Goodell throws water on London relocation talk

At a time when there seems to be plenty of momentum for an expanded NFL presence in England and, eventually, a team based there, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has tapped the brakes a bit.

“I think we’re getting a little bit ahead of ourselves,” Goodell told James Brown of CBS before Sunday’s Patriots-Buccaneers game at Wembley Stadium.

“It’s realistic to think that could happen some day,” Goodell said regarding the possibility of a team moving to London, “but that’s down the road.”

Earlier in the week, Goodell said that the league has “tremendous interest” in placing team in London.

24 responses to “Goodell throws water on London relocation talk

  1. I’m as big of an NFL fan as one can be. I’m American. I even have season tickets to an unnamed franchise despite living in the UK. But let me explain something that people in the US just do not seem to comprehend….
    There is absolutely no chance there is enough support to put an American football here, or anywhere else in Europe. People here have little interest for a sixty minute game that takes 3-4 hours to play. They don’t even have enough commercials to cover all the stoppages in football – instead, they cut to the SkySports desk and do a little analysis.
    And before people start saying “how can the English find American football boring and not soccer,” just remember that soccer is a 90 minute game played with a single 10 minute break in the middle. It is non-stop action for those who actually understand and respect it. Further, rugby is the same exact way – non-stop action for 80 minutes of guys lining up and hitting each other, this time without pads. YouTube “rugby hits” if you want a taste of the sport.
    Finally, American football is an incredibly complicated sport with way too many rules for an outsider to comprehend what is happening. False starts, illegal formations, forward passes, holding, etc. Soccer and rugby are not complicated at all (perhaps outside of the ruck rules in rugby).
    I’m not trying to defend those other sports, I’m simply pointing out why people here think about American football the way they do. The world here stops for a big soccer match. On the other hand, the extent of knowledge sports fans here have about the NFL is that Randy Lerner of Aston Villa and Malcolm Glazer of Man Utd own the Browns and Bucs respectively.

  2. I love football, watch as much of it as I can–pay for the Sunday Ticket, the whole bit. The day a team goes to London is the day I stop watching the NFL, (other than my home team), playing fantasy football, and whatever else. Period.
    Moving a team outside of the States is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.

  3. A Team in London ? How about getting a pro Team in Cleveland or Detroit, or Tampa Bay or St. Louis or Washington ?
    Before you think about expansion Rodger you better come up with a plan to improve the product you have now.

  4. @Aequitas …
    Terrific post! After reading this article from Mike, I’m not sure how seriously we should have been taking the London talk in the first place, but you’ve made wonderful points.
    I lived in the UK for several years and can’t tell you how much time I spent trying to answer questions about American football. In the end, it always came back to what you’re saying: too long, too slow, too many stoppages, too many rules, too confusing. They enjoy the spectacle of the Super Bowl and a few “special event” games just like millions of Americans who don’t watch any other time. (I swore off Super Bowl parties after attending one where the host muted the volume so the game wouldn’t interfere with the festivities.) Thanks for explaining it so well.

  5. A team in London is probably the end of the NFL. If the UFL was smart they would have waiting until that happens, or at least keep a league alive until the NFL goes global. Great players would be so afraid to get drafted by london that they might play a year or so in the UFL to be able to be a free agent.
    If there is a London team, put them in the AFC North. The Browns need another bad team, and the London team will have so many holdouts and non free agent signings, as well as all the travel they’d have to do, the Browns might be able to keep it close until the half at least.

  6. Aequitas, completely agree. These different cultures have completely different television viewing habits, even though I love soccer (how did City draw today?). However, Crickett is a fairly popular sport and seems to take days to finish (actually prefer Crickett to baseball). I would like to see Football eventually have a relegation system like soccer though. That way teams like Detroit and the perennial losers will be an afterthought. Owners will never allow that to happen though.
    I lived in South africa for a while and would laugh when I came across (Britains) people wearing Miami Dolphins t-shirts. They didnt even know they were a football team, they just liked the colors.

