New report claims NFL commits to London franchise in six years


It’s a movie we’ve seen many times before. A report emerges from a media outlet in the United Kingdom that the NFL will be moving a franchise to London. And the report seems to be, from the perspective of folks who want to see it happen, too good to be true. And then we find out it isn’t true.

The latest example comes from the BBC, which has posted an article online that commences with this bombshell: “The UK will have its own American football franchise within six years, according to NFL spokesman Mark Waller.”

The article contains no such quote from Waller, although he is quoted as saying things that could be viewed as suggesting that a relocation may occur at some point.

“We are in a unique position as a sport because of the way our season is structured — we only play one game a week,” Waller said. “It’s not something other American sports could do.”

Still, the article characterizes Waller’s comments as reflecting a “commit[ment] to a franchise permanently based in Britain.” Which Waller probably didn’t do.

We’ll now ask the league about Waller’s comments. And the NFL undoubtedly will say that Waller didn’t say what the BBC says that Waller said.

UPDATE 3:45 p.m. ET: As expected, the NFL has disputed the report.

123 responses to “New report claims NFL commits to London franchise in six years

  1. Given the crud that the annual NFL games in London have been, getting a whole season might be the only way of guaranteeing that they actually get to see a good game once in a while…

  2. That would be the stupidest move the NFL ever made. The team would be a failure, Any players on the team would be in NFL hell. Jet leg alone would kill the Team.

  3. The NFL needs to give it a rest. No one, either domestic or in the UK, wants to see a London based franchise. Isn’t there other things Goodell could be doing with this time?

  4. I think everyone knows that the British media twists, contorts, blows up, sensationalizes, and distorts things far worse than the American media does.

  5. It’s baffling the league continues to pursue a franchise there despite the fact that, aside from being a money maker, everything else about it screams disastrous mistake.

  6. Eventually you’d think somebody in the media would invest a few dollars into some market research to demonstrate just how ridiculously small the NFL is in England. The Simpsons had higher ratings there last year than the Super Bowl, there was virtually no press coverage of the draft, and you’d get blank stares stopping Londoners on the street asking what the big news was concerning the St. Louis Rams.

  7. love the complaints about the seahawks travel this year regarding time zones. what happens when this team goes 0-16 many times (probably not consecutively).

  8. England will learn what we in America already know about the NFL

    The NFL Commissioner and Owners routinely lie

    … about this, about the cold not deflating footballs, and just wait until they start asking you for hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars

    Yeah – these folks simply can’t be trusted

  9. (American) football should not be anywhere except where it’s played as a youth sport. In other words, for Europe to have NFL teams, they need to contributing to the talent pool as well; and that’s going to happen approximately never.

  10. NO!!! Leave the American game in AMERICA!!! if my Fins go to London for some B/S reason I will be done with the NFL & I’m sure there’s a lot of people with me if their team got moved there too!!! Goodell is ruining this ONCE great league!!! Incase anyone forgot there were 2 European leagues that FAILED!!! STOP THE NON SENSE!!!

  11. International Football League, no thanks. I don’t care about your profits, just good football. I look forward to you all blowing it though in spectacular fashion, I’m also a fan of watching owners do stupid things for money.

  12. Teams would not be best with the travel. Time zones here are 3 hrs. That 8 hr one from the West Coast would be brutal then come back to your own and play. Give the next team you play a jet lag advantage. Go back to the old European league concept and create an EFC (European) to go with the AFC and NFC. There would be NFL in London (and Europe) and the playoffs for the Super Bowl could be structured to a format for three leagues. No team would have to suck up the time delay. Maybe an occasional team travels with the bye week afterwards so ther could still be interconference play.

  13. Dumbest thing yet for the NFL. Very few, if any, free agents will want to go play there, unless they’re paid ungodly money for NFL standards. The logistics will be so ridiculous, it’ll almost be a given that when London is home, they will always win and when they are on the road, they will almost always lose.

  14. England’s taxes are way worse than the worst US state.

    They won’t get any free agents

    If I were drafted, I would sit out or file an anti-trust lawsuit challenging the draft.

    They would be non competitive.

    The NFL greed knows no bounds…

  15. Absolutely moronic.

    Move the Bills to Toronto instead. Just right across the lake and none of that logistical nightmare.

  16. Any team in London would have the best home field advantage. Players hate playing there, none of them can get used to time difference….But the London team would be horrible in away games

  17. What, aren’t there enough untapped markets left in the U.S.? What about St.Louis? Or San Diego if the Chargers move? Or Cleveland?

