Monday, October 20, 2014

The NFL's boneheaded London gambit

Next Sunday the NFL will once again ship two teams over to jolly old England for a game. You'd think they'd learn.

Though the NFL continues to be the gorilla in the room of American sports, it has long since been proven that England, and the rest of the world for that matter, has little interest in American football, real or fantasy. Remember how the NFL tried to expand it's brand a few years ago with the NFL Europe experiment? It crashed and burned like the Hindenberg.

For reasons most sane Americans, and even the not so sane (see yours truly) can't comprehend, the vast majority of earthling sports fans find soccer (futbol) much more captivating. Spanning the globe -- for every yankee doodle dandy football fan, there are legions of soccer fanatics elsewhere. But it is what it is and different strokes for different cultures.

Yet still the NFL persists in sending a game here and there overseas. This is dumb on many levels.

First, it's a colossal waste of jet fuel.

Second, even the blokes and blokettes of England that pay the admission price to attend such a contest view it as a novelty. A circus act, a freak-show. Like other American foreign policies, this is not to be taken seriously.

Third, even fanatical American NFL fans don't understand half the rules and complexities of the game. To people in the UK, who don't understand ANY of the rules and regs, it likely looks like a game of human pinball. Nevertheless, if I was a British subject that could spare a few pounds sterling, such an event could hold a certain allure. Once. It would be like visiting the San Diego zoo to see the pandas. That's a much hyped exhibit as well. Pretty cool, but once is enough. No need to go back.

Most importantly, if the NFL wants to make an impression in England, why are they sending the Detroit Lions and the Atlanta Falcons overseas to represent them? Sure, the Brits likely won't know the difference, but c'mon. A contest between the Motown meltdowners and the Tara tweety-birds is the best they could do?

If Roger Goodell and company want to make a splash in a foreign market, here's a suggestion....
Don't send a couple historical also-rans. Send your best.

Remember last year's Super Bowl was played between the eventual champion Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. As this year's schedule would have it, way back in Week 3, on Sept. 21, the Hawks and Broncs played a rematch. It was quite a thrilling game with Seattle narrowing prevailing by a 26-20 score.

THAT'S the game that should have been played in London. Not some contest between the Lions and the Falcons. And consider:

If you were a UK citizen and did a quickie internet search on Detroit and Atlanta, what do you think would pop up?

Both are crime-ridden cities. Murders, carjackings, gangs, drugs, and corruption. One is even bankrupt.

On the other hand, Denver and Seattle are both beautiful thriving cities, with much better football teams to boot.

So if the NFL absolutely insists on sending two teams (roughly 22,000 lbs. or 10,000 kilos) of ruffians to play in your back yard -- which would you rather spend your hard-earned quid to see?

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