Goodell calls a franchise in London a “realistic possibility”


Although the NFL is focused more right now on making regular visits to London, the league may eventually have a team there permanently.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday that he sees continued growth in the NFL’s popularity in the United Kingdom, and it could continue to grow to the point where a franchise is there.

“Every time we give our U.K. fans, and I think this is true on a global basis, an opportunity to engage with football, the fans want more, and the key to our strategy several years ago was to give them the real thing, regular season games, and I think that’s worked,” Goodell said. “I think fans have appreciated that. Every year I go back to London, I see the fans are more sophisticated. They understand the game more. They’re following it more. We expect a big audience will be in the U.K. watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, Monday morning I think their time. That’s exciting for us. We are considering playing more games in the U.K. It’s a balancing act with our schedule. As you know, we’re playing in two different stadiums this year, so that gives us a little bit more flexibility in how we do that, but I believe the future will see more games in the U.K. As far as a franchise, let’s continue to grow. Let’s continue to see that excitement and enthusiasm, passion and support continue to develop. If it does, I think that’s a realistic possibility.”

The league would still have to figure out all kinds of logistical issues before a team in London could be feasible, and a franchise there is several years off if it ever happens. But now that the NFL has finally filled its vacancy in Los Angeles, speculation may now turn to whether a team will move to London.

115 responses to “Goodell calls a franchise in London a “realistic possibility”

  1. The only way this could even be feasible is if there were two separate “world conferences”, the US and Europe. Then the Super Bowl would really be able to crown a true world champion.

  2. I think I’ll finally stop paying attention when I have to watch the Cleveland Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Browns vs the London Tesco grocery store Jaguars at 9:00 AM. It’s only a matter of time before team naming rights are sold and you won’t even recognize the jersey with all the advertising on it. Welcome to the future.

  3. I love football and I love watching it, but with has gone on in the NFL over the last few seasons I would love for it to all come crashing down. There are only 8 home games a year and you want to take that away from those cities, fans, workers and local small businesses?

  4. Just another utterance from this lying, slimeball as he continues to ruin the game we used to know. Greed is the downfall of the NFL and it’s happening right before our eyes. We need a new Commissioner.

  5. Goodall will do what he always does – jam his agenda down other people’s throats.

    Listen up UK, whether you want it or not you’re getting a franchise. To the American players, enjoy the 6 hour plane rides just to get to NY.

  6. Over the last few hours something has been very lacking. Stories of Big John Football.

  7. There is as much chance of London landing an NFL franchise as there is of Johnny Manziel starting for the Browns or any other team in 2016.

  8. Don’t think the NFL should expand to London but if they were THAT would be the time to force two teams into a market. Then the trip for the U.S. teams could involve playing both teams back to back making the travel less onerous.

  9. The time difference between here and the continent would make it horrible. A 4:30pm Sunday start is 9:30pm in London. You could never have the London team play a night game away; it would be cruel to their fans to have a game start at 1:30am their time (8:30 pm in the east). That is start! It wouldn’t be over until 5:00am Monday or Tuesday morning.

    Stick to having a couple Sunday morning games with existing teams going to London and then getting a bye.

  10. Glad to see the liar has his priorities in order.

    No free agent will want to play there and if they do they’ll want so much money they’ll bust their salary cap quickly.

    “Yes if you practice hard enough you can make the NFL someday.”
    — Roger Goodell to a 10 year old girl


  11. Unless airlines are planning on resurrecting a Concorde-like jet liner, this is a very bad idea. Players shouldn’t have to travel the time it currently takes to get there, even from the east coast.

  12. Whilst there’s arguments against, to those who say London is simply too far, you’re wrong. Firstly, these guys don’t fly in cattle class, and in 2019 Virgin Atlantic plan to have a next-gen supersonic business jet in the air, in service 2023, just 7yrs from now! And even with current jets, it’s only 2hrs luxery first-class travel further than going from the East Coast to Seattle, expedited through customs into limos to a luxury suite. Hardly hellish. And London has a state-of-the-art desso field (natural grass but interwoven with artificial fibres for durability, safety and consistency) to play on that puts many current NFL fields to shame.

