It's Official: Bears to Play Bucs in London

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears will travel to London, England to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 as part of the NFL International Series, the NFL announced today.

LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears will travel to London, England to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 as part of the NFL International Series, the NFL announced today. Kickoff is set for Noon CT (6:00 p.m. UK) and the game will be televised live on FOX.

"To return to London to play an NFL game – this is going to be fun," said Chicago Bears Chairman Michael McCaskey. "I remember how enthusiastic the fans were in 1986 when we played in Wembley Stadium and defeated the Dallas Cowboys. London fans were so welcoming and blended their traditions of singing soccer songs with the NFL-style of presenting games. Of course, the Chicago Bears are very pleased to have been named the ‘Team of the Year' by U.K. fans following the 2010 season. So we are looking forward to facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in October and playing in person before our terrific fans in the U.K. and Europe."

"Playing abroad will be a unique experience for our players and we embrace the opportunity to serve as ambassadors for our game," added Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith. "It should be an excellent matchup with two teams coming off double-digit win seasons. We know Bears fans follow us from all over the world and we look forward to playing in front of many of them in London."

The game marks the first time the Bears have participated in the NFL International Series. Chicago has played six international games, but only one regular season contest, in franchise history. The Bears will play outside of North America for the first time since an exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on July 27, 1997 in Dublin, Ireland. The trip to London is the second in club history, having beaten the Dallas Cowboys on August 3, 1986 in an exhibition game at Wembley Stadium. The Bears have also played contests overseas in Gothenburg, Sweden (1988) and Berlin, Germany (1991).

The matchup marks the second straight season the Bears will play an international game. Chicago beat the Buffalo Bills 22-19 in Toronto, Canada last season.

The Bears-Buccaneers contest in 2011 is the fifth time the NFL has held the International Series in the United Kingdom. Last season, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Denver Broncos 24-16 in front of a sellout crowd at Wembley Stadium.

The Bears-Buccaneers matchup takes the place of the Bears road game in Tampa Bay.

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