Chicago Sun-Times

NFL taking its act global again

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Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Thursday that the NFL would return to Europe for a game in the 2008 regular season.

Miami and the New York Giants met at London's Wembley Stadium in October and more than 80,000 fans showed up for the game.

Goodell called the experience one of the highlights of the season.

The league is expected to formalize the two teams for the game during the Super Bowl week as well as the venue.

Could the NFL call on the Bears, a cornerstone franchise of the league, to play in the game? It's not exactly European Vacation ... and it's unknown how the organization would feel about the idea.

It's a complicated issue for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is one team has to give up a home game. That means they can sell tickets to only nine games--seven in the regular season and two preseason.

Stay tuned.

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It will be interesting to see how this works out and where the game will be played. Otherthan the U.K., only Germany holds a big enough fan base to make this a success and still a lot of fans in Germany are angry about the sudden end of the NFL Europa. A city like Frankfurt is known to be said they want no further business with an organization (NFL) that cost the city a lot of money through their sudden exit.

Than again, the London game was a highlight of the season? Only an involved organizer can talk like this. The weather conditions were horrible and they game was as boring as they come.

It is a miracle that anyone in Europe would want the NFL in town after the heavy handed approach they have taken in the past. I am a longterm British American Football Fan, and a Bears fan at that, and I was at the Wembley game which was an awful advert for the NFL in truth.

For years I have watched the NFL on television and struggled to get to friendlies when the NFL came to the UK(including a great memory of the Bears in the 80's). I also followed the London Monarch's in the old European league and despite it being shut down twice I have continued to stay loyal to this game.

But it is oh so hard when the NFL thinks they can drop in and out of oversea games. Now the latest European league has gone - and another chunk of European NFL fans have been annoyed and many will have stopped watching the game. As you suggest, many German cities wont host a regular season NFL game as a result of this heavy handedness!

So come on NFL - if you are serious about growing this game on the world stage and truly get it to the stage when the SuperBowl champs deserve the title of 'World Champions' then you have to stop this jumping in and out of different markets and stick at it for the long haul. Otherwise even us diehard fans will desert you....

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on January 17, 2008 1:05 PM.

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