    My suggestion would be a renewed, separated Europe or World Conference, that maybe 10yrs from now played concurrent with the NFL, and if competitive by then it’s winner gets the lowest (i.e. travelling) seed into the playoffs if it’s record is better than the worst AFC or NFC candidate.

  13. Hey Rog, why don’t you just buy a one way ticket to London, round up a bunch of English billionaires, and start a new league over there. Isn’t it always foggy over there? Geez I’d hate to think that our teams are going to be taking off and landing in the fog all the time. That’s more dangerous than concussions. What about player safety?

  14. As much as I enjoy attending the games over here, the thought of the Jaguars moving to London doesn’t really fill me with much excitement.

    Keep sending three games a year over here, and we’ll be happy.

  15. It’s a realistic fact that nobody wants this, nor does any logical person think this is a good idea. Fire Goodell.

  16. You should see how much a ball will deflate in England this time of year. This soon to be London team should be preemptively fined $1 mil and docked draft picks. John the walking dead Mara agrees, and would also like to add salary cap penalties to his division rivals, just because.

  17. Sounds like he’s negotiating through the media to get some NFL team more tax player money for a new stadium.

  18. Every time I watch a London game the stadium is packed and they ooh and ahh on every exciting play. Why wouldn’t they love the sport if they had their own team? It’s the greatest sport there is. People posting here are too hung up on their anti-Goodell agenda and don’t give the Brits enough credit. The sport would thrive there.

  19. It’s one thing to watch a few games a year but a different thing to buy season tickets and support them. American football will never compete with soccer, rugby, or even cricket. If you ever lived there or spent time there, you would see what I’m talking about.

  20. I would need to do some deep soul searching if I was offended by Roger Goodell, or any human being, to the extent so many commenters are on this site. It’s fascinating to witness the negative obsession they have over a commissioner of a football league–someone who can have no direct impact on their lives unless they allow it. I wouldn’t want anyone, much less a person I don’t know, to have such control over me.

  21. Ugh, imagine the flights for every away game. London at Seattle or San Diego? Forget about it.

  22. How about first address some of the franchises with problems here like Oakland, Tennessee, San Diego, Cleveland to name a few.

  23. sechristbmw says:
    Feb 6, 2016 8:02 AM
    Goodall will do what he always does – jam his agenda down other people’s throats.

    Listen up UK, whether you want it or not you’re getting a franchise. To the American players, enjoy the 6 hour plane rides just to get to NY.
    Dude – 6 hour plane rides to NY detested by players and destroying a team’s fan base by relocation don’t mean anything compared to Roger generating bigger bonuses for himself.
    I still think Goodell would make a great running mate for Trump and NFL fans would want to see him elected so that a new Commissioner could be appointed.

    Trump – Goodell Make America (and the NFL) Great Again.

  24. Roger the reason the London fans are learning more about the game is because Sports Betting is legal in the UK. End the monopoly on Sports Betting in Vegas and stop screwing with daily fantasy and your viewership will double. Every game is more interesting with $50 on the line.

  25. Continue having 1 or 2 games a yr in London. Keep jamming the Jags down their throats, Americans don’t care about that franchise anyway. Give the Mexicans a game here and now as well as the Canadians to promote our game. But no team should be moved overseas!!

  26. Maybe the London franchise can also play all of its games on Thursday nights. Because we all love that so much as well…..

  27. I’ll bet there is no shortage of players who would love to live in London and play football there. They are very enthusiastic about the game there now, and fill Wembley everytime there is a game. That is more than you can say here, about some of the stadiums.
    So what someone says a plane ride from London to NY is 6 hours.
    It’s 5 hours to the west coast here, and they go backwards and forwards all season. Most people here, have never been to London, so don’t talk about something you know nothing about!!

