Yeah, it's got all the hype, pomp, and circumstance. But, for once I agree with Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy: this is nuts. Belichick hates this, the players hate this, and it's up in the air as to whether or not those outside the US even give this a second look. True, we have some diehard non-US fans who follow the team, but they are lonely soldiers fighting the battle for truth, justice, and the NFL way. Surrounded by rabid soccer (sorry, football) fans, one must take their life in their hands to discuss touchdowns, a good running game, and Tom Brady.
Roger Goodell thinks they'll be more Britian-based games to come:
LONDON (AP)—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expects the league to start playing multiple regular-season games in Britain in the next few years—an expansion that could lead to putting a franchise in London.
Goodell said Friday that "every indicator" shows the British market can support more games and that having a franchise here is of "tremendous interest" to the league. But he stopped short of giving a timeline for expanding the NFL’s overseas presence.
"The interest and the enthusiasm for our game continues to grow, and we want to feed that," Goodell said. "We want to respond to that by hopefully bringing more to the UK."
Could lead to putting a franchise in London? Is he nuts? The logistics alone seem ridiculous. Forget, for a minute, the 6 hour plane flight; the Patriots going West deal with that as to West teams coming East. There's typically a 5 hour time difference. For those who travel, myself included, it can take a toll on you. Sure, these are young guys in peak form, but it still does a number on the human body. That and defence instead of defense or flavour instead of flavor just doesn't seem right (sorry Comedic.Sans).
I don't mean to, in anyway, insult our non-US based fans. Far from it. I think it's awesome that folks outside the US are such rabid fans, especially when it's so hard to BE a fan. Games aren't broadcast, you have to find an internet feed...it makes it all the harder. But, I just can't see it happening in the very near future. I'd say it'd be about as successful as FIFA trying to setup a "football" franchise in the US. Yeah, there's some interest in what we yanks call soccer, but not nearly the same level as american football, where I learned about spirit fingers.
Now, do I fault the NFL for doing this? I think it was the D.A. show on 98.5 where they were hammering the league for being greedy, for going after markets like this. Well, that's the very definition of capitalism. The NFL is as successful as it is because it doesn't sit around, throwing $100 bills on the floor like rose petals. The NFL, like most other successful businesses, is always looking for new markets, new pockets to pull money out of, if you will. That's how businesses grow and stay successful. Because sooner or later, that old cash cow won't be producing as much milk as you thought it would.
I'm indifferent as to whether or not it's a good idea. I think European NFL fans will be cheering their bloody heads off, but it remains to be seen if it will be successful. That being said, it simply makes good business sense to give it a go. That soccer stuff is for the birds. Maybe we can show the rest of the world what a real sport is.