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NFL hires former soccer exec to help with international growth

To help grow our brand of football beyond American borders, the NFL is turning to an expert in the other kind of football.

Brian Mawhinney, who served for seven years as chair of the Football League, will serve as a special advisor to NFL International.

The Football League consists of the 72 teams below the Premier League.

 A former member of Parliament (not the musical group), Mawhinney could help lay the foundation for an expanded presence of the league in England, possibly culminating in the full-time arrival of the London Shaguars.

For now, Mawhinney says that American football is “developing impressively in this country and I look forward to aiding that
process.”

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36 Responses to “NFL hires former soccer exec to help with international growth”
  1. Mike_Florio says: Jul 9, 2010 12:47 PM

    Mawhinney’s (More Whiny?) first order of business:
    Teaching NFL players how to flop on the ground while crying to the ref about a non-existant kick to the shins.

  2. jj jones says: Jul 9, 2010 12:48 PM

    ” A former member of Parliament (not the musical group), Mawhinney could help lay the foundation for an expanded presence of the league in England, possibly culminating in the full-time arrival of the London Shaguars.”
    Or Vikings.

  3. Philly Cheese says: Jul 9, 2010 12:50 PM

    Why??? If the Euro’s are serious about playing football, they’ll start their own league. I hate the idea of all of this growth for the sake growth to reel in more and more dollars. The greed is going to dilute the talent level and the product will suffer. Generally, I like what Goodell has done in his short time as Commish, but it sucks that he feels the need to make the NFL some global superpower.

  4. jebdamone says: Jul 9, 2010 12:59 PM

    agreed philly, let them start their own damn league…

  5. MutantDeadMan says: Jul 9, 2010 1:08 PM

    I think you need to establish it in other countries, not just the UK. We already get a regular season game here. Maybe get a few teams and go on a pre-season tour of France or China or somewhere. Make it into a mini-tournament.
    The NFL will make shed loads of money.A lot of Americans I know think pre-season is a little pointless but fans in other nations would jump at the chance to see an NFL game, even a pre-season game.

  6. jb10 says: Jul 9, 2010 1:11 PM

    imo making a push overseas is a waste of time.
    football will never even come close to taking a strong foothold in countries that play futbol

  7. wydok says: Jul 9, 2010 1:12 PM

    Mawhinney used to be a Parliament groupie, though. Him, me, and George used to smoke pot together.

  8. edgy says: Jul 9, 2010 1:14 PM

    The Golden Weasel has NBA envy but he seems to have overlooked the fact that the rest of the world plays basketball while football doesn’t have the same kind of participation. Frankly, soccer does better in this country than football does overseas and only a moron — uh… NFL commissioner — would be blind to that fact.

  9. MutantDeadMan says: Jul 9, 2010 1:27 PM

    You’ll be surprised how popular american football is over here… Madden 10 was in the Xbox charts for at least 3 months – way longer than NBA Live 10 and NHL 10 was (NBA was never in the chart I don’t think). Then you have the International Series game which has sold out 4 years running.
    Just the other day, I saw a dude with a Brett Favre jersey on…

  10. Qoojo says: Jul 9, 2010 1:31 PM

    They want to grow the game internationally, then first cut down the number of commercials. The game aired today seems to be about is about 35%-50% commercials.

  11. montanabob says: Jul 9, 2010 1:34 PM

    Screw Europe and international expantion of American football.
    You need to see the Real Sports with Bryant Gumble segment on racisim in European football.

  12. jersey73 says: Jul 9, 2010 1:38 PM

    Please don’t introduce Vuvuzela’s to the NFL.

  13. edgy says: Jul 9, 2010 1:52 PM

    # MutantDeadMan says:
    You’ll be surprised how popular american football is over here… Madden 10 was in the Xbox charts for at least 3 months
    *******************
    Wooo, XBox – Fire up the expansion committee and put as many teams possible in Europe….BULL….

