Global NFL

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10 years from now, I fully expect to see the following...

Four new teams, two in the American Conference and two in the National Conference.

The cities? Toronto, London, Mexico City, Berlin.

Imagine The London Redcoats, The Mexico City Lobos, The Berlin Thunder (that's the current NFL Europe team name), Toronto Moose.

The names aren't really super important. London could also be The London Foxes (a nod to the indigenous animals) and Lobos is also the team name of the University of New Mexico, too. I'm sure Toronto would want something other than Moose, but i'm trying to keep the team names animal/history oriented. What would you call them? :)

Yes, soccer rules in many international cities. I certainly don't expect us to to a major South American/European expansion. There is already NFL Europe, and it brings in moderate interest, much like our national soccer league brings in moderate interest, too.

But here's the catch. Let's say you had a team in Mexico, London, Toronto and Berlin that was the real deal. The team would be built the same way that other recent expansion teams were created (Houston, Carolina, Jaguars, Ravens). Real talent is brought to each team, they get expansion draft picks. All teams are shown on the NFL network or DirectTV. Wouldn't it be awesome to watch Philadelphia vs London? Hell, i'd fly out there to watch that every year, it would be a great excuse to visit London.

I'd put London's team into the NFC East. Think about it. London vs Dallas. London vs Giants (two of the biggest cities on the planet battling it out). London vs Philadelphia (the 1776 showdown!), London vs WASHINGTON (Oooh! Which capital is greater!). The psychological significance alone just sounds exciting.

Before you immediately react with a "It won't work in other countries", just consider what kind of draw some smaller-market NFL teams get. I fully don't expect a London or Mexician team to draw the same crowd or revenue as a large-market NFL team. But I think they can compete with revenues that teams like the Bills, Jacksonville, Cardinals and other smaller-city teams generate.

Also the "they are too far away", I think can be figured out (somehow). We have East coast vs West Coast teams all the time. A flight from the East coast to the West coast is about the same as a flight from the East Coast to Europe. The only problem I can see is when you have Berlin playing West Coast teams, but there has to be a way to figure this out. Bring back the Concordes! I'd just schedule it in such a way that doesn't hinder the travelling team.

The interest in the NFL in Europe or Mexico is similar to the interest that Americans have in soccer. It really isn't a major sport, and everyone has a die-hard buddy who played in high school or college that tries to convince them how awesome soccer is. We all got semi-excited over it when the World Cup starts and our team shows some promise.

If you put the talent there, if you make a real investment in the team, the fans will come. I mean i'm not saying we should put an NFL team in every European city (The Parisian Frogs, The Rome Gladiators, The Madrid Bulls (I know it is Pamplona, but still...)).

If you haven't read the news, 500,000 people have already requested tickets for next seasons game of Miami vs New York. Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers played in Mexico City in 2005, drawing a lot of interest.

The NFL has already said they aren't interested in expanding, but the writing is on the wall. I'm sure the NFL is doing these international games to poke & prod at the international fans until the day comes that they expand into Canada, Mexico or Europe.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 7, 2007 12:33 AM.

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