  28. I think a lot of anger is misguided toward Roger Goddell. Nothing gets done without the owners permission, he is just the guy they throw out to face the press and the fans.

  29. I’m British… I’m in the UK… I follow all Minnesota sports through choice… yet even I can see that a franchise in the UK just won’t logistically work.

    First off, the team will almost certainly carry out its entire off season in the US – this includes all but perhaps the end of training camp.

    How are street free agents brought in for a look see going to be covered? This will again be in the US where it is easier to execute. How is this going to affect the team if it’s currently playing a string of games in the UK?

    The League hasn’t had the greatest track record recently regarding the behaviour of some of its players. How can some players who perhaps have been charged or even accused of serious offenses going to be granted permission to travel to the UK – let alone earn a living there?

    Finally, the League will try to ‘force’ season tickets on the UK supporters. While that might work for two or three games a season, try getting that functioning with eight games.

    Maybe if the UK and US build closer political ties if the UK exits the European Union (EU), and maybe if a faster means of transport across the Atlantic can be sourced, then MAYBE a franchise could be successful in the UK.

  30. Looks like the NFL has chosen London to be the new leverage city for the owners to fleece existing cities for better stadium deals. Sound familiar?

  31. Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan owns the Fulham Football Club of London….this is a done deal.
    It’s a new market that can generate plenty of revenue on its own; plus, with other European fans traveling to the games, its a win win for Mr. Khan and the NFL. Only a matter of time. Imagine the 1st Super Bowl out the USA…..will generate absolutely insane $$$$.

  32. Stop doing everything possible to destroy the NFL forever. If you want football in Europe start the damn NFL Europe again, the league needs a developmental league, there might not be 10 decent QBs in the entire league, terrible games on TV every week.

  33. There must be two Londons. Because the one that I was in, in England, had legalized sports betting with a betting parlor on just about every other street corner.

    Considering the millions in legal fees the League has spent keeping legal sports betting out of New Jersey and Delaware, Goodell can’t possibly be considering putting a team in THAT London.

  34. There’s too many cities here in the US that need a team first: Las Vegas, St Louis, Dallas…

  35. Any team in London would really struggle to sign any free agents…players won’t want to go there

  36. Coast to coast, we should start a petition to have goodell relieved of duty…….have an online site where fans can go to vote and submit to the NFLPA to fight for what we have left of what used to be something great

  37. annes22 says:
    Feb 6, 2016 9:53 AM
    I’ll bet there is no shortage of players who would love to live in London and play football there. They are very enthusiastic about the game there now, and fill Wembley everytime there is a game. That is more than you can say here, about some of the stadiums.
    So what someone says a plane ride from London to NY is 6 hours.
    It’s 5 hours to the west coast here, and they go backwards and forwards all season. Most people here, have never been to London, so don’t talk about something you know nothing about!!
    It’s 5 hours to the west coast here…..since when? Some people here have apparently never been to the U.S. so they shouldn’t talk about something they know nothing about.

    And in case it hasn’t been said in any of the above comments: Fire Goodell!!!!!!!!!!!

  38. Gee Toronto, maybe you should have purchased tickets to the Bills in Toronto and the Argonauts afterall. Never hurts to make it look like you actually enjoy the sport of football.

  39. It’s also a “realistic possibility” that people both inside & outside of America will NEVER give a cr@p less about these games played outside the U.S.A. I know for myself, and there are countless others that agree, that I have no interest in watching games played in remote parts of the World. It doesn’t do ANYTHING for the American Fan, and in fact takes games away from the fans of the teams that are relegated to being Goodell’s ‘red headed step-children’, forced to play “in that stupid game overthere”…which is what EVERYONE in America is truly thinking. Frankly, it’s just stupid. The owner’s focus on increasing thier profits when they already have so much money it makes your head swim will NEVER, EVER resonate with the American Football Fan, whose interest in Football will continue to decrease for as long as the League continues to be more concerned about those that aren’t fans than those who are.

