NFL's London Game an Irrelevant Nuisance

NFL's London Game an Irrelevant Nuisance

There is a sport called football.  It is played, almost literally, in every single recognized country on the whole of the Earth.  So, you know, it’s popular.  It is called football because one only needs two elements to play it: a foot and a ball.  We call it soccer here; an English shortening of the phrase association football.  (American football is, by comparison, the most ludicrously named sport on the planet.  Seriously, where would you rank on the scale of importance in our game?)  Soccer lives on the dirt roads of Cameroon, in the slums of Peru and on the grandest of scales, in the most spectacular of stadiums, in front of the most remarkably entertaining supporters, across the continent of Europe.

Europe.  The seductive beauty the NFL has been trying to penetrate for more than a decade.

Remember NFL Europe?  Of course you don’t.  Asking an NFL fan about the details of NFL Europe is the equivalent of asking an English Premier League supporter about the result of the Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers MLS match.  They’ve got Eric Ripert wrapping their scallops in prosciutto and you want them to help pick your 2-for-$20 at Applebee’s.  NFL Europe was not second rate football.  That would be played in the SEC on Saturday.  It was not third rate football.  That would be one of those games where Georgia Tech racks up 3 or 400 yards rushing and 18 yards passing.  It was not even fourth rate football.  That usually involves Rutgers.  NFL Europe ranked somewhere between the UFL and the Friday night action at that high school from Go Tigers! but contained neither the minor star power of the former nor the atmosphere of the latter.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a sort of manifest destiny approach to league expansion.  He believes this is not only a sport the world wants, but also a sport they need.  Sound familiar?  Needless to say it’s been tried before with political doctrines, religions…etc.  Goodell wants football to be a global game but does not understand, like most Americans, the game’s lack of global appeal.  The experience of sitting through a football game and soccer match, either live or in front of a television set, could not be less similar.  Soccer is a flowing, uninterrupted game of subtlety.  It is called “the beautiful game” because it requires patience and precision of thoughts both from its participants and its viewers.  It is not a better game, by any means, but simply an antithetical one.  Europeans do not want to sit through three plus hours of sport with one hour of commercial breaks.  We don’t seem to mind.  Hell, we give the commercial breaks co-star billing on football’s biggest night!

For the most part, it is not Londoners who embrace this game.  It is either (a) American tourists eager for the experience of watching their beloved team/game on foreign soil or (b) American ex-pats working in the Gerkin who adopted Arsenal upon arrival at Heathrow but have never been able to subjugate their love for the Cleveland Browns.  (I watched the 2003 NFL Draft at a large sports bar near Trafalgar Square with a man who fit this exact description.)  If the British show up to watch the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Wembley it’ll be for the same reason they’d take in the circus there: it’s an interesting thing to look at when it comes around every year.

The NFL’s game in London is an irrelevant nuisance.  It is the act of desperate league (see: that outdoor NHL thing) and not the most profitable sports league in the western hemisphere.  Roger Goodell’s tenure at the top began with a portrait of himself as Football U’s Dean of Discipline, doling out fines like stuffed monkeys on the boardwalk and preaching the sanctity of being allowed entry in the NFL fraternity with the fervor of a Baptist minister.  It has since been marred by April’s draft day boofest and the death of his coveted 18-game season in labor negotiations.  Goodell isn’t losing his power because he doesn’t have all that much power to lose.  He’s the front man for the owner’s band, nothing more.  But if he wants his time as commissioner to be meaningful, Mr. Goodell should spend more time informing referees that all tackles are not illegal and concerning himself with genuine issues of player safety.  He should worry less about giving the Glazers this London game every year and focus on ending the eight blackouts a year in Tampa.  He should find a way to get his television network on the air in the world’s largest media market.

Still the London game continues, extending for the next five years.  And there are event hints that Goodell wants a franchise in England.  Will it happen?  I wouldn’t be surprised.  Will it work?  Did the the Barcelona Dragons outgain the Berlin Thunder in the 2004 World Bowl?

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  • I'll be the first to say that you can sum up your argument, as well as everything else there is to say about NFL outside of North America, by saying:

    Why?

    There's no point, but if the NFL really wanted to expand its worldwide audience, they'd be better off taking games to China and/or India.

  • First!!!!!!!

  • In reply to ChiBears34:

    who in thee fuck are you people who've never posted before and will never post again, trying to get a first.

    I mean for christ sake, if you're going to be that fucking lame, at least actually get the fucking first. dbag.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    MB...youch! who pissed in your coffee this morning..lol!

    now I think a flag on the play is worth the effort, but dragging him out on the lawn and beating his ass like a pinata might be a little harsh..hahahahahahahaha

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Yeah, I know.

    this has happened a few weeks in a row and I'd had enough of the waste of space of it.

    But you're right lobo... wasn't him specifically, just a buildup of silliness.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Who, me?

    I've been here since the blog began.

    I just post in spurts, because I'm often overseas and working on slow-ass connections and prioritizing things other than posting here.

  • I think he was referring to ChiBears34

  • no, not you bleed!

    Although it does look like you need to dust up your blog flow comprehension. Ha!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to MB30SD:

    I've been reading this blog for nearly 2 years and have never posted. But the fact I just spit coffee all over my work keyboard from laughing at this response. I had to give props.

    My hats off to you.

  • In reply to ZZtoph:

    This, pretty much this over and over and over again.

  • In reply to ZZtoph:

    Dude. Two years. And that was the one?

    Welcome.

    We recommend a rubber-based transparent keyboard cover to prevent spillage reaching inner components - particularly for the laptop scenario. When one considers the negligible cost versus prohibitive risk, it really is a no-brainer. Like accepting a first and a second for Carson Palmer. Natch.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to IrishSweetness:

    I know right?

    Totally had to have IT bring me a new keyboard too. Lesson learned. Which is more than JA could ever say. He'd justify the keyboard by saying the number pad on the side works. No Jerry. It's a fucking keyboard not a number board.

    Keyboard that only the number pad works on = Frank Omiyale
    Worthless.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    I think it's JA just fuckin with you!! LMAO

  • In reply to ChiBears34:

    Phweeeep! Flag on the play. False start. Five yard penalty, replay first down.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Who put Omiyale back in the lineup???!?!?!

  • Please let that be a joke. If I read Lovie saying that Frank was injured and he's good to go against the Bucs I will puke a testicle and perhaps two.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Speaking of risk management, perhaps you'd best not read anything about Lovie for a couple of days. The consrisk event consequences are rather high; the reward of reading anything by Lovie much less so.

  • Except that the NHL Outdoor game is AWESOME in every possible sense of the word. Hockey is essentially an outdoor winter sport that has been modernized into an all-year indoor sport. It belongs outside, at least during those months when it can be played outside without the ice melting.

    The NFL does not belong in Europe. It's a weird thing to see an American sport being played elsewhere (I'm still amazed that non-American countries play baseball, but that's another discussion).

    Focus on the things in football that need fixing. Concussions happen, we need to fix that. Refs suck, we need to fix that. Don't worry about the global appeal of the game until you've perfected it at home.

