The League

THE QUESTION

Football in London?

How can American football ever catch on internationally?

Posted by Emil Steiner on October 23, 2009 10:17 AM
FEATURED COMMENTS

Rexmad10: LOL, ROFLMAO NFL in Europe, or London? Sorry America, the game ONLY you play has no place anywhere else on earth. Instead of joining the wor...

cascience: American football is simply not that interesting to watch. A bunch of hypermasculine guys who take themselves way too seriously, running ar...

jdmaccoby: It's slower than rugby and less interesting than (European) football-- why would England want it? It's like saying "I wonder why they don't...

Make a Comment  |  All Comments (40)

ALL COMMENTS (40)
cbt11 Author Profile Page :

Forget about it. You'll see Magic Johnson French kissing Isiah Thomas before you see American Football on French TV. Can't happen, won't happen, not today not ever. Sorry USA.

tharriso Author Profile Page :

NFL teams usually have half their games at home and half away. On away games, you might spend one to five hours in the air, there and back. The greatest degree of jet lag is three hours, which is livable. When traveling due north or south, there is no jet lag; you're in the same time zone.

About eight teams would have to travel to London one time during the season. Their air time could be anywhere from seven to eleven hours, and the jet lag from five to eight hours. For those eight teams, at least it would be only once per year.

The London team, however, would face this excrutiating back and forth time in the air, and never ending jet lag eight times during the season. There is no way this will not impact the physical condition of the players. That statement was a double negative; in other words, all this travel and jet lag HAS TO have a large negative impact on the physical condition of the players. Athletes put through such circumstances will automatically be at a great disadvantage.

markmcnaught Author Profile Page :

There's only one problem. The British don't care about American football, and they have Rugby, a much better sport to watch.

sids Author Profile Page :

I agree: us Brits are vaguely curious about US football - but no more than that. And don't forget rugby: it's faster and more flowing than your football (none of those five-minute breaks to decide what to do next) and doesn't have the cissy padding and helmets - but it still loses out to 'soccer'.

usc932000 Author Profile Page :

Why does Goddell wants to pretend that this idea makes any sense? The league dosent even want to play the Pro Bowl in Honolulu anymore but yet they want to base an NFL team in London? Without an already established fan base, this idea would fail tremendously. Forget the games and travel times and jet lag, what about the logistics of housing, families relocating, income taxes?

I would also ask, how many British players are on NFL rosters that would be able to sell this great game to their country men?

One one of the great things about the NFL and is proximity of division teams. With the exception of a few teams that are not within a few hrs of their division mates, the proximity allows fan to travel if they wanted to road trip with their team.

What happens remain to be seen.

usc932000 Author Profile Page :

Why does Goddell wants to pretend that this idea makes any sense? The league dosent even want to play the Pro Bowl in Honolulu anymore but yet they want to base an NFL team in London? Without an already established fan base, this idea would fail tremendously. Forget the games and travel times and jet lag, what about the logistics of housing, families relocating, income taxes?

I would also ask, how many British players are on NFL rosters that would be able to sell this great game to their country men?

One one of the great things about the NFL and is proximity of division teams. With the exception of a few teams that are not within a few hrs of their division mates, the proximity allows fan to travel if they wanted to road trip with their team.

What happens remain to be seen.

rocotten Author Profile Page :

I agree that Rugby is faster and more flowing, but this is exactly why Football has been able to cross so many lines in America, with regards to its fan base. It is a start and stop game that allows for many breaks which lends it to being a great background for parties, where you can chat with your friends AND watch the game intermittently. If it was a continuous game like soccer and basketball and rugby, it would lose all but the most avid sports fans. That's not to say the 5 minute TV breaks aren't a little much, but we know the NFL is all about money.

I agree that if the league is to go international, then Canada is the only option for now...if that really counts as international...because they are the only other country that plays and enjoys our football and holds a general lack of interest for soccer.

sids Author Profile Page :

"That's not to say the 5 minute TV breaks aren't a little much"

Yes, us Brits are desperate to watch a game where there's more selling than sport. :-))

dubhlaoich Author Profile Page :

American football is the child of Rugby. They took a great game and turned it into a 60 minute circus that lasts 3 hours; consisting of 5 teams - 2 offenses, 2 defenses who spend half the game standing around and 1 team of officials best known for running around waving their arms and holding lengthy conferences. TV further ruined the game with constant advertising. Americans took the great game of Rugby and transformed it into a cross between a committee meeting and war. Not to mention the gall of calling the Super Bowl winner the "World" champion. My advice to the world, ignore American football

noHUCKABEEnoVOTE Author Profile Page :

Too much LIBRALISM in the NFL ...
people all over the world are
finally catching on to the tactics of the ELITE

The RUSH LIMBAUGH skirmish didn't do
them any good . It's RACIST against WHITE PEOPLE and they see what it is doing to business around the world !!!!

