As you may detect, I am personally getting more and more annoyed with the National Football League.
This league is clearly less and less interested in the grassroots football fans, and more and more interested in empire-building and making gobs of money for its owners.
Take this London series of games, for instance. They played a game today at Twickenham Stadium which is the top rugby venue in England, between the NY Giants and the LA Rams. The Giants won, 17-10.
This is one of three games they are playing there this season. Every time they play a game there, it simply leads to more expectation that the NFL is interested in putting a team into London permanently, whether it is through expansion or relocation.
This talk drives me crazy, and the reason it drives me crazy is because the NFL has no business putting a team into London, England. The people of England don’t care whether the NFL puts a team there or not. They are a soccer, rugby, cricket and F1 nation… not to mention tennis and golf. All these sports are ahead of the NFL in interest there. Maybe even darts, too.
I’m convinced the NFL games there are a novelty act — like whenever Manchester United or Liverpool or whomever play these summer soccer games in the States. It’s the exact same thing.
Meanwhile, you have Canada, a country where football is practically the second-most popular sport behind the NHL — at least, in years when the Blue Jays aren’t winning in baseball — and where the Super Bowl is easily the top-rated TV broadcast of the year, regularly. And yet commissioner Roger Goodell and crew are thinking they’d rather set up in London, where there is much less of a history for the sport? It is mind-boggling.
Of course, there are multitudes of CFL fans who are saying “good! Stay out of Canada!” The NFL is already killing the CFL in the TV ratings every week, and the fear is that if the NFL puts a team in, say, Toronto, that would kill the Toronto Argonauts and drive the entire CFL out of existence. Never mind that there are eight other cities in the CFL, most of which are nowhere near Toronto. Putting an NFL team into Toronto does nothing for most of them. Yet the fear is all the national sponsors would flee the CFL for the NFL, and that would be enough to put the CFL out of business across Canada.
It shows you just how dominant the NFL is in this country, Canada, even without a team located within its borders.
In fact, places like Mexico or even Japan (!) would be better bets for the NFL than England, because there is plenty of interest in football there. They show NFL games on TV in Mexico, regularly, for example, and the league gets plenty of coverage. In England, the league’s coverage has been getting better, but the NFL will always be second-fiddle to whatever games the Barclays Premier League serves up the same day. (In fact, there were two of them today.)
I don’t know what the NFL is trying to prove by holding games in England. In fact, the games are money-losers there. But I guess I should be happy because if I ever move to London with my UK citizenship rights, I could go and watch NFL games there live!
Right. How much are tickets there, over a hundred bucks?!
Now, if you will excuse me, I am all pumped up to watch the big Formula 1 race later today — from the United States!!!