With the NFL eyeballing a return to Los Angeles and expansion to London, Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed for the first time his preferred pecking order.
“I want both, but it doesn’t matter which one is first,” Goodell told a forum of European NFL fans, via Bill Williamson of ESPN.com.
“You are proving you are worthy of a franchise,” Goodell added.
It’s the strongest statement Goodell has made to date regarding his desire for a team in London. Earlier this month, Goodell tapped the brakes on talk of the placement of a team in London.
“That is not our objective,” Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at the quarterly ownership meetings. “Our objective is to continue the growth of our game internationally. What we are so pleased about is that our game continues to grow and fans want more, television broadcasters want more and sponsors want more. We are responding to that interest in the game because fans want to see it. This is just another step down that path. We are making sure we can bring more football to more people. The UK fans have been terrific. Seeing over 500,000 people the day before the game at a rally is really extraordinary. It is a signal that there is real interest in our game internationally. If it ultimately gets to that point it is a different issue. We have a lot of steps to go before we are at that position.”
There presumably will be a lot of steps before the league is at the position to put a team in either London or Los Angeles. Until then, the NFL will continue to have a presence in London, expanding from two games this year to three in 2014.