Goodell on London franchise: “Maybe”


As the NFL prepares for its fifth annual regular-season game in London, Commissioner Roger Goodell met with the media to answer questions, some of which understandably focused on the league’s future in London.

“The ultimate goal is to continue to expand our game,” Goodell said, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.  “You see from the fans reaction today, they understand the game.  They understand football, and they want more of it.  So our job is to find more football and find more fans.  If we’re successful with that, then maybe a franchise is part of that.”


Regardless of whether a team ever would be headquartered in London (and as I pointed out last night on NBC SportsTalk on VERSUS, it should happen but likely won’t), the league has now found a new source of stadium leverage, once one or two teams are moved to Los Angeles.  As current American venues become obsolete and as NFL teams try to finagle public money to build new ones, the “or else” will be a possible move to London.

Maybe, in 20 years or so, serious progress will be made toward moving a team there, despite logistical issues that will force the London team to overpay for free agents — and which could prompt some draft picks to choose to sit out a year in lieu of leaving the U.S. of A.  Until then “maybe” will work well for the NFL and its stadium-needy teams, especially after the 16-plus years of “maybe” in L.A. finally ends.

71 responses to “Goodell on London franchise: “Maybe”

  1. Stupid idea. Cross country road trips are bad enough. It’s 9 hours to London from the midwest, 11 from the west coast. How can you ask teams to do that?

  2. Im surprised the Buffalo Bills arent needlessly tagged in this story about moving as well. According to the geniuses, the Bears and the Bucs are in contention to move to London since they play ONE GAME there. lol

  3. That would be a asinine thing to do.makes no sense.just bring back nfl europe!! What free agents are wanna go there?? How would the ever be that competitive …nfl football is a american game/ event let those damn foreigners make there own league

  4. Not only do I think a franchise in London is great for football. It’s also great for the worlds economy. I mean could you imagine the stress small business would be in if football was canceled this season? Not all of them of course but I believe a lot of businesses get a large amount of their business on Sunday here in America. Especially small businesses that work with food. If you could spread several teams over Europe it would greatly help their businesses as well. I mean its not a fix or anything but it would be a huge boost imo.

  5. Logistical nightmare!

    The London team will have to do a lot of traveling.

    And who would want to move to London because they get drafted by the team there? I would pull an Eli Manning?

  6. If the NFL wants to expand into other countries then they should look at Canada or Mexico first…

  7. maybe instead of getting bigger you should think about making the existing NFL better. (you did just get through a lockout?) oh a beside europe wouldn’t want a pansy league. fine 40,000 for a hit on another player? wtf

  8. Typical of Roger the Doger. Let’s make more money. Billions are not enough for all these greedy owners that Godell represents. People in England could give a rats ass about American football. Did we all forget about “NFL Europe”?

  9. Great idea!

    Send the Clowns to London. That way Randy Lerner will be better positioned to acquire and oversee more soccer teams.

    His priorities show on the gridiron every Sunday!

  10. There is a drug problem in the league right now, the defending world champions are the root of the problem. Here is a direct quote from one Mike McCarthy:

    “Josh is a very good player but he will have a tendency once in a while to get high,” McCarthy said. “That’s when he gets himself in trouble

    Source is the Journal Sentinel.

    They are all high in Green Bay

  11. So 82% of the people who voted do not want a NFL team in London.. so Goodell will say 18% want one? Why not have franchises in L.A., San Antonio, Oklahoma City or Portland first? Think about the USA first commish!

  12. Kinda hope he goes through with it. The sooner he does, the sooner it can miserably fail and inject a massive dose of rust into his slowly corroding image. Goodell needs to hit the road before he succeeds in turning the league into the NBA Jam style of football he thinks everyone wants.

  13. Give them their own pure European team, made of all “pro bowlers” and have them play either the worst team or the best team from the NFL.

  14. “So our job is to find more football and find more fans.”

    No Roger. Your job is to improve upon the game and the fan experience and not water it down or ship it over seas.

  15. Dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Not only do the British not want a team (only local US military and ex-patriots) but the reality of trying to build a singular team in another continent is idiotic.

    Either this is lip play or ramblings of a lunatic. At what point is it time to look for another commissioner?

  16. I think it is a stupid idea. leave it an AMERICAN SPORT. If they add a European team you will lose me as NFL fan

  17. Being English and living in the USA I have to say the idea is hugely appealing and I have absolutely no doubt the team would be very supported by the fans but it is totally impractical from so many standpoints. The travel alone would add huge expenses and when I fly back and forth it always takes me a while to re-adjust to the timescales.

    To the guy above who uses the NFL Europe as a gauge for interest, you are so wrong. It was not even a second rate game they put on display it was worse than that, what do you expect!!! Yet, it was supported. The interesting thing is when they first started NFL with the World League it was spread across the USA and Europe they changed it to Europe only why, because it was so BAD nobody over here wanted to watch.