  • In reply to Doshi:

    Excellent points, all--NHL outdoors feels right. It doesn't feel like a slick, polished, mass-media-ready product. But--I imagine, because I never played hockey nor lived anyplace where the sport was popular--I think NHL outdoors is a lot closer to the idea of hockey.

    NFL Europe felt like the opposite--like putting an ice rink outdoors in Florida or Las Vegas, and playing an NHL game there. A spectacle, but not primarily because it's a game and a fun thing to watch--but because there's something novel and different in the presentation. NFL games being periodically played in Europe is worse, because it's a trick-or-treat thing (a treat for the locals, maybe, and a trick for the players).

    I agree about concussions. That is the biggest issue facing American football--now and for years to come. I'm almost 20 years removed from my last game in college, and now when I forget what I went into a room for, or can't find the word I want to use, I wonder if it's just my brain after 40 doing normal things, or if years of whacks to the head and at least 3 honest-to-goodness concussions have done some damage.

    And given that I played fewer years than most NFL prospects (who never make an NFL team), and was blessed with good coaches, teammates, and opponents who largely knew proper hitting/tackling form (and how it doesn't involve leading with one's helmet), I probably have accumulated a lot less damage than most of the thousands of young men who graduate college every year and hang up their cleats--let alone the hundreds of men who strap on 16 weeks a season in the NFL.

    I'll go so far as to say that head trauma is to football what AIDS was to... well, you fill that in for yourself. Without quick and immediate action, once more tragedies like Dave Duerson happen, the NFL might end up going through another court- or government-sanctioned "Murderball"-esque reform.

    And refs always suck. I think the only way to fix that would be robots.

  • nothin' like gettin' up at dawn
    puttin' on the hockey gear
    throwin' your stick on your shoulder
    skates over the other shoulder
    pickn' up the snow shovel
    and walking a mile to the 9th hole at the golf course
    breath thick as fog
    throw your sh-t over; then climb over the fence
    shovel last nights sbowfall of the waterhole pond
    drop the puck
    and don't come back home 'till after dark

  • down the road it will be looked at as the barbaric era
    i think about the way i look at civil war surgery

    they got surgery improved
    what about this
    what are they waitin' for ?

  • In reply to Doshi:

    I once wrote the first and last pages of a novel to be entitled "The Golfer - or - The Coming Of Jay Cutler To The Chicago Bears And The Secret To Playing Golf" where international disputes were settled by golfers representing their countries. By some strange set of events not explained here, the USA cunningly finagles these disputes/wars to be settled by American Football matches.

    Bill Murray would have played The Golfer in the subsequent movie of the smash-hit best-seller, an aging neo-Zen stoner who becomes a world power after he discovers the secret to playing golf after smoking some really good grass and screwing around with a seven iron in his back yard.

    So ... eh ... there's that one.

    I'd love to write an actual book about The Secret To Playing Golf, because there *is* one. Catch? It would only be a page long - with only about two or three lines of actual text.

    And ...uh ... that's another one. Kind of.

    Okay, I'll get my coat .......

  • In reply to Doshi:

    Agreed, the "Winter Classic" is fantastic television and I think it's really helped to bring the NHL into more of a national spotlight. I think the NHL is more popular than it's been in a long time.

    As for an NFL team in London, that's just stupid.

  • Jeff,

    You forgot about the third kind of guys who will embrace the London game. Guys like me, who will take a day off work to travel to London and see their beloved sports (and, this year for me, their beloved football team). Guys who read the Chicago Tribune instead of El País, who watch a Bears-Lions instead of a Real Madrid – Barcelona, who get to bed late on Sundays, etc.

    I don’t agree with you. (American) football is a wonderful sport that has one problem: is it difficult to understand at first. You need time to get your eyes used to it, in my first games (5 years ago), I didn’t see where the ball was, why sometimes the play ended and why not. But, then, I started to connect the dots and suddenly all made sense. You just need time and will to understand the keys of it…like a long term investment.

    I agree with you in one thing: the London game has nothing to do with broaden the fan base. To do that you sell TV rights to European countries and you make sure 1 game a week goes for free (no cable TV) o you invest money in amateur football. You simply don’t go to the closest place to USA you may find in Europe, with lots of expats as you said, and make ZERO advertisement in the rest of the continent. People able to pay 100 pounds for a ticket and spent a weekend in London are only the people who ALREADY LOVE the game, not the ones that DON’T LOVE IT YET.

    And yes, for your guys this is a nuisance, as it would be for me a Real Madrid’s game in China.

    So, yes, I don’t like the London game but I will enjoy it a lot this weekend…donning my Chicago Bears jersey (number 72…not Carimi but the great William Perry) through the streets of London and talking to fellow strangers Bears fans (as I did last year for first time!).

    Bear Down!

  • In reply to SpanishBear:

    You know, you could probably swap "American Football" for "Rugby" and swap geographic names, and what you're saying would be indistinguishable from what American fans of international rugby would say.

    By which I mean that ultimately, some sports are ingrained in the national culture of some countries. Other sports are--and, barring some unforeseen event or development--going to be niche sports, with a loyal (but small) following in far-flung locales.

    The problem is that the NFL thinks it can force that "unforeseen event or development." And maybe--just maybe--it could. But not by having one game a year in London.

    The Montreal Expos playing 20something "home games" in Puerto Rico in 2003 is a good example of how far still isn't far enough to spark widespread interest and a durable following outside of the national market. Maybe if/when the Bills move to Toronto, we'll see the first glimmers of What May Come. But really, absent any dramatic changes, the goofy, piddly-ass, dip-your-toe-in-the-water crap like this one game a year in London does jack-crap for the NFL, and as much as fans like you and others like you get a closer encounter with the game, I think the London games (or the Tokyo and Mexico City games previously) put extra stress on the players and organizations involved, for very little benefit.

  • Love to see an actual NFL expansion team(s) playing in Europe.

  • Well, this seems like a good time to give my two cents…

    Hello, my name is Ronald, long time reader of this site, first time poster. I am born and raised in Brussels, Belgium. I have never set foot in the US of A. And I can assure u, I love me some Bears.

    I am an avid basketball fan forever, and I have been a Bulls fans ever since the Jordan era. First game I saw on tv is game 1 of the 91 finals. Have been following them through the dog years, and still am, witnessing the rebirth.
    Now, since the beginning of the ’00, since lil’ thing called Internet has been making my life much more easy to follow them, and with them, Chicago Sports media. Newspapers, sports radio, everything. Somewhere along the way, the Bears got my attention, and I started following them. I now folloow them daily, through every source i can, and oh btw, this is the best fab blog i've found. Blogfather has a way of firing me up for sundays with his proze. bless you fir that :-)

    Sunday Night football has been a fixture in my life for the past 4 years now. And I wouldn’t miss it for the world, much to the dismay of my GF, who cannot comprehend "WHY ?" (wink wink, I bleed Orange and Navy).