Just because AMERICAN LIBRALS wake up oblivious in La-La LAND every morning , doesn't mean the rest of the world does.

chicagopaul Author Profile Page :

why?

LA has no team , which is 2nd biggest market in US

Soccer, cricket, rugby....but mostly soccer, rules the airwaves and stirs the passions

short the NFL if it was a public company

pkhenry Author Profile Page :

NFL games have 5 seconds of action followed by 55 seconds of dead dead time. Only someone raised on slow sport could tolerate it.

HP2008 Author Profile Page :

American Football is a joke. Most of the lineman are fat, strong maybe, but that's not an athlete to me. Let them hammer it out for 2 45's like the real football and not sissy timeouts. Then you'll really see the true ballers.

finnhoya1 Author Profile Page :

Turn the question around: "Why hasn't "footy" caught [on this side of] the pond? Is there a structural reason, or are [Americans] just too fixated on 'football'" How would such a question make Americans feel?

lightnquick Author Profile Page :

@pkhenry: I think you're hitting the nail on the head - as soon as someone puts a foot forward in football, the game is interrupted. Way to 'static' for European taste... And, in the same context,

@finnhoya1: I actually think one main reason is that footy/soccer has too few and too short breaks to make it attractive for advertisement, and therefore no network would really care.

ozpunk Author Profile Page :

Typical western imperialism, trying to trample ignorant foreigners with our own philosphies and sports!

Florentino666 Author Profile Page :

Allow me to wade into this discussion. I am a Latino that migrated to the US at age 20. Yeap..spent my first 19 years playing soccer until I got here. Even though it took me a while to understand (and appreciate) the strategy of the game and even its complexity, now I can only watch the last quarter of the Superbowl every year...and that's it.

Like someone said above, the real question is why soccer (futbol) has not caught up in the US when about 3 billion people play it? The answer may give you the reason why American Football can not get a hold outside the USA, even though there are robust world leagues of Rugby (which could be use as comparison to an extend).

I now follow football in the US, but here are my observations from both sides:

1. Why would anyone sit regularly through a 3 hour game (baseball included) escapes my mind. Soccer is 90 minutes and you go home, (throw 15 min break) and you are done!

2. As we all know, soccer keeps going. Football stops after every play due to the need to strategize every move, which for a foreigner is a very boring concept...sometimes even tedious. All these breaks in play bring me to my third point:

3. Sponsors. In football you can jam-pack those endless breaks with commercials...and more advertising capacity makes networks go for it. In soccer, you can't stop for a 30-60 barrage of adds, so networks can't get that much revenue (dinero) for the broadcast. So there is no incentive to put it on tv regularly, which I would argue affects our youth due to lack of exposure to the sport. The boys are going to want to play football at school and college and the girls (which can't play it) end up playing soccer (and they are darn good at it too!)

4. Most people around the world are poor, or poorer than us. (yeah, what a shocker!). For a few boys in the slums of Bremen or Legos or Sao Paulo is easier to pick up a soccer ball and have a game in a field. For football, you have to spend $$$ money for pads, helmets, gloves and yes "Chancho"...strechy pants too!!! Let us be real...who would do that anywhere else but in the USA?

So there you have it...If you want the NFL to truly earn the right to say at the end of the Superbowl: "...and the new WORLD Champions are...) you have to convince Europeans, and Latinos to spend 3 hours of their lives watching 1 hour of broken, highly complicated game-ship play and 2 hours of mind numbing commercials........Good luck!!!

rogied25 Author Profile Page :

To poster "NOHUCKABEENOVOTE"

You seem to be suggesting that the NFL is too liberal to compete with soccer around the world.

Have you noticed where soccer is played? Where the next world cup is to be played? How about the fact that many national teams from "white countries," including England and Italy, have or have had players of color on them? Indeed, the Brazilians have won the most World Cups, and they ain't white folks. Imagine how many team officials and executives of these teams are of color or even (gasp) gay. The same goes for club teams all over the world. That, by your reckoning, would make world football pretty liberal.

So what are you talking about?

katfish Author Profile Page :

All you Euro haters can suck a fat one. Football and I mean the real football is so much better sport than your midget tie-heavy crap. Men play football, those who cant play soccer. 1 game has strategy the other game has beach balls on the field. 1 has cheerleaders the other has hooligans. 1 game has hard hits the other has girly girls in short shorts faking injuries. What would you want to watch?

delantero Author Profile Page :

katfish . . how bout you come over and play a little. I'll spin you round like a top, put the ball through your skirt wearing legs, then I'll give you the ball before I come up with a legal hard, slide tackling challenge that will make you cry 10 times more than being tackled while wearing 10 pounds of pads and helmets.

