Ten Reasons the NFL Wouldn't Work in EnglandJuly 6, 2009
In America, people go to watch football several times a year to see their favorite club play. It has recently become a "national pastime" here, but the NFL has bigger plans than just here—they want to expand the NFL across the pond to Great Britain to get the English more involved in the American game.
They have already have started to do this, as they have had a regular season game there for the last two seasons and have had exhibition games in Europe for the last several seasons in the NFL's master plan to get the game to grow throughout England.
Also, the NFL created NFL Europa, which became a success in several European countries.
Here in America, people believe that this plan can work out, as they believe that with time, the NFL will become a major sport overseas.
However, there are several problems with this theory that the common fan either doesn't understand completely or doesn't want to understand about why this plan will never work out.
Here are 10 reasons why American Football won't work in England.
1. Isolated for too long
The NFL never took the initiative to spread their game overseas until the 21st century, which is an extremely long time considering that baseball, hockey, and basketball, the three other biggest sports in America, had all been spread across the pond many years ago, unlike American Football, which has waited too long to expect immediate successes in England.
To go to London or any other major city in England, a person would have to take a seven-hour and 25-minute flight to go from New York City to London.
With the long travel and multiple time zones that the players will have to deal with, the NFL won't be able to succeed overseas.
3. Lack of a major stadium
Whenever the NFL plays their only game in London, they always play at the new Wembley Stadium.
However, what many Americans don't realize is that the new Wembley is the most expensive stadium ever built, and the Football Association (which own the stadium) had to pay so much money to build the stadium that they will now give the stadium temporarily to multiple groups in order to regain money that they used on the stadium.
Also, the FA will have other events, such as concerts, rugby, English football championships, and English National team games all ahead of the NFL, which would force the NFL to not be able to use Wembley as their home stadium.
4. No current fanbase
Right now because of American Football's lack of time in England, there is no true major fanbase of English people in the UK, which would lead the NFL to not be able to establish its popularity as it has in the United States.
Currently the most popular sport in the world that isn't in the Olympics, Rugby is a game that is not only tougher than American football, but also is rooted into the British as a game that they will always love more than American Football, which gives players 30 seconds to recuperate after just one play and has a TV timeout after nearly every five minutes. This is rather unlike rugby, which is fierce, doesn't ever stop, and has very few TV timeouts.
6. The REAL Football
In something that I still don't understand, American football is a game NOT PLAYED with their feet, which makes the entire name of the game untrue.
In England, football (which is played with people's feet, not their hands) is the most popular game in the country by far.
The Barclays English Premier League (EPL) is not only more popular in England than the NFL is in America, but is also considered by many to be the most popular league in the world.
The fans there love it, and if their team is not in the EPL, they will still support their team if they are in the Football League Championship, or in a league that is way below the EPL.
Also, fans have competitions such as the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League, which all are more important to anybody than one NFL game (including the Super Bowl) will ever be there.
In addition, most of the teams in Britain have existed longer than the NFL has ever existed, which makes their influence extremely important to each individual community that exists there.
Also, the fans will not like having the NFL take away their stadiums and their time when their teams are playing there, as they don't want anything interrupting them from watching their football.
If the NFL were ever to put a team in England, they will be forced to play on another day, which would cause confusion throughout the league, as teams need a full week to recuperate from their game the week before.
7. American Influence
In Britain, the odds that a game that only American players play in becoming successful are slim to none.
This is mainly because not one English person wants to see a game that no English players are playing in.
8. Failure of NFL Europe/London Monarchs
In 1991, the World League of American Football (WLAF), which was the predecessor to NFL Europa, created a team called the London Monarchs.
In the Monarchs' first year of play, they won the first ever World Bowl, and it appeared that the team was going to become successful, as they also were able to bring in over 40,000 fans a game on average to the old Wembley Stadium.
However, the league had a two-year hiatus, and when it came back, the Monarchs were forced to move to White Hart Lane (the home of Tottenham Hotspur FC), and attendance then fell by half in the Monarchs' return to play in the WLAF.
Afterwards, the Monarchs moved to Stamford Bridge (home of FC Chelsea), and with even more dwindling attendance, the Monarchs had to play in three different stadiums for the 1998 season. But attendance fell under an average of 6,000 fans per game, and the NFL Europe then replaced the Monarchs with the Berlin Thunder.
Because of the failure of the Monarchs in England after their first season, fans never showed up, and the Monarchs lost so much support that they moved between to many home stadiums, which forced the team to eventually fold.
9. The Financial Crisis
For the last year now, the world has been in a worldwide recession, which makes it hard for people to enjoy leisure events, which includes sports.
Also, in the last year, the NFL has been impacted severely by this recession, as they have been forced to cut 10 percent of jobs at the end of 2008. Commissioner Roger Goodell took a pay cut in order to help with the league's survival.
Because the NFL has been impacted by the recession more than nearly any other sport in America, they won't be able to create teams in cities such as Los Angeles and San Antonio, and this will also hurt the impact of the sport in England, as the NFL will be using fewer resources to expand interest in Britain.
10. Fans not accepting the NFL
Finally, many people in England just don't want to have the NFL become a part of their sporting culture, as they already have enough sports to keep them entertained. They also don't want to have a game that isn't as fierce as rugby or a sport that takes away the name of the country's favorite game (football/soccer).
Finally, as hard as the NFL may try to get the English to become fans of the game, it won't succeed because of lack of fan support and the fact that the British fans won't grow towards a game that they just don't like, among other things listed above.
However, if the NFL wanted to go back to a different country to try to spread their game, they should go to Germany to spread their game, as five of the final six teams to ever play in NFL Europa played there, and the German fans really took a liking to the game.
Finally, American Football will never succeed across the pond in England for many different reasons. The NFL should realize this, as they are trying to get something to succeed in a place that won't accept it for what it is.
If anyone has any opinions about this article and the NFL's impact in England, please don't hesitate to post a comment telling me about how you feel about this issue.