    Birmingham, AL, is another market that’s in an area where football is a religion. As for San Antonio, it’s been jerked around too often, mostly by a certain jerk. Besides, in this particular case, if you sufficiently compensate Houston and Dallas, they’ll be more than thrilled to have a natural rivalry.

    So, no, London is a stupid idea.

  18. Like people didn’t know this was coming.

    The travel distance from San Diego to Boston is 3,050 miles. The travel distance from Boston to London is 3,260 miles. That’s like 20 more minutes in a plane further than the longest current plane ride. It’s not THAT crazy or outrageous to expect a team to go to London for a week.

    If the NFL is serious about it – they could have their own “To London” airplanes they use which has all sorts of crazy amenities on it for the players, like treadmills, a few hot tubs, whatever guys use to fix themselves after a game. Go all luxury with it since only two teams would be using it on any given week.

  19. It’s not a great idea, but it’s probably not as bad as people think. Have the team headquartered in Boston, players live and practise there, so UK taxes aren’t an issue and the flight time is minimized. Stack the schedule so there are two stretches of four consecutive home games in London. Visiting teams go there after playing on the East Coast, then get a bye the week after.

    It’s do-able, but I just don’t get why anyone would want to put a team there, when there are places like San Antonio that are better able to support one?

  20. mackcarrington says:
    Jan 20, 2016 2:57 PM
    I think everyone knows that the British media twists, contorts, blows up, sensationalizes, and distorts things far worse than the American media does.


    Oh, I don’t know. Have you watched BSPN lately?

  21. laces out says:
    Jan 20, 2016 2:54 PM

    how long until the NFL issues a statement denying it comes out?

    They already did, a couple of hours ago.

  22. Two years ago the 49ers had two road games to the East coast back to back they never flew back to SF (They weren’t in Santa Clara yet).So if you have a London team with 3 road games in a row do they stay in the states for the time? Cubban is right NFL is going to implode…..

  23. If true, that will be the when I stop watching NFL. I have a hard enough time watching with the horrible fantam penalties and baby whinny QBs always wanting flags every time a finger touches them, end of a great sport……sad

  24. No half-decent free agent would ever decide to go to a London team. Uprooting your family to move across the ocean, and then deal with all the logistical headaches of constantly traveling overseas for games? Good luck with that. And as soon as players on a London team reach free agency they won’t think twice about getting back to a team in the U.S. The London team would never be competitive. Fire Goodell.

  25. If true, I agree this is about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Playing games over there is bad enough, but having a franchise located there is beyond the pale. Why the NFL is Hell-Bent on having a franchise in London when the league has so many other issues……well, it simply makes no sense. The USFL stood more of a chance than this does.

  26. I can’t see players wanted to be drafted or signed to a team in London. It would be like 7 Eli Mannings on draft day boycotting them to be traded to another team in the states.

  27. Looks like a fake report put out by the NFL to leverage a move to London from another NFL city. I guess is Jacksonville or Tennessee wants a new stadium or more money.

  28. Just what part in the word “National” do they not understand?
    Or maybe it’s the whole world?
    What is Rodgers address?
    I’ll be glad to send him a dictionary with the word “National” highlighted.

  29. If the comments reflect on what the majority think of this, which is against it and thinking it’s a bad idea, then the NFL should take note.
    But then again, to those inept morons, money is louder than the fans which is how it shouldn’t be.

  30. They must really love the 6AM PT start for London games…

    Hey we can sell ads for 6AM right?

    Yeah… Captain Crunch and Minute Maid Orange juice!

    I think they showed their hand with that experiment. They want four games on Sunday, not three.

  31. For decades, NFL players rode long hours on overnight sleeper trains (i.e., a Pullman Car). For shorter trips (2-3 hours), they rode in busses.

    Nowadays, teams fly chartered jets that are available at their beck and call. For example, the Seahawks, have a 787 Dreamliner that’s expressly dedicated for their use – and it sits in a hanger at SeaTac just for them.

    A non-stop flight from Seattle to London would take just over nine hours. That’s actually less onerous than many of the trips by rail NFL ballers had to use back before the advancement of commercialized aircraft. For instance, a trip from Detroit to Los Angeles in the old days could take over two and a half days by rail (one way).