The NFL is largely BORING. Plain and simple. The only way I watch games is to DVR them, then fast forward through all the BS penalties, replays, commercials, and other frequent breaks. If they played 60 minutes, with only a half in between it'd be much more interesting.

calvinconz Author Profile Page :

Until boys grow up playing football from an eary age, the world outside the U.S. will never get the nuanced complexity of the sport. As the writer from Latin America noted, football is "boring" to most of the world precisely because they cannot wrap their minds around the complex strategies that are involved in each and every play. Comparing football and soccer are like comparing chess and checkers - both checkers and chess are played on the same board, but the difference ends there. Talk about "boring" - every time I watch a soccer game around soccer fans, I hear the same statement - "isn't it amazing what they can do with their feet?" Then quiet, until one of the two goals in the game are scored. That is soccer commentary from spectators I have been around. Then quiet until one of the two goals of the game are scored. Football generates the potential for game-changing plays, down to the very last second of the game and generates endless pre-game, during the game and post-game analysis. The world will never, never get it. Forget NFL outside the U.S. Minds are not ready for it.

Rubiconski Author Profile Page :

Football is gay.

1180 Author Profile Page :

bunch of overgrown goons in tights and motorcycle helmets running around grunting, slamming into each other. Yeah, just a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on. Just about any day now.

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

pkhenry wrote:
"NFL games have 5 seconds of action followed by 55 seconds of dead dead time. Only someone raised on slow sport could tolerate it."

I grew up in London, and this guy PKHenry pretty much hits the nail on the head.

Nobody raised on real football (you know, with the foot) is going to put up with these stultifying American sports.

To be fair, gridiron (as they call it in Britain to distinguish it from real football) is not as dull as baseball, the world's dullest team sport.

The order goes something like this:

World's dullest activities -
1. Watching baseball
2. Watching paint dry
3. Watching American football

Florentino666 Author Profile Page :

Mr/Ms CALVINCONZ....

The couple of times that I have ventured into an NFL stadium--"'I hear the same statement - "isn't it amazing what the quarterback can do with his [arm]?" Then quiet, until one of the two teams score a touchdown. That is football commentary from spectators I have been around"'...[Soccer does too] generate the potential for game-changing plays [without commercials], down to the very last second of the game and [indeed too] generate endless pre-game, during the game and post-game analysis.

I know that just like us latinos and football, your mind is also not ready to see the appeal of soccer and the strategy in it (because there is a game plan), despite the fact that the rest of the world has embraced it. However, you are right...you have to grow up with it to embrace it, no doubt about it.

One more thing...It is inexcusable at this point that we in the US don't have a FIFA World Cup trophy (for men), given the large pool of young national talent we can muster every few years. If the NFL owners and business managers would be a bit less obtuse, they would right now OWN and RUN the USA's MLS League and build it into a premier soccer league in par with Spain's, Germany and Italy (that's were the big money is)...rather than to explore the futile expansion of football overseas. Worst case scenario, in 5-10 years the teams' franchises would double, the big-name players would come from Europe and LATAM (and not on their last gasp, but at their prime--Beckam--) and then our (your teams) would compete at the international level often ($$$).

Think about it NFL...and call me when you are ready to bring the FIFA World Cup home.

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

How exciting is the NFL? The grand finale of their entire season is, of course, the Superbowl, the Big Game where it's all on the line.
And what is the most eagerly-awaited thing about America's Superbowl? What generates the most attention? It's the half-time ADVERTISEMENTS.

RodS1 Author Profile Page :

I'd rather see rugby league (different from rugby union) catch on here. American and Canadian football has become too specialized.

NFL teams have 50+ rosters, radioed instructions, cheat sheets on QB's arm, punters who have trouble place kicking, unlimited substitutions, and more assistant coaches than rugby league teams have players--too specialized, little spontaneity. Half the time the clock is running in a US football game the players are huddling, standing, or walking on or off the field. Then there's the spiking and kneeing to play against the clock rather than the opposing team.

In rugby league they (13 players on the field, 4 on the bench, limited substitutions) play the full 80 (not 60) minutes, limited substitutions, great excitement (including real onside kicking, not our faintest vestige of it).

I encourage American football fans to check out rugby league. ESPN360.com carries some international matches and carried UK's Superleague, which along with Australia/NZ National Rugby League, are the "major leagues" of rugby league.

Also a plug for "Rugby Sevens"--which is based on the rugby union code--that has just been accepted as an Olympic sport. Fast, exciting, fun.

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

CALVINCONZ: "Football generates the potential for game-changing plays, down to the very last second of the game..."

Really? Even when there's 10 seconds left and the score is 51-13?

In fact, American football games are often out of reach of the losing team by the end of the first quarter. And judging from the complaints of NFL fans that I see in this paper, it's getting worse, with more blowouts and few close matches.

People point out that (real) football has few goals, but that means there's more likely to be a way back into the match for the trailing team.