    Now, I could have gone to London. I just decided not to, for personal reasons. Going to the game is still costly, and sometimes in life, you gotta make choices (financial and otherwise). A big part of it was, I don’t want to see my Bears for the first time somewhere random. The first time I’ll see them live, will be the first time I’ll visit Chicago. It will be December, it will be freezing cold, and it will be in Soldier Field. Amen.

    BEAR THE F*** DOWN !

    ;-)

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Classic.

    Very nice Spanish Bear and Ronald bear. Btw ronald, if you can please have a leffe bruin for me while watching the game I would appreciate it.

    Bear down european breatheren.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    hehehe, will do.

    Although, i you can get it where you live, i would recommend a few other belgian beers: Westmalle Tripel, Tripel Karmeliet, and Chimay. From Leffe, i prefer the 'Radieuse' over the 'Brune'.

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Dude, we've had a guy from Belgium reading all along and only NOW does he make an appearance and recommend beers?

    C'mon Man!

    Have you not read our Beer discussions? From now on BXL, u are required to recommend good Belgian beers and treats in all our bearblogs.

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Awesome, Ronald.

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Funny thing is, I'm pretty sure you speak English better than 90% of Americans, and so when you say:

    "And I can assure u, I love me some Bears."

    I can't help but imagine a hairy dude dressed in camouflage, with a Budweiser in-hand and a dead bear sprawled across a picnic table behind him. And the hairy dude is slowwwwwly unzipping his pants.

  • i was going for the T.O. "I love me some me" reference, but i like how you think :-D

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Quite the debut, compadre. Bear Down!

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Belgian monks. 'Palm' beer. Nectar of the Gods as I recall, a younger man, tasting it in Eindhoven. And so it goes.

    Wilkommen. Bienvenue. Howaya.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Palm is good, used to have it in the house. favorite pint of my roommate. I'm more of a Jupiler guy.

    Too much to choose from in BE, there's a book coming out this week, encyclopedia of all belgian beers. There's 1132 beers, from 178 breweries. We're a country of 10 million people :-D

    cheers!

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    And then there is the Delirium Cafe in your city, a bar with 2.000 beers, no? Unbelievable!

    Last weekend I was in Antwerp in a show and Dan Andriano (singer of Alkaline Trio, from Chicago!) said that belgians beers shouldn't be allowed to be called beers because they have too much alcohol (he was drinking Jupiler).

  • In reply to SpanishBear:

    Nice!

    yeah it's called the Delirium Tremens, after the beer with the same name. And right on the other side of the street, Floris Bar, a bar where you can have hundreds of absynths, whiskeys, vodka's. Definitely a good place to start a bar tour in BXL :-)

  • In reply to BXLBearsFan:

    Love Delerium Tremens...little pink elephants on the bottle, which it makes you see after a few...

    It's a good "Getting a girl drunk without her even knowing" drink - it taste good, and gets the gals more frisky with less pissing than Coronas or Stella...

    If you're so inclined...

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    It's a good "Getting a girl drunk without her even knowing" drink ....

    Heh heh heh.

  • Jeff, you may by and large be right, but I just have to say in my international travels I've found many a native Bear fan.

    As I mentioned in my Amsterdam story for example, I found a sizable contingent of locals at the sports cafe/bar very much into the NFL. Invariably that seems to mean a good fraction are Bears fans -- one of the maybe half dozen teams with the tradition and history to have global appeal.

  • In reply to Michael L:

    Watching the Bears in a brown cafe. Yards from the 'food street' and Nigerian hookers. Could life be any more perfect?

  • Mixed feelings on this blogfader...

    1. LOVE OUR FANS ACROSS THE POND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bear Fans Everywhere!!

    2. I think the idea of having a game in another continent is great for diplomatic and generally good feelings.

    3. The idea that it will manifest itself to teams outside the US is ludicrous. Wake up Goodipshit!

    4. Now saying that, had the chance to see the National Rwanda team play here in rural New Mexico and it was great! That's it plain and simple. Brought the family enjoyed the game but don't expect it on a weekly basis.

    my .02

  • The Proverbial Hook on Sexy Rexy!

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d823432ee/article/shanny-makes-the-switch-beck-in-grossman-out-for-skins?module=HP11_headline_stack

  • To clarify:

    The whole exercise of NFL games in Europe is worthless. Bad for players, bad for teams, bad for fans. The only beneficiaries are airlines, expats who happen to be in the right place at the right time, and broadcast partners abroad. I can't imagine the NFL makes any money on the games themselves, and I don't think that there would be too much of a bump for NFL merchandise overseas--that is, I don't think the games increase merchandise sales overseas.

    NFL Europe is a bit of a different thing, in my mind. The NFL was really close to coming up with a minor league system. New rules could be field-tested, and embarrassments swept under the rug. Thus, NFL Europe was what the CFL isn't--a lower-tier laboratory and training ground for the NFL The CFL isn't and will never be a good minor league system for the NFL, because they have goofy rules differences and the season overlaps with the NFL's too much; the Arena League is the same way, plus the added problem of the financial solvency of the league and individual teams.

    But back to NFL Europe. I liked it. It was a good idea, and the NFL could've and (IMO) should've kept it. Of course it would never be a money-maker; it's absurd to think a minor league sport is a net revenue generator--minor leagues support the major league structurally, while being financially dependent on the major league. The big mistake the NFL made with NFLE was thinking that it could be a revenue generator--for all the reasons you listed, blogfather; the smaller mistake the NFL made was how they marketed/promoted NFLE games in the US.