    The fan base there would love the idea as I am sure other cities in Europe would be too (especially in Germany) but it would totally impractical to do so. Roger Goodell has a lot to answer for during his tenure, a move to Europe would be one disaster too far in my book.

  18. “If only there was a way people in Europe could watch NFL football without having a franchise.”

    Actually there is I’m pretty sure. I can get Euro based internet sources and watch on my PC even.

    The sad thing is that if they do put a franchise in London, it could get blacked out.

  19. “If only there was a way people in Europe could watch NFL football without having a franchise.”

    It is shown live every single week and has been for years, what the hell are you talking about!!!!

  20. I’m kind of confused as to why possibly merging with the CFL isn’t a better option in terms of expansion if they can’t find any other places in the USA. Especially since those teams already have stadiums, strong fanbases, etc.

  21. dude no one cares in england about american football..they only go because its a once a year type event..thats it..this is a perfect example of people being way to greedy and wanting more money..look if the rest of the world wanted nfl teams they would have come to the nfl and said hey we want american football in our country..has that happened??..i havent heard of it..bottom line they have been talking about this for what like 10 years..and still no team over there..that shows that they dont care..its just a spectacle to them when teams play over there..kind of like wrestlemania..and if they do put a team over there..that team will fold faster than any other nfl franchise and then guess who will look like idiots

  22. Ship Goodell all the way to Timbuktu. I am tired of him ruining the NFL. Fining every hit, fining horse collars and facemasks (penalty flags are enough), fining people for tripping into the legs of players. Soon he will make the superbowl best 4 out of 7 so that it is “fair.” Fine Clay Matthews for wearing yellow shoes, Fine Buffalo Bills for wearing war paint, Fine Troy Polumalu (I hate him but still) for calling his wife to let her know he is ok after his concussion, Make more and more gray area rules. And now you are going to send a team to London?

    It’s about time for an American Revolution to get rid of this damn dictator.

  23. I was in London recently. No American football on TV, no news about American football scores on TV. Get American football on TV over there, and the fans will come. NFL is looking way too far ahead. Unless it’s on TV, it’s little more than a joke over there. As evidenced by them laughing in my face anytime I asked a Brit about American football.

  24. I find it amusing that some of PFT planet thinks that living in Europe for a few years for your job is such a horrible thing. So horrible that they think people would refuse to do it. Maybe shut-ins and the cultural bereft would refuse. Not normal people.

  25. I cant believe how sheltered a life some you lead.

    I would bet a ton of players would love to play for a UK Franchise. It is a chance for them to see another part of the world on their own teams dime. They would be able to visit France, Germany and other countries out there, be the ONLY team in town and be loved by all the American Football fans there.

    Personally I think it is a great idea. Then finally WORLD Champion will actually mean something.

  26. So most of us vote “no” which means, as per Goodell’s interpretation of fans’ desires on the 18 game schedule, that he will interpret this as “HECK YES PUT A FRANCHISE OVERSEAS.”
    They’re having trouble selling out this CURRENT one off game over there on Sunday from what I heard a British reporter say the other day. Surely giving NFL football fans in England, 99% of whom already have a favorite NFL team, a BRAND NEW team will work out just fine./sarcasm
    This is not a knock on fans of Carolina but look at the dynamics there. It’s HUMAN NATURE at work, nothing more. They got a team in 95 and there was excitement etc. but a lot of the locals were already fans of the Redskins, Falcons etc. and their fanbase STILL isn’t strong enough to keep a large cadre of “other team fans” out of their stadium on Sundays. They have some passionate fans, but the fanbase is still young and growing after two decades since the first generation is just now “growing up” as Panthers fans. It will get stronger. Look meanwhile at the Browns. They ALREADY had a strong fanbase so when they lost a team COMPLETELY for 4 years, they dd NOT defect to being Ravens fans. They waited and transferred their loyalty to the new Browns team. HUMAN NATURE as well as stateside examples should tell Goodell and the owners that this will fail. And this is too expensive and uprooting of a decision to do as a “what the heck, let’s try it and see” gamble too IMO.

  27. Okay, you’ll not find a more progressive person than me, and I love that the NFL is trying to expand into an international brand….

    … but MOVE a team to London? Why do that?? Okay so the people of London would probably be fans of the team, but they would only see them for half of the season. The other half would be spent on the other side of the ocean… who is going to root for the London Sillynannies in Philadelphia or Baltimore? And having a team based out of London that could potential have to face teams on the west coast like San Fran, Oakland, or Seattle would be a logistical nightmare for those players.

    A London away game vs San Diego, according to United Airlines, would encompass a 15 hour flight (not to mention all the phasing in and out of timezones that occur). That would be a lousy football team come mid/late season. If you can’t get NFL Europa to work, then just don’t do it. Forcing a London team on the rest of us would only denigrate the quality of the game and force us to watch a team we know NOBODY cares for.