  7. I serious doubt there will be a team in the UK any time soon. With all the travelling that is required, that team would suck – bad. It would be an 0-16 team three years in a row until they pull the plug on it. No free agent would go there, every draft pick would hold out.
    Right now it is a curious novelty there. If a team were there it would lose all the it hype and just be a disaster.

  8. @Deb and cvh2009 – I’ve tried to explain this to my colleagues in the US and they just do not understand. I think one has to actually experience another culture to understand how the NFL is viewed here. I think it’s so ingrained in American culture that they really do not realize how slow and complicated of a sport football really is. One would think some light bulbs should go off when you can watch an entire game on DirecTV in an hour without missing a single snap.
    I just want to clarify one thing – I’m not saying soccer is not complicated. I’m saying the rules are not complicated. The tactical genius that is required to manage a team is incredible.
    As far as City, it appears as though they were lucky to draw. I was watching the Liverpool/ManU match, but in the highlights I saw Givens had to make a great save to keep it level at 2-2. Dempsey (American!) equalized for Fulham.
    @Nitro – The greatest ignorance is to reject that of which you know nothing.

  9. Lets hope that if the NFL does put a team across the pond that they bring in a bunch of fans because many in America that I talk to say they will be done with the NFL when and if that ever happens.
    It is an American game and America is were it should stay. The NFL should spend as much time on bringing up the quality of play as they do trying to work into London.
    Anytime you see all these TD, catch and points records being broke as you do today it is because of rule changes and has nothing to do with this being the decade of the QB or of having great offenses. The game has already been cheapened and playing anything more than a game overseas as a novilty will only ruin the game more than it already has been ruined.

  10. It doesnt matter what the fans think. The NFL does what it wants.
    If there was no interest in putting a team in London, they would not be playing games there.
    Todays game had over 85,000 people. This talk from others that the NFL will not work in London is pure non sense and folly.
    Its funny for a city of no interest for the NFL, 85 K bought tickets.
    The NFL is going global period.
    The Buccaneers could be the team that transfers to London.
    There is a reason the Bucs are being run into the ground.

  11. Look, I also used to think the NFL was boring and too complicated to understand. When I was in the fourth grade.
    If a bunch of adults really can’t grasp the rules of the game, and are really that outraged by the number of “Budweiser adverts” they have to sit through while watching the game, can we just admit that the NFL isn’t going to catch on over there and stop pretending that it’s some big craze that’s going to sweep the rest of the world? The NFL is awesome, and if Europe prefers soccer, whatever. It’s their loss. Why is Goodell still wasting his time?

  12. @cvh2009 I’m from South Africa and I’m a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan. Where in SA did you live? I became a fan before I ever went to the US, but I’m very much the exception. And there are different forms of Cricket (one t). The one lasts for 3 hours, the other for 8 hours and the last version lasts 5 days.
    @Aequitas I guess I’m the exception to your rule. I deal with the same issues of explaining the rules of American Football. However, I have about five friends who are also big fans, and we actually went to watch a game in Philly last year (the win against the Cards). People in the USA were dumbfounded when I told them that I became a fan on my own. I figured out the nuances of the game by watching it until I understood it. I’m glad to see you know something about Rugby and Cricket, because then you should also know that we are the current Rugby World Champions (tournament is played every four years and it actually involves the whole world, even the USA, unlike the world series). You should also realize that truly BIG international sports like Rugby, Cricket and Soccer aren’t impossible to organize. Teams regularly tavel from England or SA to Australia and New Zealand.
    All in all I naturally like the expansion of the game because I’m a foreigner, but there are a few issues that would make it difficult.

  13. @snnyjcbs Yeah just like so many people stopped watching football because Mike Vick was re-signed…

  14. All the “If the NFL puts a team in Europe, I’ll never watch again” should shut their mouths. Nothing wrong with being pro-America, but you’re just showing the same close-minded, pig-headedness that everyone hates us for in the first place.
    All the “Europe won’t embrace it because it’s too slow and too complicated,” or “You really need to be in the culture to know that they won’t accept it,” people should shut their mouths as well. These things take time. It’s obviously going to be a slow process if the NFL does try to gain a fan base in Europe. NFL Europe was around long enough to plant the seed. People know what it’s all about even if they don’t get certain subtleties involved with American football. That can be learned in time.
    I doubt it gains the same popularity as Soccer or even Basketball, but it very much can turn into a America/Europe type league in time. Obviously the NFL is thinking dollar signs, but for us it’s going to bring more fans, competition, bad blood, and probably a lot of respect between both countries. That is if us Americans can get off our high horse and embrace this as the next level for the NFL.