    [DEEP BREATH]
    Here's a model that might work better:
    -Call it something distinctive--doesn't matter how awkward, so long as it distinguishes the league from every other American Football organization out there. Maybe "America Football - World League," which I'll use in acronym form (AFWL) from here on.
    -AFWL season to fill in the dreaded Pro-Bowl to mini-camp doldrums: Feb 1 to Memorial Day.
    -Divisions based on home cities: New World, Europe, Asia, Oceania. -Four teams per division. Possible home cities: Mexico City, San Juan (PR), Buenos Aires, Rio de Janiero (New World); Dublin, London, Barcelona, Berlin, Madrid, Prague, Istanbul, Kiev (Europe, duh); Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Seoul, Shanghai, Beijing (Asia); Singapore, Jakarta, KL, Tokyo, Sydney (Oceania). This "worldwide" aspect is a logistical hurdle--and I'll explain below* why I think it should be worldwide and why some cities/countries are included--but the biggest thing to remember is that this league is going to lose money, and so decisions about building fan bases and international TV markets and merchandising shouldn't enter into the conversation.
    -The New World and Europe divisions are in once conference--called something generic, like "Gold"--while the Asia & Oceania divisions go into another conference (let's call it "Iron"). With the exception of the first week and the final week of the regular season, and the championship game itself, there are no inter-conference games. Just for sake of minimizing ridiculous travel.
    -The four division winners make the playoffs. If a team finishes second in the New World division, but has a better record than the winners of any other division, tough. This league isn't about fairness or heaps of glory--the playoffs are quick, simple, and as painless as possible.
    -All playoff games (including championship and tie-breaker games) are held at neutral sites--cities where the league wants to promote interest.
    Teams play games every other week, with half the league's games on any given week--that is, teams 1-8 play each other in Week 1, then teams 9-16 play each other in Week 2, then teams 1-8 play each other in Week 3, etc. Games are scheduled to air as close as possible to early US prime time Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. I'll explain this reasoning below, too**. But the end result is that the staggered schedule gives teams time to travel, adjust to new time zones (and climate), practice in new locations, and do promotions & community outreach in these new locations.
    This last point goes to my main reason for the whole league: it's not about spreading the NFL brand. It's about keeping current NFL fans involved in the game year-round, and incorporating geographically widespread territories and peoples into the NFL's world--which, from a marketing standpoint, means tens of millions of dollars of free advertising (particularly through the internet). There might be the minor side effect of increased local interest in American Football in places around the world, and there might be the opportunity for American Football to get a toe-hold in the three hottest regions for economic growth in the 21st century (India, Southeast Asia, and China), but that would be gravy. The meat & potatoes is the minor-league aspects of the AFWL.
    To wit: the team rosters are comprised of NFL-eligible UFAs, as well as the equivalent of each NFL team's "practice squad." That is, NFL teams would have an expanded practice squad set of players (say, 8 players of any position, plus 2 slots dedicated to QB) that they would place on their affiliated AFWL team. 32 NFL teams > 16 AFWL teams, so each AFWL team would be "shared" by two NFL teams--I'd say it'd be easiest to assign one NFC and one AFC team to each AFWL team. Thus, each AFWL team would have a roster of 20 "NFL" practice squad players. After a season or two, AFWL would hold open tryouts in countries/cities around the world, and reserve 2 roster spaces for locals, but the rest of the team rosters (~30 players) would be UFAs and unsigned NFL veterans. Flat pay scale for players: $100K/season, with a 1% bump per game the player was active on an NFL roster. Players get a room & board living allowance in addition to their game pay, and the living allowance is indexed to the cost of living wherever they are located.
    Game rules are identical to the NFL, with a couple exceptions. The first is a MAJOR change: the AFWL is a "light-contact" league--no tackling, no initiating contact with or to the head or shoulders, and no contact below the waist (except if a player is leaping). This change is for three reasons (and a possible fourth): 1) Safety. Especially in a minor league, you don't want to subject (lower-paid) players to significant injury--especially potentially accumulative damage like brain trauma; 2) Appeal. Not just to foreign/local audiences, but to visually and conceptually differ the game just enough from the contemporary product to make it different. Light contact potentially means a faster game, higher-scoring, more innovative as teams look for strategies to score and defend that don't rely on hitting; 3) Readiness. Less contact means that players don't have so much wear & tear on their bodies, and thus can transition more easily to/from the NFL; (possibly) 4) I would argue that at some point in the next decade or two, the NFL will have to drastically change in this direction anyway... might as well test out what American Football looks like without the heavy hitting.
    The second change would be mandatory safety equipment for every player--but, since heavy contact is out, the equipment will be a bit different from the NFL: no hard-shell plastic helmets or shoulder pads. Back to the mandatory equipment--for example, every player will have to get one of the top-of-the-line specialist-fitted mouthguards, and it'll be a 15-yard penalty if you're on the field without one. Strict safety rules & 1st-rate equipment will keep the AFWL from being a gladiator league of broken parts and spare bodies for the NFL, and if the NFL owners and/or NFLPA refuses to mandate changes for the improved safety and health of NFL players, well, maybe they can be shamed into it by the AFWL rules and/or players will voluntarily adopt and use safer equipment due to exposure to it from the AFWL.

    So, long story short, bring back the NFLE in a modified form, but remember that any such "minor league" isn't about generating revenue or expanding a fanbase--it's about supporting the NFL and keeping your (current) fanbase excited/involved in what would otherwise be an "off-season," while at the same time introducing and experimenting with innovations and ideas that might find resistance in the NFL. As a side benefit only, you might get fans abroad interested in both the minor and the major league; you might get some revenue from merchandise, ticket sales (though I'd argue for making admission to the actual games abroad so cheap that every stadium is filled for every game), and broadcasting, but you'd reap a lot more benefit from the publicity that would be generated world-wide during what was previously the NFL's dead season.

    * I threw out a bunch of names that might or might not work. I'd tend toward cities with higher standards of living, and ideally in climates where practicing and playing football from January-June isn't going to be a burden. I think any of the NFL Europe cities are good choices--I added Dublin because I know Ireland has had rocky economic times and is small enough that a AFWL franchise might contribute significantly to the local economy, plus there are a lot of non-Irish in Ireland right now, and that might make the basis of a local fanbase. Outside of Europe I was picking cities out of a hat. Dubai is almost ridiculous for the climate/environment, but is otherwise a no-brainer: the city/state is begging for a sports franchise. India is a growing economy with 300+ million English speakers; a lot of young Indians get degrees in the U.S. and could help a team or two of "real" American Football thrive. Go back 30 years and see how many Chinese people knew anything about basketball; 30 years from now China could be a bigger market for the NFL than the U.S. is now. SE Asia is a crapshoot in a lot of ways for trying to establish a minor-league American Football franchise, but I think it would be very worth a shot at siting one in Australia--and without SE Asian rivals, that Australian team would be very isolated.

    **Scheduling games wouldn't be the nightmare it once might've been. First, computer software and algorithms have gotten good enough that you can plug tons of restraints in, and an optimal schedule pops out. Without worrying about existing rivalries or quirks (i.e., networks not wanting two "dogs" playing on prime time, or not wanting to schedule a "marquee match-up" against the World Series, etc.), you'd just want to minimize travel and schedule around any known weather (e.g., monsoon in late May) or religious/cultural issues (e.g., it'll take a few more years, but Ramadan will eventually coincide with the AFWL season).
    Since every team would have an "extra" week off between games, you wouldn't have to worry too much if a team had a Monday game following a Thursday game (11 days between them) or a Thursday game following a Monday game (17 days between games).
    Putting a game on TV (ESPN Ocho would probably be open) Monday-Thursday every week from February to the end of May would mean 16-17 weeks of football. Populating the teams with players that can and would show up on your favorite NFL team's roster by minicamp would give NFL fans a stake in watching. Putting the games on during US prime time would give the most flexibility for local scheduling (i.e., morning games in Asia; noon-ish games in Europe; night games in the Western Hemisphere), and unlike the old NFL Europe, you would know that on any given weeknight, if TV sucked, you could always flip over to see a live game.

    I know, I know. Too long.
    This is what happens when you get use of your arm back after an injury and it's a lousy rainy day outside.
    But to reiterate: playing NFL games outside of the US is stupid; NFL Europe failed because the NFL wanted it to become a self-sustaining business; establishing a "minor league" of teams outside the US has merits for a lot of reasons.

    Come to think of it, you could do just about everything I proposed, cheaper, if you just did it in the US--though you'd have to keep it in warm-weather states. You'd lose out on any establishment/growth in worldwide fanbase, revenue, and broadcasting, and you'd lose a chunk of free publicity, but you'd probably save a butt-ton of money on travel and establishing operations in 16 foreign cities.

