Wednesday, October 21, 2015

NFL London games.

Looking at the bigger picture, is it any wonder the NFL's European venture crashed and burned? Hey, like Americans consider pro soccer to be right up there in popularity with curling or the badminton circuit, so too do Europeans regard American football as yawnish. Different cultures and different tastes in sports. Fair enough.

But the NFL hasn't done itself any favors with the games they have scheduled in jolly old England's Wembley stadium. It would only stand to reason that if a sports league was trying to make an impression in an already dubious market -- they would send their best.

But no. Not the NFL. Coming up next for the Brits is the Jets taking on the Dolphins. The Bills taking on the Jaguars. If that's not bad enough, the sad-sack Detroit Lions and equally inept KC Chiefs travel  a few time zones away to give the Brits yet another dose of  American pro football -- at its worst. 

Good grief, just last year the Lions bumbled their way to a last-second victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Wembley. The Lions had lost on a last second field goal attempt gone awry, but got another chance on a penalty against themselves to win -- and did? 

No wonder the Brits consider American football a mere circus-like side show spectacle. A team gets rewarded for screwing up? And all those stoppages in play for various time-outs and TV commercials don't help either. A game that features 60 minutes of actual play most often runs well over 3 hours. Soccer's not like that. The clock never stops, though the "extra time" after the clock has hit zero remains a mystery. Only the head official on the field knows how long the game will last before he finally blows his whistle. It's a secret to everybody else. Kind of like the scores in boxing until the fight is all over. But that's a story for another day. 

In the NFL wants to impress the tea and crumpet crowd, here's an idea. Send over some good teams instead of the bottom feeders they have in the past and still do. How about the Patriots taking on the Packers? You know, two traditionally top-flight teams to show how the game is supposed to be played at its highest level. If they truly want a circus atmosphere, send over Jerry Jones and his Dallas team to take on the Washington Redskins. Cowboys and Indians. One of the oldest American games. Yee-hah.

What great fun that would be. Pip, pip, and let the litres of ale and stout flow like the river Thames amongst the crowd in attendance and other spectators watching it on the telly. Beats croquet and surely those ruffians skating around on ice with sticks and pucks trying to do each other great bodily harm in the process. Even the Queen likely finds the former wimpish, and the latter is nothing more than heathens typically missing a few teeth.

Bottom line is the NFL can send teams over to London, or anywhere else in Europe every year, but even if they send the best ones, it's never going to catch on as a mainstream sport with the masses. 

Some sports are destined to only be popular in America. NASCAR or the Indy cars can run a race abroad here and there, but it will never take hold outside of the United States any more than Formula One racing has enchanted the American public. F1 is a huge deal in many other countries, and features the highest racing technology and best drivers in the world -- but Americans shun it.

Ain't no accounting for different strokes in different cultures.

It just is what it is. 

For the NFL to think otherwise is nothing more than hubris. 

No comments:

Post a Comment