Is the NFL in London Really a Good Idea?

Eddie RossellCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2008

This coming Sunday, the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints will be playing a regular-season game at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Some think this will be good for the league. Others think it won't. I am one of those others.

Europe has had its chance to embrace American football. It did not embrace the NFL Europe very tightly, and now it is gone. England obviously is not a big fan of our, and in my opinion much better, version of football, so why try and market there.

The NFL has recently been trying to expand its boundaries to other countries, like last year's game in Mexico. Mexico is also a much more marketable place for football because there are some NFL fans already there and it is a much closer market than that of Europe.

The NFL has also talked about putting an NFL franchise in Toronto, Canada. Toronto is a very marketable area because it is close to the U.S. It is a distinct possibility, and with both the NBA and NHL possibly having European teams, the NFL in Canada is not necessarily that far away.

But I don't think that the Chargers and Saints game will be that big across the pond. It just does not sound like a good idea to me.

The Saints are really missing out because having an overseas game makes it a neutral environment. That means New Orleans is getting cheated out of a home game, which is a big deal in today's game.

And the Chargers are not getting a very good deal either because they have to travel almost 5,500 miles form San Diego, CA to London, England! They are going to cross eight time zones! Talk about jet lag. If they leave at 5:00 PM, they would land at 11:00 AM, England time.

I don't think it is a smart idea to have teams playing a meaningful game in a foreign place. If the NFL is going to play games outside the U.S., they should do it in the preseason. Then it has almost no impact on the season and still puts the NFL somehow in Europe.

I'm all for expanding the NFL to other countries, but I would only like for them to do it in places like Canada or Mexico, somewhere that would not affect scheduling or extremely long trips to Europe.