You've got to hand it to the NFL. Fifteen years of financial loss suffered by NFL Europa hasn't stopped the league from teasing the hearts of Her Majesty's subjects with thoughts of an NFL franchise.
Yup. An American football team will make London a big league city. How far would the NFL go to make a London team pay off? Not far enough, I reckon.
The NFL kept the topic alive by offering the Brits a surprisingly competitive game between the then 0-3 Vikings and the 0-3 Steelers. The Vikings were the home team, but local fans saw the team's first win on their home TV. The British are fascinated by NFL cheerleaders.
The London Daily Mail provides surprisingly good coverage of American Football, better than most American newspapers do of the Premier League. Does any of this add up to a London franchise that makes sense?
It's called American Football for a reason. The sport mirrors Pax Americana ‒ bold, powerful, forceful by violence under the rules, winner takes all. Western Europeans hold favorable attitudes toward the United States and that carries over to America's favorite game. But Europeans grow up playing something else.
Football in the future may not capture how Americans see themselves as well as it does now. Demographic changes in the U.S. and mothers' concerns for the health of their sons may fuel the growth of futbol over football. The NFL has a handshake agreement with the CFL that closes Canada as an expansion market.
The NFL is in a race to find new markets for football before futbol eats its lunch in the United States. They have yet to find a winning business formula. NFL Europa never developed an American following because the NFL seeded it with American players no one cared about and with Europeans American's never heard of. We weren't invested in Kurt Warner and Jake Delhomme when they played in Europe..
NFL teams never flew to Europe to play Europa teams. Travel costs were an obstacle, although one the NFL might overcome through an expanded broadcast package.
Flights from Chicago to London for a Week 14 game in London prices out to US$ 890.00 booked today on a discount travel site. The NFL would do better with its own charter through an "official airline," but the expense would be higher than flights to Detroit.
If the NFL is going to win overseas, it has to plant a team in London that British and Americans fans want to see all the time. It has to be a team with enough viewership that broadcast revenue offsets the added travel cost. It has to move an established NFL franchise. We aren't speaking of the Jacksonville Jaguars here.
The NFL has to move the New England Patriots to London.
Tom Brady is an NFL mega-star. Tom Brady is "dreamy." Tom Brady is a draw. British knighthood would resolve the Brady vs. Manning argument.
Besides, "England" is already in the name.