  • IBNO...How long have you been thinking this fucker through? Holy Shit bro...Get a hold of Goodipshit asap!

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    *hangs head*

    This is what happens when you type 70+ wpm (when healthy) and you're thwarted in doing other things.

    I'd start my own blog, but that would probably be the beginning of the End...

  • wow bleed... so have you been thining about this at all since NFLE went down the tubes.

    Kudos, I agree that NFLE was a great thing and I was very sorry to see it go (loved the barcelona dragons). I like your ideas a lot, but it would take shitloads of money and management, but would love to see something on a smaller scale again... a reawakening of NFLE would be good enough.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Yeah.
    The things I liked about the NFLE, in order:

    1) Some innovation/out-of-the-box thinking when it came to team names/mascots/colors. [As an aside, I go to academic conferences and there's a running joke at one, where there's always a "Wildcat" party... because there are so many schools with Wildcat mascots that if you invite "Wildcats" you're bound to have a huge turnout.] It was refreshing to see NFL-style uniforms & NFL sets/formations running NFL plays... in new places with novel looks. And it wasn't like the "angry" version of the Arizona Cardinals, or some new stripe added to some team's uniform.

    2) Football on TV in the off-season.

    3) Football that was connected to the NFL. JT Sullivan, as mentioned by someone else--hey, he's a Bear! Oh look at that other player! How would he do on the Bears? And it's not like I'm watching some college player who's excelling because he's in an SEC school and they're hosting a Div-III cupcake, or he's a RB in a wishbone offense... this looks like pro football!

    4) During the broadcasts they'd inevitably discuss the actual NFL.

    5) The game locations and (sometimes) the game audiences were fun to see and listen to.

    Ultimately, it would probably never work, because (and I should've noticed that I said this at several points already) it would lose money. And for some reason, the NFL doesn't understand that losing revenue isn't always a bad thing. Grocery stores understand this; business that bleed money from franchises in new markets understand this. But the NFL wanted NFLE to turn a profit, and that wasn't gonna happen for a long, long time.

    The USFL was fun to watch. Having the USFL season during the NFL off-season was the big thing the USFL had going for it. And there's a reason why the Arena League flounders so much: it's too different from the NFL, so people don't see it as being "football" the way they know and love it. Well, that and the fact that it's hard to get into a league when teams are often moving and on the brink of insolvency. And don't get me started on the XFL.

    Bottom line is that football fans love the game, and want to watch it being played at a high level, and--especially when they're fans dedicated to one team--really like seeing some connection between their favorite team and anything else. E.g., if/when Indy is 0-12 and leading the race for the 1st pick in the draft, I'll bet dollars to donuts that Stanford games will get very high ratings in central Indiana.

  • One thing that would be really helpful, IMO, for international appeal is to speed the game up. Specifically, no TV timeouts.

    American Football broadcasts are about 94% dead time*, and for fans used to a game with far less it's just ridiculous (soccer has more than you might think, with dead ball situations, but it is almost certainly no more than about one third of the time).

    * This reference backs up what we already know about NFL football, and is actually rather interesting in its own right: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704281204575002852055561406.html

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    Before the Interweb, I used to enjoy listening to the games on AFN shortwave, the signal phasing in and out - noramlly when the BEars were about to kick a game-tying FG or some such crucial moment ... and the announcer saying "Please pause for station identification..".

    And ... uh... so there's that one.

    {Irish ! NO! Stop writing crap anecdotes! It's half past midnight and you're up for immigration in the morning! Piss off!}

    Okay. Sorry.

    Just hearing "Have you got sunken arches? Has working in the military given you that sunken feeling ...?" -

    {Irish!}

    Sorry.

  • In reply to SC Dave:

    the big difference, dead ball situations don't stop the clock. a game is 2x 45min. Never has a game that starts at 8PM lasted longer than 10PM, and that includes halftime (around 15min) and extra time for play stoppage (injuries etc.)

  • All I can say is WOW! You have to get the longest post award!

  • IBNO. Dude. I'm gonna put in for some annual leave, take a few days off, and I'll get back to you on this. In the meantime .. .doing meth isn't big or clever. Be careful man.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Holy cripes. I think dot.com startup business plans are about a third of that long.

  • Irrelevant? We can go 4-3 here. Nuisance? Certainly for the team, the time zone could affect them. Hopefully Lovie's decision on a late flight wont cause us to be flat. For most US based Bears fans though, it really makes no odds. Its an away game, you'll see it as an early game as part of a usual Sunday. The main difference on the TV is that it will be played under flood lights.

    I run the Bears fan club for the UK. We're not huge numbers, because it is as you saw a minority sport, but are a seriously committed few. And this is a good article, even if you left us as a group out. We're neither ex pats or those looking at the circus. I agree with the idea that a foreign regular season game is daft and pointless, apart from a money standpoint.

    When the first Wembley game was announced it made no sense to me, it really isnt going to become anything more than a minority sport. As fans, we'd have been happy with a preseason game like the American Bowl used to be. European franchise would make no sense either. Existing fans have their own teams and i for one wouldn't change Navy and Orange for anything else.

    This weekend i don't care about any of this though, i will see the Bears with a couple of hundred bears fans around me. We'll (hopefully) see Devin Hester explode and return it to the house, Peppers moving stupidly quickly after the QB, Urlacher speeding all over the place and Peanut punching the ball out (maybe even from the top again).

    Any of your readers that may be in the game are welcome to join us on Saturday night for Beers and College Football at the Famous Three Kings pub in Kensington.

    Beardown

  • In reply to beardownuk:

    Hi,

    What time are you starting on Saturday?

    I don't know if I can make it but I'll try...

  • Funny Conte interview --
    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/8273321-606/sports-life-with-bears-rookie-safety-chris-conte.html

    Thayer's PotW is the safety --
    http://www.chicagobears.com/multimedia/index.asp?mm_file_id=2631

    Interesting defensive play design there. Looks like single safety (reeeeally) high, with man-under, and rushing 6 (Urlacher and Roach). The NT loops around the C, Idonije cuts inside to push back the G, and Roach rushes with contain principles to turn the T out... leaving a giant hole for Urlacher to rush right in to the QB. Nice design.

    Only thing is that Paea burns the C so badly, and easily cuts away from AP's pathetic block attempt that he actually gets home a split second before Urlacher. I think the play design is just meant to occupy the center and beat him enough to force the RB to scan-block and commit to the wrong side so Urlacher gets a true free run, but Paea just outplayed his responsibility.

  • I in fact attended the final NFL Europe World Bowl in Frankfurt in 2007, where I watched Bears' QB JT O'Sullivan (on allocation), the league's Co-Offensive MVP, come up short against the Sea Devils.

    The place was packed, the crowd was rowdy and invested, there were more (albeit barely) Sea Devils and Galaxy jerseys being worn than NFL teams, the pre-game festivities included a dude on a rocket pack and the halftime show was Meatloaf. Say what you will, but that ruled. (Cept of course for that part about watching a Bears QB come up short in the championship game twice in the span of 6 months.)