  14. bluestree says: Jul 9, 2010 1:56 PM

    wydok says:
    July 9, 2010 1:12 PM
    Mawhinney used to be a Parliament groupie, though. Him, me, and George used to smoke pot together.
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
    I always figured Bush to be more of a Funkadelic guy.

  15. burntorangehorn says: Jul 9, 2010 2:20 PM

    Maybe the NFL could hire whichever consultants had been working on increasing soccer’s popularity in America?

  16. JSpicoli says: Jul 9, 2010 2:25 PM

    When the NFL has a foreign team the league will be at the apex of it’s arc as it jumps the shark.

  17. Old School says: Jul 9, 2010 2:27 PM

    It’s bad enough Washington is trying to turn the US into a European style failed state. Now we’ll be treated to watered down jet lag football.
    If Europe liked football; so much, they’d already be playing it. If we export anything, we should send them all the soccer teams there – permanently.

  18. robert ethen says: Jul 9, 2010 2:38 PM

    The expert made a preliminary recommendation of using a ball that is less oblong in shape.

  19. shadowflames43 says: Jul 9, 2010 2:57 PM

    Philly, one issue with your comment: It’s not true. Basketball gained poplarity around the world and now Basketball players are coming from other countries just to play in the NBA. While a team ther isn’t the best idea ever, getting the colleges in say, England, Germany, and Japan(which all had/have their own leagues) to start playing it like they do here could increase American talent pools. Not to mention, that even if you don’t like Europe at the end of the day, Canada and Mexico have very little travel problems and deserve better looks from ALL US major sports.

  20. robert ethen says: Jul 9, 2010 3:00 PM

    Titanic struggles waged on the Frozen Tundra of Vladivostok Flat Spot.

  21. frobaggins says: Jul 9, 2010 3:04 PM

    Old School-
    hey man, did you read the article? cause i’m pretty sure it says that the NFL is looking to a european football exec for help marketing the league, not the other way around. you think any premier league executive gives a crap about the NFL when they run the most popular/competitive league of the worlds most popular sport? get a grip
    and learn how to use a semi-colon bro..pathetic

  22. Old School says: Jul 9, 2010 3:09 PM

    When Mexico has an NFL team, it will be owned by a drug cartel. They will be delivering drugs and illegals on the team plane when they play road games here.

  23. Shaun Lowrie says: Jul 9, 2010 3:11 PM

    Please stop saying ‘London Shaguars’. It won’t catch on and is an abortion to the senses.
    Thanks.

  24. CleanSlaton says: Jul 9, 2010 3:16 PM

    I may not agree with putting a franchise in London, or any other European city for that matter [because, additionally, they'd have to change the name of the league to the 'IFL' for international football league]….
    However, I do agree with removing a team from Jacksonville. Their residents didn’t even care about their team when they were competitively relevant. Their stadium is the worst stadium in the league to watch a game in, especially if you’re a visiting fan.

  25. nfldraftpost says: Jul 9, 2010 3:21 PM

    I have been playing and watching soccer for more than 25 years. I didn´t get into the NFL until the internet made it possible to watch games and follow the teams online. There was no coverage, today i can honestly say that if i had to chose beetween soccer and football i would chose American Football.
    Its simply the best sport in the world while soccer is suffering because players can´t play honestly anymore(they spend more time faking injuries) throwing themselves to the ground, trying to fool the refs
    Of course the NFL should try to grow the sport internationally, its the only logical thing.
    The main problem with American Football that people have problems understanding all the rules, but since Madden has arrived in PS3, Xbox etc younger people understand the sport much better. The NFL is gonna be more and more popular as times goes on. I don´t think there should be a team overseas but the NFL should definitely play more pre-season games abroad.
    Quite frankly, i don´t understand why so many american football fans are against the idea of NFL gaining more popularity abroad.

