Lombardi's Way - NFL's visions for Europe blinded by greed

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NFL's visions for Europe blinded by greed

The Ravens first three home games are all evening prime time events and while that might make some folks happy, don’t count me among them.

Give me a good old-fashioned Sunday 1 o’clock kickoff any day of the week and 16 times on Sunday!

But the league continues to try and expand their brand and to reach a new audience on different days of the week. They are also delving into their female audience a bit more (see Alyssa Milano).

It’s all about growth and let’s face it, if men aren’t on board already, they never will be. Football for them (for some unconscionable reason) just doesn’t work.

So after women, what’s next?

Well, how about kids?

The NFL is doing a great job reaching kids on various levels with their NFL Play 60. It’s community centric, the lessons are valuable and in ways it becomes a built-in farming system for future die-hard fans.

It’s a win-win!

What is NOT a win-win is this silly idea that the NFL can be successful in Europe and even beyond that as a worldwide game. Patriots’ owner Bob Kraft thinks it’s doable.

“I think we’re starting to tap out in the United States,” Kraft said.  “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 also believes that London is deserving of a franchise.

“I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for. 

“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.”

Have they really?

Some Londoners I’ve spoken to about the games played at Wembley Stadium believe that the attractiveness of the games stems from the spectacle nature of the NFL playing in London. Many of the tickets are given away and what’s wrong with a freebie to satisfy curiosity coupled with a few pints?

Let’s call Kraft’s opinions for what they are – spin doctoring and if his statements are genuine, then he and his colleagues are blinded by greed and laced with hypocrisy.

Out of one side of their collective mouth they’ll talk about player safety yet they continue to force players to play on 3 days rest now that Thursday night games are a regular season staple.

NOW there’s this silly idea of an NFL franchise calling London “home.”

Imagine back-to-back road games for the London Bridges, one of which is on the west coast of the States. How big of a disadvantage would that be for the players? When would they leave for a game in San Diego? On Thursday? Wouldn’t that then place them at a severe competitive disadvantage?

Think about college players on draft day, hoping and praying that the next team on the clock (The Bridges) don’t pick them.

Undrafted free agents and free agents will demand far more to play in London.

And what about the taxes? Londoners who make over £36,000 “enjoy” a 40% tax on any income above that amount.

Regardless of what Bob Kraft thinks, it won’t work.

Maybe he and his cronies should continue to think of new and innovative ways to refine the game, improve the fan experience, engage the community and protect the multi-billion dollar business they’ve created.

Sometimes more isn’t better.


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Rob Smith
Posted On: 7/9/12 4:16 pm
They want to expand? How about Canada and Mexico!

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