The decision of the NFL to play an ever-increasing number of regular-season games in London will help American football build a following in England. But the best way to spread the oblong-ball virus is to give the youth of Europe exposure to it not as spectators but as participants.
Toward that end, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and his father, WVU athletic director Oliver Luck, hosted a youth football camp in London earlier this week. The Colts don’t play in London this year, but the Lucks have some history in Europe. Nine years of it.
“My father was working for NFL Europe so my family has a strong affinity for American Football on this continent and in this country,” Andrew Luck told NFL UK on Monday, via Colts.com. “I love to come back to both of the countries at least once a year during the offseason to catch up with old families. I still have a bunch of family friends, a bunch of family members that live in Germany so I try to connect with them.”
Luck acknowledged that London lacks the “resources and infrastructure” to grow the sport from the youth level, but he nevertheless was impressed with what he saw.
“We are working on football skills, focused on the offensive side of the ball, quarterbacks and then everyone else who catches the ball, quarterbacks, tight ends, running backs, tight ends, wide receivers,” Luck said. “We’ve got a great group of guys today, a lot of talent, surprising level of proficiency about the game so it’s been good.”
To truly grow the sport, the NFL needs more organized sessions like that one, along with a network of youth American football leagues. Until that happens, English fans will continue to relate most strongly to plays involving the kicking of the ball.
Which could be reason enough to never get rid of the extra point.
[Photo credit: Colts.com]