  15. Aequitas. Yeah, I wished I could have seen U/Liverpool, Torres really is the premier striker in the world, the guy just has a nose for the goal. I was surprised with the outcome, however, especially with Gerrard’s absence and Liverpool’s recent results on the pitch. I did see Bolton/Everton and then City’s match.

  16. Eagle, I was in Capetown. I lived in Seapoint, and then Camps Bay. It’s a beautiful rather chaotic country. God, I hated the flight there.

  17. @cvh2009 I’m from Stellenbosch, about 20 minutes from Cape Town. It’s beautiful yeah, but that’s really the only good thing left about it. Seapoint is especially bad now. Crime is out of control with 80 murders per day, racism is everywhere, poverty is out of control and all the skilled people are emigrating. Hopefully I’ll be joining that list soon. How long ago was it that you were here?

  18. @Onderin “All the “If the NFL puts a team in Europe, I’ll never watch again” should shut their mouths”
    Are you serious? Shut our mouths? That’s how you speak to someone who has a viewpoint different than yours? You go on to write “you’re just showing the same close-minded, pig-headedness that everyone hates us for in the first place.” Hmm. You tell us to shut our mouths and then in the next sentence accuse us of being close-minded and pig-headed…remember, that’s after you’ve told those who disagree with you to shut our mouths.
    Are you seeing the hypocrisy yet, or is the logic going over your head?

  19. @Onderin …
    My opinion of how American football is viewed in UK culture is relevant to the discussion, so, no, I will not shut my mouth because you don’t want to read what I have to say. At least my comments come from some logical place. You are rude and ignorant. It’s a blog. If you don’t wish to be informed by opinions other than your own, don’t visit.

  20. Eagle, it was about 6 1/2 years ago when South Africa was robbed in the Crickett world Cup, at least I think that is what it was. They lost due to time or something ridiculous like that; it made absolutely no sense. I never really was comfortable down there honestly, due to crime. It is a shame because aesthetically, there is almost nothing that compares. When I was there, my first night, my roommate said there was like a dozen person massacre two blocks from the apartment. I saw all kinds of “stuff” on the street. It was pretty intense.

  21. @WashingtonRedstorms …
    They bought 85,000 tickets because it was a PARTY! People pay a fortune for Super Bowl tkts when they don’t know a first down from a back flip just to be at the party. If you went to Pamplona, you might go to a bullfight but would you become an aficionado? Probably not.
    Europe has no Pop Warner-thru-college system for developing talent. How many U.S. players want to leave country, homes, extended families to be isolated in Europe, put their kids in overseas schools, & commute to U.S. for 8 out of 17 games? Our Sun., Mon., & Thurs., night games kick off after 1 a.m. in the UK and Europe. Yes, fans could watch on tape delay, but w/the Internet, they’ll already know who won, so why bother?
    It failed as a European league, but you think it will work intermingled with the NFL? I’ll be auctioning London Bridge next week. All bids welcome.

  22. @cvh2009 Yeah the cricket was due to the “Duckworth-Lewis” system. It’s because the game was rained out – they adjust it so that you need to have a specific total at any point in the game if it rains out. And when it started to rain we were a few runs short.
    Yeah I don’t expect that any civilized person would be comfortable here. It really is like a war zone. My family have been victims of this war with my grandfather murdered and my brother kidnapped at gunpoint. And you would know, its not like you have to be in the bad neighborhoods for that to happen. It happens everywhere, all the time. This place has more people die from murders in one year than the entire death toll of the Iraq war, check it out if you don’t believe me. A lot more murders and rape than Mexico. That should put it in perspective for Americans.
    But thank God for the NFL, kind of keeps me going honestly.

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