NFL should expand to London

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport

The New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams played at Wembley Stadium last October.

The NFL has become more enamored with the idea of playing in London with plans to soon play three games across the pond each season, commissioner Roger Goodell said last week. With such a regular presence, the league hopes to build a fan base for a football, not to be confused with England's version of football (soccer).

There is a lot of opposition to this idea on this side of the Atlantic. Every away game would be a baseline six-hour difference, the equivalent of a cross-country trip every other week. And how would football even translate? The English haven't used yards as a measurement in decades. Would games start at 7 p.m. or 21:00? Would Americans have to finally figure out what Greenwich Mean Time is? Bloody heck.

Whether the NFL picks the beleaguered Jaguars to eventually relocate or adds a team in London in conjunction with a team in Los Angeles, the idea of exporting a most uniquely American sport is intriguing despite the logistical nightmares.

Let us count the ways.

1. Namely: What do you name this London franchise? Arsenal and United are taken. You could reference the weather with London Fog or architecture with London Bridges. I'm more inclined to go with musical tributes like the London Calling or the London Bollocks. Then Goodell could introduce the team with, "Never mind the Sex Pistols, here are the Bollocks!"

2. Stadium food: Of course the stadium will serve fish and chips with malt vinegar. Can you put black pudding on a roll? Yorkshire pudding? Get someone at the Food Network to work on a pudding scheme at once.

3. Picking a team: The NFL may have to orchestrate London Fletcher signing with the Fog. Kicker Todd France could come out of retirement for sake of geographic diversity. Somebody should immediately coach David Beckham so he can kick extra points. And Paul McCartney could be the defensive coordinator.

Despite the howls of red-blooded American sports fans, the NFL in Europe makes sense. The sport has saturated the U.S. market. Nearly half of American households with televisions, about 47 percent, were tuned to the Super Bowl in 2012, more than the percentage of parents who read to their kids most nights (26 percent, via Scholastic). In this country, we can't agree on anything except apparently attending a party on Super Bowl Sunday.

The NFL is going for world domination one transplanted Jaguars home game at a time. The league wants a few things, and between a London franchise and an 18-game season, moving a team overseas is probably easier on the players physically.

Nothing about football will be less American. The Brits can't magically dilute it with their powerful lagers. After more than 200 years, it's about time we started giving back, and few things are more uniquely American than the NFL.

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