    I believe it’d add a bit of a challenge, but that people are over-stating it a bit. If the modern player could use those seven to nine hours to study, sleep or relax — what’s the big challenge? They could have personal trainers and be receiving treatment throughout that journey too.

    I’m in the heavy minority, but I would embrace having a team in London – and think it would add an interesting wrinkle.

  32. Love the xeonophobic comment acting like London is the 3rd world.

    Its a beautiful, exciting city and if I was a young guy with a lot of money I would far rather live and work there than Cleveland, Minny, Cincy, Buffalo or a half dozen of the other NFL cities.

    The logistics would be fine. I go to Europe regularly flying coach for work and these guys will be on private flights first class.

  33. The NFL needs a new city to keep the taxpayers paying for new stadiums. LA isn’t an option to use anymore , and no one believes an owner would move to San Antonio ( jerry jones wouldn’t allow it) or Portland. So London is the new LA…….

  34. soldierofhalas33 says:
    Jan 20, 2016 3:27 PM

    If this happens expect a lot of players to act like Eli Manning before the draft and ensure they don’t end up there.

    NFL: You either go to London, or play for the Titans.

    Player: I’ll go to London.

  35. If you go to Google Maps you will see that a flight from London to Seattle will take 9h 20m.
    London to Boston will take 6h 15m.
    Miami to Seattle will take 5h 35m.

    That being said the only way this could even remotely wirk would be for the London team to play 4 home – 4 away – 4 home – and 4 away.

    Playoffs would be a BIG problem.

  36. I’m sure the smell of kippers, chipped beef and meat fruit at the tailgate will be great. Wash it down with a warm ale…….. yea!

  37. Heck, Mexico would be a better fit than London and it’s a bad idea. Canada is ok but that’s it…

  38. This will be a disaster. No one will want to play for them, you’d have to live there for over half the year.

    If you have a family do you move? how would you handle school? citizenship? taxes would be a nightmare.

    You will end of up with people who will refuse to play for them and those that have a no trade to London clause in their contracts.

  39. PURE IDIOCY ! the NFL , Is blinded by Greed ! They will not be happy until they DESTROY the League and Alienate the total fan base !….This move effects ALL of the Players and NFL Teams…..NOBODY WANTS IT !

  40. With LA taken, the NFL needs a new city for threatened relocation. This is all about squeezing money from public funds.

  41. If you go to Google Maps you will see that a flight from London to Seattle will take 9h 20m.
    London to Boston will take 6h 15m.
    Miami to Seattle will take 5h 35m.

    London – LA is worse, 11h 15m
    Also, the Lon – Sea time you give above is Sea – Lon. Going in the opposite direction adds 30 min (prevailing winds go from West to East for flights over the North Atlantic).

  42. There really are insurmountable problems with that idea.

    Work visas, tax issues, long haul flights every week, time zone issues, housing for all those people in the hyper-overheated London housing market just to start.

    This is some NFL bigwig’s wet dream.

    But it just makes no sense.

    None at all.

  43. East coast to London isn’t any worse then east to west coast but west coast or even central US will be taxing. There is no need to go to London. The is no need to make any more expansion teams…we got enough sub-.500 teams as it is. If Europe wants American football they can start another league. We can make the Super Bowl the American title and then make a championship game between the NFL and Europe for a true world champion. The only good thing about a game in London is being able to watch football all day, but it’s not worth creating another crappy team.

  44. If you don’t believe think….NFL can survive in St. Louis, San Diego , Oakland etc
    London supports many soccer teams paying player millions!
    Kiss 1 Superbowl game goodbye cause London will get one. Long term will be a Europe league
    Roger God-ell couldn’t care less about you. Only $$$$$$$$

  45. Why does it matter if there is a team in London? Sure some city will most likely lose their team and that sucks for those fans, but it doesn’t matter one bit to fans of other teams. The team I cheer for has to play the Rams in a few seasons, if the game is on during a time that works with my schedule I’ll watch it, wouldn’t matter if it’s in LA or St.Louis.

    Players will want to play for a team in London. If they have the right agent and representation the opportunities are endless being a “star” throughout Europe. There is a lot of endorsement money that can be made by players that isn’t available to most in America.
    And why would any fan care about the travel time? The owners,league, coaches in the NFL have to worry about it. As long as they broadcast the game it could be played on Mars fans will tune in to cheer on their team. And if it does fail in London, well there will be about a dozen or more cities dying to give that owner and the league anything they want to come back to the states.