  28. Bangithard

    That is a load of crap, never has McCarthy stated anything. Lose to that.

    Usually people give a link when they cite a source.

    You are irresponsible by not doing so.

  29. Why don’t we concentrate on getting a team in another foreign country, like California (LAspecifically)

  30. Goodell is hell-bent to give us something we didn’t ask for, all in the name of growing the “brand”.

    He risks losing the fan base that made this league what it is today.

    Roger, we go to your steakhouse for a juicy ribeye ….. quit trying to serve us liver.

    We don’t WANT it.

  31. yeah, cause if there EVER was a time to EXPAND its now…
    (extreme sarcasim)
    there are too many teams n all 4 pro sports. How many franchise are in trouble financially? ALOT just worry about moving the jaguars sense they can’t even sell out home games n there small stadium even with half the upper deck seats covered with tarps GOODELL the SNAKE

  32. Second try on this comment (thanks word press)

    Dear Mr. GOD dell,

    Your a moron. Bad idea.


    The Fans of The NFL

  33. Sounds like a logistical nightmare. They would have to abandon the idea of giving a bye after each road game in London to teams because it wouldn’t work in a playoff format. The division with the London team would have a competitive disadvantage against other league teams because they would have to travel to Europe every year.

    Further, what happens if that crazy Iceland volcano spits ash again? There is a great deal of uncertainty here such that the upside would have to be pretty substantial to even consider it.

  34. Damn it, football is our thing. It’s America’s, no one elses. What do you think England would say if the American Government said they wanted a Premier League team? They’d tell us, “Hell No”.

  35. This is about as good an idea as a cricket team in New York.

    It makes no sense on so many levels. Why would you try to push this game in London when…

    1. Your annual games there always struggle to sell out.

    2. The sport has no history or culture in London.

    3. Travel would put that team and to a lesser extent its division rivals at a severe competitive disadvantage. We already know that west coast teams traveling east for 1 PM games suffer for it…how is this not a lot worse?

    4. No one in London is asking for it!

    And in the end, what is the benefit? TV ratings and selling gear in a huge world class city? Is that really worth all this? Gee, if only there were a huge world class city without football closer to home. Oh wait…

  36. My fellow Cleveland fans,
    We already know our owners has a soccer team there. Could this be a conspiracy of all times. Steal the franchise out of Cleveland Ohio after driving away fans with the forever 5-11 rebuilding teams.

    No one thought Art Modell would pick up and take our storied franchise and our super bowl title and hand it over to Baltimore like he did.

    Maybe there’s a reason our owner is consistly absent and hiring people to tell the Cleveland fans how much he loves them, yet he continues to field crappy products since he inherited the team.

    God knows he refuses to speak to us and thumbs his nose our way yet profits from the fanbase. Beware Dawg fans. Someone might have it out to steal our dawg pound!

  37. But seriously, the NFL can’t grow its North American TV revenue much further. And I can’t see overseas companies paying the big bucks for TV rights unless there are local teams that folks will want to watch.

  38. Right now the percentages are:
    Yes: 13.82 %
    No: 82.09 %

    If the 82 % is split by the amount of current teams (32) whose fans are inclined to defend their team, it means that the 13.8 % represent an equivalent of 5 additional teams to be established abroad.

    So, there seems to be plenty of support even if the majority of the American fans oppose.

  39. Well the players probably won’t like to play for London considering that it is across the pond and wont make it easy for them to stay close to family and friends. Just keep having games there! It is hard to imagine that any player would be willing to sign with them and draft choices would be bummed out because they have to get their passports a lot of new stuff because I would think they wouldn’t want to transport most of their possessions over the pond. The top picks could probably afford it, but what about the low end picks or undrafted FA’s? They might be able to afford it from having money previously from working or family, but lets face it you can really afford it by being a top pick or a highly sawed after FA!

  40. Five additional teams in a Euro Division would be fine with me and would mostly eliminate the insane travel factor if there were just one. But the NFL isn’t in expansion mode.

  41. this would not happen until 2021 at least. for the reasons mentioned, they would need to put something in the CBA to ensure players wouldnt refuse. the logistics would suck and might be better in a decade. also, i thought 1/2 the Bucs couldn’t leave the country without informing a judge…

    If the NFL wants to go international look at Toronto or Mexico city. the Mexico City game they did set attendance records and wouls be far more doable.

  42. Some of the jingoists here with their poor grammar and spittle–spraying vitriol make me embarrassed to be an American.
    Yes, down the road it’d be great to have a team in London (or Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle…) and it wouldn’t be the end of football as we know it.
    To the folks who say they’ll stop watching if the NFL goes international I can’t wait to say “see ya!”

  43. It’s not jingoism for me, it’s COMMON SENSE and practicality both of which are a fail under the Goodell regime on just about everything. I ADORED NFL Europe & though it was a good idea in many ways.

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