LONDON (AP) — Call it the Toilet Bowl.
Much of the talk surrounding the first of three regular-season NFL games in London has been hijacked by the news that the New York Jets flew to England with their own toilet paper to replicate the comforts of home.
“You would think it would be fine over here,” said Miami Dolphins rookie running back Jay Ajayi, who was born in Britain but moved to the U.S. as a kid. “For them to do that, that’s pretty interesting.”
The Jets will be playing in London for the first time, which may explain why they are taking so much care to ensure the players feel right at home.
It has certainly become a topic of conversation since both teams arrived in London on Friday.
“I could make a short comment right there but I decline,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said at the team’s practice facility. “I’m not touching that one.”
Regardless of the toilet paper discussion, Sunday’s game at Wembley Stadium will be important for both AFC East teams. The Dolphins are 1-2 after winning their opener. The Jets are 2-1, but lost their last game.
“Coming off two tough losses where we didn’t play well, it’s a big game,” Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill said Friday. “We’re not happy about how we played. We understand that we have to play better.”
Sunday’s game, the 12th to be played in London, will be the first to feature division rivals. That adds some extra interest and some extra intensity, especially for the “host” Dolphins, who played in London last year as the “away” team and beat the Oakland Raiders 38-14.
But more important than the venue is getting the team playing the right way.
“We’ve talked a lot about playing a 60-minute football game, which we really haven’t done up to this point and time,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “We’ve talked a lot about making first downs and having balance and rhythm on offense.”
The defense is also an issue. The Dolphins rank next to last in run defense and last with only one sack in 94 pass plays. And that’s with Ndamukong Suh in the team.
Suh, the highest-paid defensive player in league history, has seven tackles so far, but no sacks.
“It’s going to be a key game for us to come out and get started fast, how we want to play, which we haven’t done the past couple games,” Tannehill said.
The Dolphins did that last season, though, beating the “host” Raiders easily in the first of last year’s three NFL games in London.
“Last year, I came out of the tunnel and everyone was holding Oakland Raiders signs. I thought, ‘There’s a lot of Raiders fans here,’” Tannehill remembered. “Hopefully this year they say Dolphins.”