NFL in Europe: Why There Is No Reason for an NFL Team to Be Placed in London
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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft stated on Thursday that the NFL needs to add a team in London. Kraft told Sky Sports that he will push for an NFL team to be placed in the UK in the near future.
"I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for," Kraft said. "I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL and this fan base has proven they deserve it."
"I think we're starting to tap out in the United States. If you look at the last Super Bowl we were in this past season, we had over 180 million people watching, that's almost two thirds of America. So for us to grow the game, we have to expand globally. Having seen the kind of support we have received here in London, it is the intention of the NFL owners to get two games here, starting next year."
Kraft has been one of the league's more respected owners because he has always brought professionalism to the sport. In this case, he is suggesting an idea that he believes can benefit the future of the NFL brand.
However, with all due respect to Mr. Kraft, adding a team overseas is not a solution that best interests the NFL.
In fact, the majority of NFL teams do not endorse the idea of even going to Europe to play one game. Players must use the normal week of practice to prepare for the time difference, which in large part disrupts their weekly routine.
The time needed for traveling to London is certainly a major concern involving every team, but especially the teams on the west coast who must make the long trip for just one game.
Not only is the team's schedule affected the week they are in London, but they are also put at a disadvantage for the next week by losing valuable practice time.
Now, imagine how a team that was placed in London would be affected by the amount of time needed to travel to America. The average flight time from London to New Jersey is around seven hours.
Every NFL team will play eight games on the road during the NFL season. How fair would it be for a NFL team to travel at the minimum of seven hours to every road game? There would be plenty of uproar regarding how a London based team would be at a competitive disadvantage against the rest of the league.
However, this is not the only issue that the NFL has ignoring regarding the idea of expanding oversees. The league continues to ignore the idea that they are second fiddle as a sport compared to soccer.
After recently spending 12 days in Europe, specifically four days in London, it was marvelous watching the European Cup from the perspective of the English, French and Italian fans. Their love for soccer compares to America's passion for the NFL.
Are Europeans attracted by the idea of attending an NFL game once or twice a year? Of course they are. Many fans across the world enjoy the NFL and would not pass up the opportunity to see the top NFL stars in action.
Unfortunately, the NFL would never come close to trumping the English Premier League, arguably the most watched soccer league in the world.
The NFL has become a multi-billion dollar industry that continues to grow each year in America. The popularity of the NFL has not declined, and it won't anytime soon.
There is no reason for the NFL to attempt adding a team in London. Ultimately, Roger Goodell would not be pleased with the end product that a team in Europe would provide.
Matt Miselis is a NFL Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. Follow him on twitter @MattMiselisNFL
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