  40. I’m sure once all borders have been dissolved there will be a team in London… Until then… It seems like a logistical nightmare due to Visa/Passport issues. Also, I’m pretty sure the NFLPA would have serious issue with American players having to live and work in an entirely different country and send their kids to UK schools.

  41. We have cities in our own country that are more deserving of an NFL franchise. If Roger keeps pushing this, NFL fans should take a stand and there is a realistic possibility he will be out of a job.

  42. UK commentators are much better commentators than their US counterparts. Much more analysis and better observations to give to the audience.

  43. There is tremendous interest in NFL football around the world. The Brits would probably be more discerning fans of the sport than most Americans. Seriously.

  44. as a player…..I don’t know if I would want to play there and this causes a lot of media grief. 50% tax rates and a low standard of living. Not sure this would work.

  45. Mexico or Canada are better options than faraway UK. At least those 2 countries are on the same continent as us. Get realistic and practical, Goodell.

  46. Goodell is delusional if he thinks that the NFLPA will ever be on board with putting a team in London, or if he thinks that the fans think that this is even remotely a good idea. I seriously don’t get the desire to do this. I mean, the NBA has talked about expanding to Europe, but they at least have a lot of European players. Even baseball potentially expanding internationally someday might make sense: again, many international players. But the NFL????

  47. I’m too lazy to check the specifics, but I’ve flown from coast to coast in the US and from NY to London, and I don’t think the flight lengths are that much different. London ain’t exactly located on the moon folks.

  48. If the U.S. fans stopped watching the games played in the UK now the NFL wouldn’t put a team in London. TV revenue rules all else. TV ratings for the Pro Bowl game are going down, that’s the only reason the NFL is looking for improvements. When CBS, NBC, ESPN etc talk the NFL listens.

  49. lgbarn says:
    Feb 6, 2016 9:24 AM
    Just no…no reason for this except greed. Canada…maybe

    Mexico…also a no (too dangerous)

    Mexico is just as dangerous as Detroit or Chicago or any hood most players hang out at off season.

    You do realize soccer teams that are worth more just on player salary (Brazil national team back in the day, Manchester United, Barcelona, Spain’s national team, etc etc.) than an NFL stadium go to Mexico and play.

    Please do a bit of light reading before making comments that are technically true, but don’t act like cities where current NFL teams play aren’t dangerous as well. You would be surprised of the crime rate in some of the US cities compared to Mexico city. Just say’n.

  50. Doesn’t the owner of the Jags already own a soccer team in London??

    Yes, he does. So do the owners of the Buccaneers, but I don’t hear word about Tampa moving to London.

    Shad Khan has made it abundantly clear, over and over, that he likes the annual London game for the revenue but the Jaguars are not moving anywhere. Jacksonville is a small market, and even with a high level of ticket sales, they need the revenue as they continue to rebuild.

    If any of the idiots making the “Jaguars are moving” cracks here paid attention, you would see that the man (and the city) have invested millions in upgrading the stadium, with more to come. You don’t put millions of dollars into locker rooms, scoreboards, fan amenities, free stuff for season ticket holders and all the other plans they’ve announced while you’re also planning to pull up and move across the freaking ocean. Time to stop making moronic comments and pay attention.

    Frankly, I’m waiting for the day the Jaguars’ London trips are over. I want my home games back. They can have all the preseason games if they want.

  51. The greed of the NFL owners has no bounds. If there is money to be made from a franchise in London, you can be sure it’s gonna happen.

  52. pfffffffffffft says:
    Feb 6, 2016 11:05 AM
    There is tremendous interest in NFL football around the world. The Brits would probably be more discerning fans of the sport than most Americans. Seriously.

    Then let them start their own leagues. The NFL is an American game and no NFL team should be put anywhere but in the USA.
    As for ragging on American NFL fans, then explain why there are so many crazies at soccer games around the world? I mean, officials are attacked and spectators die. Those fans are nuts.

