The NFL has a lot of problems that need fixing, but that doesn’t stop the league from also trying to fix what isn’t broken.
According to the BBC, the NFL is “on track” to have a full-time franchise in London within six years.
NFL spokesman Mark Waller said that when the league started playing annual games in London in 2007, he thought that it would take 15 years for the NFL to establish a franchise in the city. That would put a team there in 2022, and Waller said the effort remains on schedule.
Here’s the thing: A franchise in London makes no sense.
For starters, how about alleviating the concussion crisis before trying to take over the world?
Speaking about the well-being of the men who sacrifice their bodies every Sunday (and sometimes on Thursday before they’ve even healed from Sunday), which of them would want to move their family to Europe? The league could increase the London team’s salary cap to entice players to migrate across the pond, but what would the other 31 teams think about that?
What about scheduling? The London team would have to make month-long road trips to avoid flying back and forth. And in which division would a London team play? The other teams in that division would have to go to London for a game every year. The Jaguars have agreed to do that, but not every team will be so willing.
There is a way for the NFL to increase its presence in London without having a franchise there.
Play eight games a year in London, maybe in weeks 4-11, and require every team to play in London at least once every four years. Then maybe throw in a London Super Bowl at some point.
That way London is guaranteed to get a decent taste of the NFL every year. But to put a team out there would foul up the symmetry and competitive balance that has made the NFL the most popular sports league in North America.