London Weekend: Fleetwood Mac, Bond Breakfast, Timberlake

NFL’s future in London, Joe Philbin’s winning ways and more

USA Football numbers show that Canada, Mexico and Japan sit on a second tier, and Germany, Austria and France are on the third tier, with the UK behind that. But because of the marketplace, the business opportunities, the proximity, the logistics of TV distribution and the lack of a language barrier, London has become the NFL’s guinea pig, with the league committed to getting it right there before using the blueprint elsewhere. The NFL has an exclusive deal with Wembley Stadium through 2016, which means all its games in the UK must be played there and that the league probably won’t look elsewhere globally until at least 2017. 2013 International Series Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings from across the pond. All this will make the next few years interesting. The league now has three owners who also own Premier League teams (Stan Kroenke, Shad Khan, Malcolm Glazer), and one of those owners, Khan, has committed his club, the Jacksonville Jaguars , to playing in London this year and each of the next three years. Khan’s investment in the UK should bolster the NFL’s efforts, since he’s deploying staff members and resources overseas to make it work. Then there’s that word again — ambition. After all, whether or not London is ready to have an NFL team won’t be decided on a pie chart or bar graph, or through some mathematical equation. It’ll be decided by 32 men who’ve seen their sport grow to a saturation point domestically and who, as titans of industry, always are looking for ways (see: 18 regular-season games) to expand outside the box from which they operate. So Parsons and the NFL really are like the rest of us on this one: Waiting to see what happens next.

I still cant for the life of me figure out why commissioner Roger Goodell seems so intent on having an NFL franchise in London one day. I think it would be a logistical nightmare — as does Steelers free safety Ryan Clark who told ESPNs “NFL Live” on Wednesday that he would retire before playing for a London-based team if he had to make that choice. Then there is the reality of how rooted futbol is in Europe. Kovacevic illustrates how a major difference between futbol and football is one reason why the latter has never really caught on across the Atlantic Ocean. The Steelers’ players echoed the sentiments of their coach before the team left for London. There are ample sightseeing opportunities in London, but the Steelers wont take advantage of them since they are focused on coming home with a win . The Steelers need improved play along the offensive line if they are to beat the Minnesota Vikings and avoid an 0-4 start. In their quest to find the right combination up front the Steelers will continue to rotate Kelvin Beachum at tackle with Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams. Adams and Gilbert have each struggled through the first three games, and if they dont show marked improvement Beachum will see the field more and more. The Steelers dont have a lot of other options as they try to get better play out of their line, and their hope has to be that some competition will compel Adams and Gilbert to raise their respective games. Kion Wilson has started the last two games at strongside inside linebacker but rookie Vince Williams is on track to make the position his . The sixth-round draft pick played 75 percent of the defensive snaps, considerably more than Wilson, last Sunday night, and it is worth noting that the Steelers list the two as co-starters on their depth chart.

London hardly abuzz over return of NFL

15 at the Hayward Gallery: or +44-20-7960-4200. MUSIC Fleetwood Mac plays the final gig of its three-concert run at the O2 — the first U.K. shows since it sold out Wembley in 2009. The veteran band is the same as at its Rumours peak — while Christine McVie is largely absent, she did make a surprise brief appearance at one show. Expect plenty of the 1977 album, re-released this year in a 35th-anniversary edition, as well as hits from a new four-track EP. Information: . The iTunes festival is wrapping up at the Roundhouse. Dizzee Rascal serves up his droll hip-hop on Friday, John Legend adds jazz on Saturday and Justin Timberlake offers hit-material pop on Sunday: . OTHER LONDON OUTINGS Send your kids up a chimney this weekend at a festival to inaugurate a vast new London square. Kings Cross Square (in front of the station) celebrates its Victorian, industrial past with a carnival at nearby Granary Square, where visitors can race penny farthings (those old bicycles with huge front wheels) and kids can shovel coal. Information: . Meanwhile, cheerleaders, drumlines and stars and stripes are set to take over Regent Street on Saturday.

Players not sold on London franchise

Its still a pretty good trip either way youre looking at it. Eagles linebacker Trent Cole : All your family is back in the United States. Who would do that? You wouldnt have a good team because I dont think too many people would want to do that. Play in London, away from your whole world and your family? Theyre going to have to go get some rugby players. That would be cool. Get some rugby players, have them get some equipment on, drug-test all of them. Eagles cornerback Cary Williams : Stay in America, man. Lets worry about the Jacksonville Jaguars not getting the fans out there. I dont know. Its cool to go across the water and all that. Its cool for a trip, but you dont want a franchise out there.