    I think the greater problem with getting Euro fans would be the broadcast teams. When Jeff and I watched the Raiders/Bucs super bowl in London the color man was "Kiss from a Rose" singer Seal and their man on the sidelines was MC Hammer. Seal was billed onscreen as "Bucs fan" and MC Hammer's sideline commentary consisted solely of "Raiders fan" Hammer talking trash to him. It was surreally brilliant but not something that I would think ensnares unsuspecting Brits into the sport.

  • Couldn't agree more, Blogfather.

  • I totally agree Jeff. What a waste of time, money and effort frankly, to try and get Europe to embrace American Football like North America does. It’s ludicrous. I wish the league would concentrate on other things like health care for ex-players that are having significant problems in their later years. Look at William Perry as a big example. Of course that is a whole different issue.

  • Seems we have more coattail followers:

    Haiku Blog

  • In reply to Doc Nitty 34:

    And not a mention of your coat-tail stamping as #2 bitch on the Yahoo picks league. Who are your four for this week Doc ? And no 1/12 shots please. There's still a dull aching in my balls from Sunday.

    LEFT SIDE OF THE ENDZONE DREW! HOW COULD YOU NOT SEE THAT!

    Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    I'll look into it, Irish. I haven't fared as well the last few weeks, though.

  • In reply to Doc Nitty 34:

    Thanks bro. Haven't seen the prices yet, but I'm feeling SD over NYJ, Det over ATL, CAR over WAS, OAK over KC, and NO over IND. Anybody get any vibes on those games?

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    I'm calling a mid-season motor city melt down Irish. I recommend steering clear of Detrot when matched up against desperate teams with talent. Carolina is a loser's bet, Oakland over KC all day long, Saints plus a bunch over Indy. I don't think SD will beat the Jets on the road, just saying.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Wow, thanks BD. Carolina have to win one sometime - do you think Rex starts? I haven't seen the Jets play, really think they can do the Chargers?

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Been trawling the SB Nation blogs. ATL have a terrible defense by their own fans' admission and a bad OL. Not good when you're up against Stafford-Megatron. Detroit 8/15.

    NYJ - A a 3-3 team coming off a 24-6 victory over a bad team. The Jets are 11th in points scored, 29th in overall yards, 23rd in passing yards, and 31st in rushing yards. :( On the other side of the ball Jets are 11th in overall defense, 5th against the pass, and 28th against the run. Brian Schottenhiemer sucks as an OC.

    SD - Chargers have only come up with 5 turnovers, the Jets? 13. Chargers are 4-1 against the Broncos, Dolphins, Vikings and Chiefs.

    Pass.

    Saints are too short a price to back

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Note - The Skins fans on SB NAtion are idiots. They don't know what defense we play and think Carolina are the best D we've faced this year. It's funny how certain teams have knowledgeable fans who go all poindexter with their stats, and then you have momo Skins fans.

  • Hmmmmm.

    Short term, we don't have to play the Bucs in Tampa. Neutral ground. As MB would say, net net, that's pretty a good situation. One less away game. Long term, one game a year is no harm - European fans get the chance to make a trip to a good city and see their teams play in the flesh. Seeing a pre-season Bears team play the Steelers in a mostly empty stadium in Dublin was hardly a thriller for me (no atmosphere and we lost), but I'd love to have the chance to fly to London and watch an actual regular season game in a semi-lively atmosphere. So would lots of fans. The NFL is sharing out some of their pie, good for them, I welcome the effort.

    Will it expand the NFL fanbase one iota? Will it fuck. People don't start watching American football because there's a game in their backyard. Most of the locals will be slightly amused by the Yanks and their silly stop-start game played by steroid-taking homosexuals wearing big girly pads and helmets. Comments will be made about their lack of toughness and how Rugby League players would make mince meat of them. There may be a short reference to the game on television with a knowing smile from the newscaster, segued into the weather report with some silly clip of a football blooper or a man in a Bear suit with his paws around a couple of nervous looking children. No one gives a flying beetroot about the NFL except those of us that breathe it in like oxygen everyday and nearly spew their morning coffee when they see that Carson broke out of Dodge City and is headed off to the Wild West.

    Nah, full marks to the NFL for making an effort, but the old countries don't and never will do grid-iron. I've seen Navy, Army, Boston, West Point all do battle in a town that didn't give a shit. Boston seemed to bring all of their fans, that was semi-fun and you couldn't hear people fart twenty yards away. Ted Kennedy was sitting behind me and that's all I remember from any of those games. There were even less folks at the Bears-Steelers game. It's a corporate affair, an expensive advert, and an ever-so slightly amusing aside for the locals.

    They say soccer is a gentlemanly game played by beasts. Rugby is a beastly game played by gentlemen, and gridiron is a beastly game played by beasts. I fucking love football - best sport on the planet - and if the rest don't get it, their loss.

    Even though the Bucs held on against the team that hammered us, the Saints shot themselves in the foot at the end. If we continue the smarts we have called-for and finally got against Minny, I smell a victory .

    Bears 27-17.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Most of the locals will be slightly amused by the Yanks and their silly stop-start game played by steroid-taking homosexuals wearing big girly pads and helmets. Comments will be made about their lack of toughness and how Rugby League players would make mince meat of them.

    http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20091228104706AAVkCrc

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Are you Bumpkin? Why do people take posts like that seriously? It's like 80% of the world doesn't understand sarcasm.

  • In reply to Doc Nitty 34:

    No, I'm not. It's a troll question, I just thought Irish would get a kick out of that.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Ha, I love it.

  • O.K. can I say that I expressed this it what Cutty needs to do:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/900755-7-adjustments-mike-martz-chicago-bears-must-make-before-its-too-late/page/2

    from this article:
    The next time Martz calls for a 7-step drop, Jay Cutler should just punch his offensive coordinator as opposed to dropping the F-word. Maybe he'll get the message.

    now he said punch him I suggesting beating his arse like a pinata..and as for the F bomb..I would be dropping that with other superlatives....as long as Martzy gets the point! hahahahahaha

  • Hockey used to be a sport that was popular only in Canada and the northern third of the U.S. Now, it's popular across the U.S (although I don't think any SEC, Pac-12, or Big 12 schools field teams) and Europe, as evidenced by the number of good players from Scandinavia and eastern Europe playing in the NHL.

    Basketball used to be a North American sport. Now, it's played around the world, thanks in part to the marketing folks at the NBA, as well as Nike and other shoe manufacturers.

    Although baseball isn't popular in Europe, it's very popular in Latin America and the Far East.

    So, you have to expect that the NFL to try to expand interest in American football beyond the U.S.

    Of course, if Canada still chooses to play Canadian football with players that are either past their prime or not good enough for the NFL, one has to wonder if anyone outside of North America will have any interest football as we know it.

  • In reply to ckfred:

    Expand your markets. Corporatism. Rockefeller started and funded the feminine revolution so that they could tax the other 50% of the population.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    http://www.nps.gov/pwro/collection/website/rosie.jpg

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Exactly.

  • In reply to IrishSweetness:

    Feminist revolution even ...