  53. Here is why Spygate and Deflatgate exist, folks.

    Two made witch hunts to promote parity against the league’s best team in order to get a fellow AFC team into London to be more greedy.


    Can’t have a mediocre or bad Jax team trying to get off the ground in London, can ya?


  54. I thought there was a team in London. Could have sworn I saw a game between the Patriots and the London Silly Nannies on tv a few years back. They players even did a song from The Music Man at halftime.

  55. Americans, Americans don’t take the bait. In our lifetime there will never be a team in Londium. Until some one invents a teleporter or a vehicle that can travel at light speed there is no chance it’s ever going to happen.

  56. He knows he can’t do it, probably because the players union would have to be on board, and good luck with that. No player born and raised in the US would want anything to do with London. Most can’t stand going there for one game. Imagine half a season.

  57. Wanted a new city to use to extort money from a current NFL city. Applicant must be big enough to project an actual potential to have a real team but not big enough to push back when the city is only used for extortion. If the city does everything, maybe some day they might get a real chance at a team. If their good

  58. Just make sure the team is in the AFC East or the NFC East, don’t play games and force a London team down the throats of another division. London has to the in the EAST of any division.

    The whole idea of a London team is idiotic on its face, but Roger will do whatever he wants to do.

    Also, please pass a rule that NO TEAM can have as part of its stadium agreement a rule that they must play ALL 8 home games at home. Either do that, or allow ANY team to opt out of having a “home” game on the road for any reason at all.

  59. Still don’t think they should but if they do make it two teams and give them a salary cap of 150% of other teams for the first 5 years (and that excess has to be given to the players) to offset the disadvantages of drafting players to play and live at least for a few months in a foreign country.

    Will make the London teams competitive in free agency.

  60. Anything is a possibilty with this commissioner. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he outlawed the pass rush tomorrow. You’d like to think the owners would step in and tell him he’s acting like a 5-year old, but they’re oblivious to the game. As long as the money keeps flowing through the chute they just don’t care.

  61. False. NFL and Goodell are milking Europe for fast cash. Minimally, it would take 4 teams in Europe to make this plan feasible. NFL has already crashed and burned in Europe. London is being played for today’s money.

  62. Since LA is out of the picture NFL needs a new boogeyman to screw current markets. Hence Mexico city game this year and London.

    By the way Goodell isn’t screwing up the league. It is the rich owners that control him. The richest owners run the league now not the old guard who actually cares about the game

  63. Whenever I see a story headline starting with “Goodell”, I chuckle because I know the story will be full of lies. That’s all he knows what to do…lie.

  64. Maybe they should just give NFL Europe another try with a goal of a merger in 10 years or sooner. Here is a crazy idea. Let those teams participate in the NFL draft from rounds 5-7 and then have an additional 4 rounds from 8-12 for just the NFL Europe teams. With solid talent evaluation they could at least lay the foundation to be competitive.

    The key is the NFL would have to pay these players/staffs and not treat them like outcasts over there.

  65. Everybody, I think we got this all wrong. What would be more entertaining then a half full stadium in London once the shine wears off?….and it will pretty fast. Players will be all ticked off about the travel, time change, and don’t forget those big taxes! NFL will pour millions of dollars to keep it afloat and tell lies about how well it’s working, when will all know the truth. We just sit back and enjoy the circus.

  66. They talked about a big market like LA not having a team for so long ….. But what about new york when will they get an NFL franchise

  67. It’s rather pathetic that Goodell is so sold on a London expansion that he is blind to a North American expansion which is long overdue. With Portland, Las Vegas, Ontario, Honolulu, Vancouver, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Orlando, Mobile, Toronto and other cities here able to sustain a franchise that he is still focused on getting into an unsteady European market not to mention the expense fiscally and physically for other teams to go to and from overseas.

  68. I think the Jaguars should move over there.Florida don’t need 3 NFL teams if they can’t have 3 NBA teams.Jacksonville is not built for professional sports like Tampa and Miami.

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