  26. jj jones says: Jul 9, 2010 3:23 PM

    “CleanSlaton says:
    July 9, 2010 3:16 PM
    However, I do agree with removing a team from Jacksonville. Their residents didn’t even care about their team when they were competitively relevant. Their stadium is the worst stadium in the league to watch a game in, especially if you’re a visiting fan. ”
    Spare me. You are just bitter because the Jaguars swept the Texans last year. There is nothing wrong with the stadium. You are talking out of your rear end. The NFL would not play the Super Bowl in the “worst stadium in the league to watch a game in”.
    And how did the residents of Jacksonville not care about their team when they were competitvely relevant? Again, more non-sense.
    When was the last time a football team in Houston was relevant?

  27. EGOutreach says: Jul 9, 2010 3:29 PM

    It seems to me that if the NFL wanted international growth, keeping NFL Europe and enhancing NFL Europe would have been the first step.
    Try the book Explosive Growth™, available through SRG Publications, and apply it to the NFL.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0foCDoekh4

  28. Stone says: Jul 9, 2010 3:50 PM

    I really wish the NFL would think twice about this. Our sport is not meant to be played overseas. I do not want the London team in my division and I do not want the Giants having to travel to London once a year. No way are the English going to support an NFL team over the long run. If the team is great, they will support it but if the team falters at all, then they will have less loyalty than an American in Jacksonville. This is a colossal mistake. If anything, they should bring back the Europe NFL and use them as a minor league/developmental league.

  29. rooster75 says: Jul 9, 2010 3:50 PM

    One of Mawhinney’s less publicized collateral duties will be to convene a summit consisting of a select group of English soccer hooligans and fans from Lincoln Financial Field and Oakland Coliseum to hash out the best practices for gameday stadium behavior. Massive quantities of beer (measured in metric sh!t tons) will be provided at the summit to best replicate gameday conditions.

  30. Deb says: Jul 9, 2010 3:52 PM

    They’d better start by launching American football programs in primary/secondary schools and universities. Otherwise, Europe will be cheering exported American players.
    The World League of American Football FAILED, and time differences alone will damn a blended NFL. Overseas fans will be asleep when our Sunday, Monday, & Thursday night games air. They’ll learn scores online before seeing tape-delayed airings. And the majority will NEVER embrace the complexities of our game. Or is Goodell planning to change NFL rules to make the game more soccerlike?

  31. LeRoy36 says: Jul 9, 2010 4:12 PM

    Like NFL Europe worked out so well.

  32. j0hnny63 says: Jul 9, 2010 6:17 PM

    Shaguars? Don’t you mean London Silly Nannies?

  33. nfldraftpost says: Jul 9, 2010 6:36 PM

    Why did you not post my comment?

  34. jem989 says: Jul 9, 2010 8:14 PM

    Growing the game can only be a good thing.
    Larger talent pool=Better players = a higher quality of game.
    London is in no way ready for a franchise but to say taking the game to other countries is a bad thing is crazy

  35. Deb says: Jul 9, 2010 11:22 PM

    @jem989 …
    Larger talent pool = better players?
    And where is this larger talent pool to be found in Europe, Ireland, and the UK? Their children don’t play organized American football in school. They don’t have a college system to serve as a farm league for training professional players. The ONLY way to sustain professional NFL teams in these countries is to populate them with American players who know how to play the sport. That will mean DRAINING the current talent pool, which isn’t large enough to produce 32 elite quarterbacks now. That will mean DILUTING the current product for the American fans that live and breathe it.
    And to what end? Every previous attempt to grow the game in that part of the world has been a costly failure.
    Just curious … have you ever lived in one of these countries for an extended period of time and watched American football with these new “fans”? I have. They find it interesting, not compelling. The DO NOT understand why the game takes so long, why it has so many stops and starts, so many rules. The complexities of the game BORE them. It will not replace soccer.
    Goodell and his mad ambition will dilute our product, waste a lot of money, and achieve nothing sustainable.
    Is it really so terrible for nations to maintain some uniqueness of culture?? How much money does one league need?

  36. DasRundeEi says: Jul 11, 2010 6:29 PM

    So Deb,
    Are you saying then that American (handball) football can be BORING in light of the fact that the ball only 11 minutes or so during the course of game?

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