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RAF Mildenhall Maj. Anthony Caperella, right, and his son, Jake, 10, purchase a souvenir from a vendor before the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game at Wembley Stadium. The Giants won the NFL's first regular season game outside North America, 13-10.

RAF Mildenhall Maj. Anthony Caperella, right, and his son, Jake, 10, purchase a souvenir from a vendor before the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game at Wembley Stadium. The Giants won the NFL's first regular season game outside North America, 13-10. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

RAF Mildenhall Maj. Anthony Caperella, right, and his son, Jake, 10, purchase a souvenir from a vendor before the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game at Wembley Stadium. The Giants won the NFL's first regular season game outside North America, 13-10.

RAF Mildenhall Maj. Anthony Caperella, right, and his son, Jake, 10, purchase a souvenir from a vendor before the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game at Wembley Stadium. The Giants won the NFL's first regular season game outside North America, 13-10. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

A joint color guard performs duties in honor of the British and American colors before the start of the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game. The U.S. color guard is based out of RAF Molesworth.

A joint color guard performs duties in honor of the British and American colors before the start of the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins game. The U.S. color guard is based out of RAF Molesworth. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Air Force Staff Sgts. Terrell Stevens, left, and Ricardo Cisneros, both from the 100th Operations Support Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, hold up their newly acquired game tickets. Both traveled to the game without tickets, but then were given free tickets by a few generous fans right before the kickoff.

Air Force Staff Sgts. Terrell Stevens, left, and Ricardo Cisneros, both from the 100th Operations Support Squadron at RAF Mildenhall, hold up their newly acquired game tickets. Both traveled to the game without tickets, but then were given free tickets by a few generous fans right before the kickoff. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Miami Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon, far right, celebrates with wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., after Ginn caught a touchdown pass from Lemon in the second half at London's Wembley Stadium. Despite the score, the Dolphins lost to the New York Giants 13-10.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Cleo Lemon, far right, celebrates with wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr., after Ginn caught a touchdown pass from Lemon in the second half at London's Wembley Stadium. Despite the score, the Dolphins lost to the New York Giants 13-10. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

Fans converge on London's Wembley Stadium to view the NFL's first regular season game outside North America. The New York Giants beat the winless Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the historic game that saw many U.S. military troops in the stands.

Fans converge on London's Wembley Stadium to view the NFL's first regular season game outside North America. The New York Giants beat the winless Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the historic game that saw many U.S. military troops in the stands. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place. Don’t tell that to Staff Sgts. Ricardo Cisneros and Terrell Stevens.

The two RAF Mildenhall airmen were braving a steady rain Sunday as they stood in line for the NFL game viewing party at the Wembley Arena when, in a matter of minutes, two random fans gave the two airmen tickets to the historic, sold-out game.

A couple of my buddies just went back to the bus. Now I’m glad I didn’t go,” said Stevens, clad in New York Giants gear, holding his 45-pound ($90) ticket. “Thank you very much.”

Cisneros, 29, of Miami, and Stevens, 29, of Washington, D.C., were among a contingent of about 100 airmen and their families who traveled in a pair of chartered buses from RAF Lakenheath to Wembley Stadium for Sunday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Giants.

While their comrades filtered into the arena for a viewing party, Cisneros and Stevens marched proudly into the stadium, where nearly 81,176 fans jammed into the sleek, contemporary stadium for the first regular season NFL game played outside North America.

“I really can’t believe that just happened,” Cisneros said while showing off his 55-pound ($110) ticket. “How did that happen? I don’t know.”

Cisneros arrived at Wembley decked out head to toe in Dolphins gear and, like so many die-hard fans on Sundays across America, said he expects his team to prevail despite the Dolphins’ winless record heading into the tilt with the Giants.

“They shouldn’t win, so they’re going to win,” he mused.

Col. J.D. Clifton, commander of the 100th Operations Group at RAF Mildenhall, also traveled on the chartered buses to Sunday’s game.

“It’s football time in England,” Clifton said shortly after stepping off the bus. “We’re Dallas fans, so who do you root for? I’m just looking for a good football game.”

Fellow RAF Mildenhall officer Maj. Anthony Caparella, 34, of Phoenix, brought his 10-year- old son, Jake, to the viewing party at Wembley Arena, which offered a low-cost alternative to the stadium tickets with big- screen televisions as well as games and festivities targeted for families.

“He (Jake) likes Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor, so I guess we’re rooting for the Dolphins,” Caparella said.

Many of the American military members on hand said it was a surprise to find the NFL invading the land of the British Premier Football League, arguably the world’s dominant sporting league with fans from Tokyo to Tegucigalpa, Honduras, sporting Manchester United jerseys.

“Heck no, I can’t believe this,” said Senior Airman Bradford Trice, 23, of Miami. “I’ve been to Pro Player Stadium (now called Dolphin Stadium) and now look at this, we’re at Wembley.”

Stevens said he expected to see the Giants in London.

“They are a rock star team. They’re from New York,” he said. “They need to play in big games like this.”

The airmen on hand joined thousands of Americans from across Britain who converged on Britain’s signature stadium for a game that brought Super Bowl-style hype to the land of fish and chips.

British pop band The Feeling played two of its Radio One hits alongside gyrating Miami Dolphin cheerleaders in a pyrotechnic-laden pregame extravaganza. Scores of fans from South Florida and the Big Apple arrived clad in their team’s jerseys, but they were vastly outnumbered by fans geared up in the jersey of a variety of other NFL teams.

The game was less about cheering for a particular team as it was about being witness to the first trans-Atlantic export of America’s national obsession.

Sheets of rain and chilly temperatures that led to a largely sloppy game with little scoring did nothing to dampen fans’ spirits. The Giants overcame the weather, the jet lag and the Dolphins to notch a 13-10 victory.

A flyover with Royal Air Force Typhoons as well as a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker and two F-15C fighter jets was canceled due to low cloud cover.

But the RAF Molesworth color guard was not hampered by the weather. They joined a contingent of British troops for a pregame rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” followed by “God Save the Queen.”

British army bombardier Mark Pantony, 27, of Lincoln, was one of the few troops involved in the multinational color guard who had experience in high-profile appearances.

“I’ve been on duty at Buckingham Palace for the last month or so, so I’m used to big crowds,” he said. “I came straight from Windsor Castle to do this.”

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marlon Vega summed up the American members’ feelings shortly after leaving the Wembley pitch to a deafening roar.

“We were awesome. No ifs, ands or buts about it; we were just awesome,” he said.

The NFL is hoping British fans thought the same of the game.

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