCenter reports and ESPNDallas.com video hits, and the deadline for writing the stories?
Have I mentioned I’m struggling with the time change? It’s strange to have our availability with [Cowboys head coach] Jason Garrett at 5:35 a.m. ET. Usually, we would have a live video shot before Garrett’s press conference back at Valley Ranch [the Cowboys’ practice facilities in Texas], followed by one or two hits after his press conference and then some shows after the open locker room period. Now, the TV hits come after the practice is over and the players have gone back to the hotel.
What are you looking forward to most on game day?
Just seeing Wembley Stadium – it is one of the great stadiums in the world, with a ton of history even if it has been rebuilt. I grew up a soccer fan and remain one to this day, so being able to be on or near the pitch will be exciting. Jean-Jacques and I also were able to attend a Fulham FC game at Craven Cottage on Wednesday night. Fulham is my team, so it was great to see them in person, even if the match against Blackpool ended in a draw.