  • Well Jeff, it seems our overseas Bears fans take issue with your schpeel. You inadvertently contributed to Goodell's grand design of Europa Pigskin by offering up such an uninspired perspective on the matter. Viva La Football.

  • In reply to BigDaddy:

    Que Viva! trac!

  • The only time I ever called a sports talk show, it was on the Score, and I called to say Hockey should be outlawed south of the Mason-Dixon line. Dallas and Phoenix and Nashville should not be allowed teams.

    I got run.

  • Uh oh. ChiBears34 is really Jerry Angelo.

  • With that logo, how could it have failed?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NFL_Europe_Logo.svg

  • In reply to gpldan:

    GP.................ppppppppppppllllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssssseeeeeeeeeeee.

  • One thing the U.K. Does not have is this guy..and my gut says they want to see him do his thing:

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/How-did-the-Bears-get-Hester.html

  • Beck over Rexy. Haha.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    yep...poor sexy rexy and neckbeard..The Rodney Dangerfield's of the EFL...ooopss I mean the NFL...

    hey maybe the can be our ambassadors for the new EFL as QB's

  • Ladies and Gents...The soon to be L.A. BiQueens!!! HHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAA!

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFL-exec-hints-Vikings-could-leave-without-new-stadium-deal.html

  • Read on Blogfader:

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Goodell-says-multiple-teams-want-home-game-in-London.html

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    from the previous article

    this maybe the missing link:
    where the Glazers, owners of the Bucs, also own the professional soccer franchise Manchester United.

  • ooppsss:....my bad.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-bears-fan-apologizes-to-hester-for-casino-incident-20111019,0,2344447.story

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    He must have learned this apologizing trick from our Presidents.

  • CUTTY aka the new MAD MAX:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-cutler-on-martz-incident-20111019,0,7621741.story

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    Props to Cutty.

  • Just because people love to eat trans fats and deep fried death on a stick shouldnt we still try and regulate some of that as well as introduce people to healthier eating? I mean I'm sure they love that horribly simplistic and childish game called soccer but we are bound by duty to help these poor souls out. It's the noblesse oblige

  • +10 Blog points for Noblesse Oblige drop

  • VIP on the Swole says:

    "Sheeeet, man, can I help it if they all motherfucking midgets? No. I cannot. I gotta pop 'em, and so I pop em in the head. "

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-meriweather-nfl-going-too-far-in-illegalhits-crackdown-20111019,0,1770418.story

  • Allow me to share my views on the london game:

    For people like me, it is a god send as it gives me the opportunity to see a live game. Yet I have never been. As close as this game is, the outrageous cost of the getting there is a joke. Minimum of £70 a ticket ($110), £100+ for a train to london. At least £100+ for one night in a hotel in london. God awful transport to and from the stadium-for example at an England international football game recently, most people didn't get into the stadium until at least 30min after kickoff. Overpriced food and drinks. A notorious gang culture in london. Lingering animosity from the August riots. The pitch at Wembley being one of the worst in the world considering the size of the stadium (it would not last a full season if a NFL franchise existed in london). No atmosphere from the fans.

    All in all, I would rather just save up and fly to the states to see a game and take in the proper atmosphere and such. As a (poor ass) student, I currently cannot spend around £500+ on one game.

    On the subject of fanbases over here, all my friends who I have tried to convince to follow the NFL, always respond with the same answer: "nothing happens". As Jeff rightly said, changing from a 90min game of football with a 15min break and action constantly happening, to a 3 and a half hour advertisement-fest does not appeal to most over here. While we would get excited to see Forte pick up 6 yards on a 1st down, to them they see a guy run a bit, get tackled by a fat guy, and then nothing for 40 seconds. I do know plenty of people who watch the superbowl every year, but only because of the spectacle and not really as fans of the sport.

    A minor thing that people I talk to do not like is the size of NFL players. They are extremely unimpressed that these 'athletes' can only play for so lonf before they tire. Again, this comes from football and watching players constantly running around a pitch for 90mins.

    There is some hope- select plays that I show them leave them suitably impressed (e.g. the Knox punt return against GB), however they don't feel that the time they have to invest into a game yields enough exciting plays to keep them occupied.

    I have more to say about all this but I'll wind down just now. And remember, these are my friends opinions, not mine :P

  • In reply to DYLbear23:

    I bet Ray Lewis wouldn't tire chasing Wayne Rooney around so he could beat his bald head in with a tire iron.

    Just sayin'.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_pi-e3zASSJ4/TN_zCMvukgI/AAAAAAAAACo/0H3r-u4b9XA/s400/enough_copy0_Europe_Vs_America-s780x757-22269-580.png

  • In reply to gpldan:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pi-e3zASSJ4/TN_sgGibvUI/AAAAAAAAACI/DF9cyGBIJuM/s400/1252249938272.jpg

    And my personal favorite:

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_pi-e3zASSJ4/TN_sP7vHYgI/AAAAAAAAACA/Bg5IxBb-CfY/s1600/1253481971763.jpg

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Their ire is more aimed at linemen and how there's so much ass jiggling at the line of scrimmage.

    And Rooney had a hair transplant....however, even though he's no longer bald, he's still a massive dick.

    +1 on the pic

  • In reply to gpldan:

    tee hee hee

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I'd pay 70 quid to see Lewis do that to Rooney no questions asked. And sixty for parking.

  • In reply to DYLbear23:

    Same here. At that price, i'd prefer paying a bit more, and do a city trip to chicago, pick up a friday or saturday night bulls game, and finish the weekend at soldier field.

  • Is this the charter the Bears are taking to London:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0jm31TGhLY

  • In reply to lobotobear:

    or maybe this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fx79n2Ey0lk&feature=related

    hey can I go?

  • This text to follow may sound like sacrilege, but hear me out.

    If the NFL wants to experiment with global outreach there is only 1 game that makes sense to play
    The Super Bowl!

    Every 4th year the NFL should send the Super Bowl overseas to a worthy city.

    1. Teams rarely play in their home stadiums to begin with and there is a two week break from the end of the playoffs to the game itself to alleviate the hassle of the travel schedule.

    2. For those that go it is already a destination/vacation type event, so how much would the added airfare and passport expense really add to the overall cost. Converesely most fans never hope to see it live unless they win tickets or save up a long while for it.

    3. The NFL could treat it like the olympics and have bidding for host cities (and even open it up to US cities that don't have a team) ensuring that there was proper infrastructure and interest generated by the host country/city.

    4. Potential new fans would be assured of watching 2 of the very best teams the NFL. I know this doesn't guarantee a great game or doesn't mean that we for sure have the #1 and #2 teams talent/coaching wise, but they are at least up there in the top 8.

    5. The game wouldn't impact the results of the regular season and hose one NFL city from the revenue generated.

    I now it might sound crazy (stupid even) but that's because the idea of an NFL game overseas is prima facie stupid anyway.

  • In reply to buckbear:

    Superbowls are usually played at around 6PM eastern time. This gives people an entire day to spend money on boos and snacks. If they played it in Europe, it would have to be broadcast earlier over here or played past midnight over there. Thus, either the European fans are screwed because they have to go to a midnight game, or the American's don't have the proper time to spend all their hard earned cashe. Lose-Lose.

