***** Interesting piece in the Dallas Morning News about the possibility of
future international play for all NFL teams. Take a look.
NFL in Europe
One NFL GM told me he could see the NFL adopting a 17-game schedule, thus
reducing the preseason to three games. That 17th game would neither be home
nor away - it would be played on a neutral, international field.
The NFL begins regular-season play internationally this season with the
Dolphins and Giants squaring off in London in October.
If the NFL expands the schedule to a 17th game, all 32 teams would play an
international game. It may be four international games per week for the span
of a month, or two international games per week for the span of two months.
But it would keep playoff contention on a level field because all teams
would still play eight home games and eight on the road.
Each of the 32 teams would have their bye the weekend following the
Make no mistake about it - international games are here to stay as the NFL
attempts to promote its brand globally. Canada, Mexico, Europe, South
America, China and Japan all could be in the mix. One NFL owner told me not
to be surprised if a Super Bowl is played in China during my lifetime.
***** Now, I find the concept interesting, when taken out of NFL season
context. But I see significant problems for coaches in avoiding serious
distraction for at least some of the players on their roster. The stronger
coaches (do we know any of those?) will probably ensure that most, if not
all, of their players handle it. But, since this game will apparently count
in the standings, the distraction potential could cost some teams dearly.
***** Aside from that issue, however, the plan presented here sounds very
reasonable. It does, indeed, keep the playing field level; allows for
recovery from jet lag; and promotes the game worldwide. Not an unreasonable
plan, given the commitment the league has made to going global.
***** My only serious objection to everything presented in the article is
the possibility of an overseas Super Bowl. That would really suck. Of
course, the NFL has already pretty much taken the game away from the average
fan anyway, due to the combination of the ticket sale policies, and the
ticket prices. So, I guess playing overseas isn't really that much of a
departure for the average fan. TV coverage looks the same regardless of the
stadium location. It's the NFL host cities that will take it in the shorts
if they do this. The Super Bowl is worth millions to the host city.
Dogs have masters ... Cats have staff!