  46. Lots of dumb ideas flyin around these days.


    London Jaguars, Toronto Bills, and the Mexico City Raiders

    Lets all relish in the New World Order

    If this was sarcastic then thumbs up, if not…

  47. At first I thought this might be worth it if a Premier League team was then place in the United States.

    This won’t work due to promotion/relegation (no guarantee the team would stay in the Premier League).

    Also, I can only think of one time when a team technically moved. That team took on a new name and the old name reverted back to a new lower level team.

    Keep the NFL here and the Premier League in England. With TV global they can watch from there like I watch the Premier League from here.

  48. “The NFL needs a new city to keep the taxpayers paying for new stadiums.”

    Nope, not in the UK. Premier League teams pay for their own stadiums, the UK politicians aren’t going to pony up for a new NFL stadium.

  49. “Customs has to be a nightmare for the teams that go over to the U.K. (Or Toronto).”

    No its not. I tour in Europe regularly doing the lighting for a band. These countries typically expedite performers and understand they have a lot of equipment with them.

  50. London customs would never allow some of the players in the country due to criminal records.

    I would love to see the reaction the first time some pig ignorant owner and commissioner demands that London council taxpayers pay for a new stadium.

  51. Players will want to play for a team in London.

    Have you asked them? Players aren’t lone wolves. They have families. The players and their spouses will have to be uprooted from their parents, siblings, friends. Their children will have to attend school in another country. For some, that might be a great adventure. For others, it might be considered a hardship.

    And what’s the point? European fans are fans of American franchises. Someone who has been a 49ers fan since the 80s isn’t going to suddenly become a fan of some team the NFL drops into London.

    The World League of American Football was a costly failure, but at least it didn’t jeopardize the leagues primary product. Goodell is a fool. And the owners are trying their best to strangle the goose that laid the golden egg.

  52. thegonz13 says:
    Jan 20, 2016 3:15 PM
    What, aren’t there enough untapped markets left in the U.S.? What about St.Louis? Or San Diego if the Chargers move? Or Cleveland?
    Cleveland already has a team. An embarrassing team, but a team nonetheless.

  53. joetoronto says:
    Jan 20, 2016 4:05 PM
    Just send the Bills already, the Brits will understand they have to start from the bottom.
    A very predictable response, admittedly. Of course, as a resident of the largest city in Canada, and a city that would be the 4th largest in the US, it’s no surprise I’m salty about not having a team for the world’s greatest sport.

  54. The almighty dollar strikes again.
    I hope the NFL loses tons of money if this fiasco comes into fruition.

  55. Deb,
    Yes players will want to play in London. It would still be the NFL, and to those who want to play in the league any team that gives you a paycheck is much better than not having one.
    London is a major world city. If you play in the NFL sometimes you have to move to new cities. You go where there is work. Families adjust. Great thing about family ,they support one another in life no matter what city or country they work/live in.
    Some fans in Europe won’t stop cheering for a team they cheered for in the 80s. But take a sports example the DC/VA market most people were Orioles fans for decades. Then the Nationals came to town and those fans slowly changed because they wanted to support the hometown team. So,yes people can start cheering for new teams,it is just a sport still.

  56. Greedy billionaires don’t understand.
    Two teams in L.A. won’t work.
    A team in London won’t work.

    They’re so rich they don’t like people telling them no.

  57. It’s the Jaguars, of course. Why else would their owner Shad Khan, consent to so many games played over there in London??? It’s obvious he’s trying to establish a market presence for when he eventually moves the team to London for more permanent accommodations…

  58. I just can’t see it….think of it like this, you’re an nfl free agent…would you want to move to London??? The London team would have cheap free agency because not many players will want to go there. High picks would have holdouts….I just can’t see it. If the NFL goes to another country, Mexico and Canada makes better sense because it’s not as far away from The USA. I see the Raiders moving to San Antonio and the Jaguars moving to St. Louis before a team goes to London and this isn’t an insult to London’s market, they’ll make money, but the team won’t be that good due to lack of good players.

  59. The BBC do this all the time they put out a headline statement to lure you in and the article isn’t actually what the headline is saying

  60. Seriously, like anyone will stop watching the nfl if they put a franchise in London, nor will it mean the end of the league. I don’t know if it will succeed or not, but it doesn’t matter if it does or not. When you sit in front of your tv, where the game you are watching is being played is irrelevant. It could be played on the moon and no one would care. So chill, it isn’t your money.

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