Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The NFL To England? Probably Not Just Yet

For years that has been discussion of professional leagues in North America expand outside of the US and Canada. There have been attempts with the most notable being the NFL taking the World League of American Football under it’s wings as NFL Europe but that didin’t last long.

There really is no major league that has expanded outside of its country of origin with great success on a large scale. Sure the Toronto Blue Jays won two World Series but Montreal couldn’t sustain a team and they moved to Washington DC. One MLB team in Canada is not a success story. The NBA tried it in 1995 with teams in Vancouver and Toronto but Vancouver lasted 6 years before moving to Memphis. The NFL has not tried expansion outside the US but the Canadian Football League did and besides the Baltimore Stallions the rest folded and Baltimore moved to Montreal.

So forgive me when I am having a difficult time seeing the NFL putting a permeant team in London by 2022 as was reported today. I think it is a wonderful idea and I loved NFL Europe but it would be quite difficult to work a 16 game schedule fairly and with the nearest teams (East coast teams) being 5 hours away the fan base is going to have to wake up early or stay up late to see their team play in the US.

I think if the NFL wants to expand than consider North American cities. Work with the CFL and maybe bring in the 9 teams, possibly adding another team to balance the divisions. Move the Chargers down to Mexico City or up to Vancouver or Toronto but please do not strand a single team in Europe unless there is serious consideration of adding more teams there. The World League of American Football could not make it work and while the NFL is a better run league it still does not seem logically sound.

As for the question of where will this team come from? The most obvious decision would be the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team’s owner Shahid Khan also owns Fulham FC a football (soccer) team that plays in Southwest London. Family Guy has already taken care of the name with the Patriot Games episode, are you ready for the London Silly Nannies at the London Silly Nanny Stadium?


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