From London to leaving a Super Bowl legacy, Jay Ajayi is ready to make his dreams come true

The 24-year-old will be a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles team that run out at US Bank Stadium to face the New England Patriots next Sunday

Ben Burrows
Saturday 27 January 2018 20:28
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Londoner Jay Ajayi will achieve a lifelong dream when he runs out in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday
Londoner Jay Ajayi will achieve a lifelong dream when he runs out in Minneapolis on Super Bowl Sunday

A Super Bowl may well be the most American of things but come next weekend the 52nd edition will have a distinctly British flavour.

Londoner Jay Ajayi will be a key part of the Philadelphia Eagles team that run out at US Bank Stadium to face the New England Patriots on Sunday.

Ajayi isn't the first Brit to grace the gridiron's biggest game, of course. Former New York Giant Lawrence Tynes is a two-time winner while Scotland's Graham Gano of the Carolina Panthers got this far two years ago too.

Ajayi has come a long way this season

The 24-year-old would hardly have imagined he'd be set to star on such a stage three months ago when he was still a Miami Dolphin, let alone when he left the UK aged just seven-years-old but here he is, a transatlantic move and midseason trade later, and he's focused on the task at hand.

"I’m excited to be playing in the Super Bowl, obviously there is this craziness around the game and it’s all about focusing on what’s the most important thing, the game itself, and not getting distracted from everything that’s going on around it," he says. "Because, obviously there’s a lot that goes into it, so it’s just about eliminating the distractions and playing the game."

If you think that playing in American football's showpiece means less to someone born and raised outside of America think again. Ajayi broke down in tears last weekend in the wake of Eagles' NFC title-sealing win over the Minnesota Vikings as the raw emotion of what he had achieved finally hit home.

A midseason trade from Miami sees Ajayi now one of the Eagles' key offensive pieces

"It was the realisation of the opportunity that was playing in the Super Bowl, the final game, the big stage, something that all of us guys that play in the NFL, any kid that’s grown up loving the game of football, has dreamt about. The feeling of that coming true and the reality after everything that’s gone on in the season, to understand that I’m one step closer to accomplishing my dream.

"It’s a moment to thank God for the opportunity and being appreciative and just taking in the whole moment really."

Playing in a Super Bowl is a dream come true

Fifteen or more friends and family will be in Minneapolis next Sunday to see Ajayi's big day in person. But the man they are travelling across the pond to see has no intention of going there merely to make up the numbers.

"Talking to my friends in Europe and my family in London I tell them it's like playing in the Champs League final or the World Cup final, it's the pinnacle of the sport. There's no better game, there's nothing after the Super Bowl," he adds.

"This is it, it’s the pinnacle, it’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world. For me, this is a dream come true. For me it's just about finding a way to win, it's about leaving my mark and legacy and being a Super Bowl champion."

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