Helping the NFL brand grow, both within the United States and around the globe, is an ongoing task for Roger Goodell. The league's commissioner believes putting franchises in Los Angeles and London would provide a boost to that process.
Bill Williamson of ESPN passed along comments Goodell made to European fans during a forum leading up to Sunday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Jacksonville Jaguars at the iconic Wembley Stadium in London.
He was asked about whether a return to Los Angeles or a move to the capital of the United Kingdom was the top priority when it came to a franchise. He didn't answer directly, explaining both locations would be good additions to the league:
It doesn't matter.
I'd love to be back in Los Angeles. But it has to be done the right way, we have to do it successfully.
I want both (London and L.A.), but it doesn't matter which one is first.
Which city should get an NFL franchise first?
Goodell also told the crowd that the European fanbase is proving worthy of a franchise. But he said the idea of playing a Super Bowl at Wembley Stadium is unlikely unless London does get a team, because the NFL prefers playing the year's biggest game in one of the league's cities.
The idea of putting a permanent franchise in London has been met with resistance from some players. Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark said he would retire from the sport before joining a team based across the Atlantic Ocean.
"I'd retire before going to London" - Steelers Ryan Clark if an NFL team was brought to London, England— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) September 25, 2013
Obviously, the logistics of having a team in London would need extensive work before becoming reality. Playing eight road games and eight home games without the travel becoming completely overwhelming is a major hurdle to overcome.
At least in that respect, Los Angeles would seem to have the edge, though Goodell clearly believes tapping into both large markets is something the league should do.
While the commissioner didn't provide a definitive timetable for making any major decisions, his comments should at least give hope to fans in both cities.