London's Calling...Don't Pick Up

A report from the BBC News says that the NFL still has an eye on London for a permanent franchise. I don't understand why.

Well, I do understand why. The NFL wants to make money and, in theory, could do so by expanding internationally to a new market.

However, there is a point, even in making money, of diminishing returns. Eventually, you have to remember that these aren't pieces you're moving around a game board to make money. There are people involved. A company with the resources of the NFL should surely be able to treat them as such.

It takes a lot to run a football team. There are players, coaches, trainers, video guys, marketing people, a public relations staff, executives of all of those things and so much more. Do you think any of those people want to live in London?

There's nothing wrong with London other than it's really far away. It's that simple. Most of us value some level of accessibility to our families, and even if we live across the country, it's not across an ocean.

Forgetting everyone but the basic football people, the thought that a London franchise could be consistently competitive is laughable. They would never get a top flight coach. Any coach with options would have to be grotesquely overpaid to pick leaving everything they know in the states to head to Britain.

The same would be true for top flight free agents, or even lower level ones. Any players with options would not live in London if given the choice. That holds true for draft picks as well. Even if the London franchise hit on absurd level of picks, they'd have to build up so much loyalty while the players were on their rookie contracts that they wouldn't want to leave the instant they got the chance.

Drafted players are mostly 21-23 year old kids, many of whom have never left the country in their lives. You are absolutely insane if you don't think some flat out wouldn't sign, even if drafted. Would most? Probably. Having to sit out a year isn't fun, but there are absolutely players who would refuse.

This is all before you get to the scheduling and travel logistics. Could you really ask players to travel back and forth across the pond for eight road games? Getting across the ocean takes long enough, but what about that first Londoners game in LA? That's another six hours in the air for enormously large men who barely fit in an airplane seat to begin with. Then you want them to perform athletically at a high level, turn around and go back without time to recover? Good luck with that.

You could just split the schedule. They could host 8 games, have a bye, and then travel the states like nomads for the final 8 games of the regular season. I'm sure the folks in London will love that. "Hey guys, is our team coming back?"

The NFL owns the American sporting landscape and apparently that's not enough. I fully understand the desire to expand because who doesn't want to make more money, but there are limits to all things. I could make more money if fraud, theft and tax evasion weren't illegal. Just because there's a way, doesn't mean it's a good idea bereft of consequences.

The problem isn't about some xenophobia or even American exceptionalism that we're not willing to share our game. It's simply the constraints of space and time. Scheduling would be a disaster and London's a long ways away.

Don't overthink this one NFL. Unless you've got a teleportation machine you're hiding. In which case can I borrow it? I hear there's a lot of snow coming.