  • In reply to buckbear:

    Hello,
    As I’m sure many of you are aware MAS is preparing to hire a few new employees. I’ve been tasked with coordinating their training and as senior staff I would like to ask for your advice in how you feel training could be revamped so as to provide more complete

    I'd rather have it outside of the US every year as long as it could be played on sod the way God meant football to be played and not Astroturf. The Super Bowl as it is is a joke. The fact that it rotates between 5 or 6 cities with either domes or temperate enough weather as to accommodate maximum scoring has made the yearly announcement dull, with the exception of NY. When do you think we can see a Super Bowl played in Chicago, even though some of the greatest games in the history of football have been played at Soldier Field?
    It sucks but I'm pretty sure they'll hold a Super Bowl in vegas before they hold it in either Europe or Chicago.

  • Oh man...that’s what I get for mixing work and pleasure. Jeff delete this atrocity!

  • Dude. What happened?

  • I hope this happens to Martzy trying to get on the flight..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y51IFVB-7Oc&feature=related

  • Random blog question: Who has the most YAC among current or former NFL running backs? I'm not sure if that stat is out there, but it HAS to be Sweetness, right?

  • In reply to Doc Nitty 34:

    It might be Ricky Watters, the guy was something out of the backfield on the swing pass.

  • In reply to Doc Nitty 34:

    Faulk (as in Marshall)??

  • Not sure this is any more irrelevant than a Man U game being played @ Soldier Field. There are numerous international soccer matches held here, so its stands to reason the NFL would play some games overseas. The would be an argument here if the Bears did NOT have a scheduled bye week, but given the extra rest time, I think its a great idea..

  • Caption this pic, check the left side lezzer out checking that ass out

    http://www.redbullusa.com/cs/Satellite/en_US/Gallery/comic-con-2011-sunday-photos-021243056734576?p=1242746208542

  • In reply to gpldan:

    "Damn. I could put my afro* in that ass"

    *not racial

  • Random Thought:

    I think the draft should be apportioned on a 32 (# of teams) year cycle. That way every team is guaranteed the # 1 overall pick in the draft every 32 years. No more rewarding failure. No more watching a team tank a season (see Indy Colts this year - how bad do they want Andrew Luck?). Speaking of Andrew Luck, insofar as we were the first team in the league, we will be the first team to get the number 1 overall pick... If only I were the comish.

  • In reply to Viva:

    Your ideas are intriguing to me. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  • I actually live in London, and while your diatribe may have some merit in recognizing the lack of American football fans over here, there's actually a big contingency of Bears fans due to the last time they made an appearance and the success of the '85 team. Do your homework. Brits like the Bears, so if anything, this game will draw more Britons than any previous game here.

    Also, let's not forget that we're six hours ahead, and with Britons already devoted to watching early more rugby and afternoon football, asking them to round out the weekend with watching American football is a lot. So be happy that there's such a hype about this game, and more importantly, the Chicago Bears. Calling it an irrelevant nuisance is factually wrong. Not for us on the other side of the pond at least.

  • In reply to cmsub:

    Do your homework.

    Hey there, boy. Here in the States we don't believe in your fancy pants Oxford educashun and stuff like homework. We shoot from the hip, we say what we mean, wven when we don't know what we mean, and we say it with conviction.

    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/1325466/alabama_rednecks_topgear/

  • In reply to cmsub:

    I remember the Dallas-Chicago game in London, was it '86? Left a dearth of Bears and Girls fans behind as I recall.

    If the game is a nuisance for nayone it has to be the Bucs losing home field advantage. It worked pretty well for them last week.

    Left side of the endzone Drew.

  • Thought this was interesting- football fans and American football in England.

    http://www.exmouthcollege.devon.sch.uk/Exmouth%20Raptors.htm

  • Long story short, if we can't even get Canadians to watch and play football, forget Latin America, Europe and Asia, who love Soccer as much as Canadians love Hockey.

    We need to export the NFL to "virgin" cultures that don't yet have a national sport - I propose an Eskimo Football League, Pygmy Football League...

  • In reply to 4ever85:

    4E85:

    you mean this kind of Pygmy:?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cl1KpingnA&feature=related

  • I love the Bears, but if I lived in England and I could watch GOOD pro rugby, I wouldn't give a fuck about football either. Futbol blows dogs.

  • BTW Jeff moving from a 1.5 point dog to 1.5 point fav is not that big of a deal, and I've definitely seen it before. It is roughly the equivalent of moving from a 48% to 52% chance of winning. Or in book terms, roughly 23 cent movement. A decent-size shade to be sure, but hardly uncommon.

    (For perspective, moving from a 3 to 3.5 point favorite is actually a bigger movement...)

    P.S. In other news, looks like I was wrong before. Paea can play both DT/NT positions, and split his 30-some snaps between the two apparently.

  • In reply to Michael L:

    And apparently his tits are so big he can play both spots at the same time.

  • in answer to the last question blogfather
    no
    in 2004 , at world bowl XII
    The Berlin Thunder got by the Frankfurt Galaxy
    30-24
    The Nittany Lion, Eric McCoo was the MVP with a ----69----yard touchdown run
    on that day , maybe his finest , he had 28 touches for 167 yds.
    but, I wonder if he still gets amped, about the 206 yds he had as a freshman against the spartans

    the Barcelona- Berlin game was actually the very first "super bowl" of The World League of American Football {whatta' name}

    Berlin was called the London Monarchs then
    in that game a SAFTEY was the MVP....Dan Crossman had 3 picks...the second was pick-6 ...the other 2 scores came from the arm of Stan Gelbaugh...final score 21-zip

    What has this got to do with Da Bears
    Plenty... and I do mean plenty
    The Monarchs is where the 'Fridge; tried to resurrect his carreer
    in 1996
    Their big rival, Irish, was the Scottish Claymores; from Edinburg
    His teams record that year was 4-6
    buttttttt.....attendance was up 25%......whatta' circus

    A few more famous names from the Monarchs:
    Brad Johnson----Tampa Bay Bucs Super Bowl in 2003.....48-21 over Oakland

    The special teams junkie, Dedrick Dodge, who has 3, count 'em
    pro football championship rings....San Fran SB-29....Denv. SB-32
    and of course wit' Da Monarchs in 04

    But Irish my favorite Monarch of all time had to be
    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

    Kevin "ROLY -POLY" O'BRIEN

  • In reply to huntinbare:

    '96? I'd hung up my cleats by then, HB. Old skool. I did pay attention to the BAFL in the late eighties though, quite a large chunk of my weekly paper 'First Down' - specially ordered and imported - was given over to the British League. You can pretty much play football close to wherever you are in Britain, more traveling involved if you live in Ireland. We used to train every Sunday morning, and that was four bus journeys.

  • http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/football-high/

    Documentary on high school football.

    Related article by Gregg Easterbrook.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/page2/story/_/id/7084785/is-year-round-football-putting-boys-girls-line-college

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