And it's not like fewer goals = less offence. Misses and saves are exciting too. In American football, you reach the other end of the field, you get points. But in real football, you get there and you still have plenty to do.

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

The NHL is fun. It's almost like football on ice (real football that is). And in fact hockey actually has made some successful inroads in Britain.

One thing hockey has that American football doesn't (apart from goals, shooting and keepers) is that teams can switch tired players on the fly, avoiding some of the interminable stoppages of other North American sports.

nl01 Author Profile Page :

It beats me why they would try London for this experiment... the Brits already have rugby for people who want to watch a violent sport played by guys without a neck, and there`s cricket if you like blindingly fast action for a few seconds at a time.

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

Another problem with American football - the players are physical freaks, not normally shaped or sized people.

In Britain, every week, vast numbers of people go to the park and play footie. But you can't hardly do that with American football.

And with footie (and hockey), some of the best players in the world learned their game playing as kids in the street.

But with American football, that's not possible. It's a huge production, you have to buy expensive equipment, join some sort of little league. The games are organised and crowded with adults, pushy fathers, bossy coaches. What a drag for the poor American kids.

An overwhelming majority of American football fans never even play the game they profess to love. Sad.

RodS1 Author Profile Page :

ROCOTTEN wrote "I agree that if the league is to go international, then Canada is the only option for now...if that really counts as international...because they are the only other country that plays and enjoys our football..."

Canadian football is somewhat different though quite similar to ours. 3 downs rather than 4 makes for faster flow. Bigger field, multiple players in motion, onside kicking rules a bit closer to rugby's (though still uncommonly used), are among other differences. I'm glad to see some CFL coverage on cable TV and online.

Actually at one point CFL tried to expand to the US, including a team in Baltimore. One US team even won the Grey Cup. But that didn't catch on.

Oh, and to add to my last rant on rugby v. Amer football: Our football is too technical as well as specialized. "Illegal formations", "ineligible" receivers, come-on some players aren't allowed to touch the ball except for a fumble recovery?

bourassa1 Author Profile Page :

It would be a big mistake trying to sell American football in Britain as some kind of tough-guy sport. First, as NL01 says, they already have rugby. Secondly, Brits, like everyone else, are actually pretty tired of Americans talking about how tough they are. Thirdly, if we want to see North American tough guys, again, we'd take hockey, because they have actual fighting in that league.

I'd rather watch two Canadian tough guys going at it hammer and tongs than two American football coaches competing for who has the toughest-looking gum-chewing style.

jadepc Author Profile Page :

I don't think it will ever catch on in Europe. American football is way too violent and you really don't stand a chance against gorillas who are 6 foot-plus, weigh 300 pounds, bench pressing around 500, and doing the 40 in under 4.4 seconds; that's too much momentum that will eventually injure the best of them. However, soccer (the real "football" because you use your "foot", whereas American football only uses the foot for the kicking game (duh!), is more of a finesse sport which allows the skillful to work the ball down field instead of pushing against some brawny gorilla to make the play. Soccer is #1 world-wide and it will remain that way.

dasumner Author Profile Page :

How dumb.

Why would anyone shift to a crushing, crashing, slow bore played by bloated freaks when, like the rest of the world they have the beautiful game played by gifted normal sized humans?

Instead why can't the US simply shift to the real football and join the world?

EliPeyton Author Profile Page :

Seven refs with the ability to call a foul versus one referee in soccer and 2 assistants covering a larger field.
Seven to 12 minutes of ball in play in football versus 55 to 70 minutes in soccer.
Football rewards losers with first round picks....soccer sends them to the second division. In other words, football is socialist, soccer is capitalist.
Football players have one game a week....soccer players have 2.

imkleggett Author Profile Page :

It won't, thank god. 1.) Football is played with the feet. 2.) The American game is too dull and slow (curling has more action). 3.) It costs too much. 4.) Can't tell players apart. 5.) They're all fat (wouldn't last 10 minutes on a Rugby pitch). 6.) It's just an excuse for selling stuff. 7.) Scoring is too inflated. 8.) Terminology is idiotic and far too complicated. 9.) Games last too long. Etc.

Rexmad10 Author Profile Page :

LOL, ROFLMAO
NFL in Europe, or London?
Sorry America, the game ONLY you play has no place anywhere else on earth.
Instead of joining the world soccer leagues, try to export a Fight that you have to wear body armor to play.
American Football? SUCKS.

cascience Author Profile Page :

American football is simply not that interesting to watch. A bunch of hypermasculine guys who take themselves way too seriously, running around suited up in armor. No thanks. Games with knights belong to the middle ages.

jdmaccoby Author Profile Page :

It's slower than rugby and less interesting than (European) football-- why would England want it?

It's like saying "I wonder why they don't have North Dakota in England? Do you think they'd like it?" Don't want it, don't need it-- keep it to yourself.

 
 
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