The National Football League may need to find a new name. The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, hinted at the very real possibility that the sport may be expanding overseas in Europe. Here's what to know.
The NFL has already been playing games in London for quite some time. The tradition started in 2007. Most recently, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers faced off against Daniel Jones and the New York Giants at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, October 9th. Goodell told reporters ahead of the game, “I think there’s no question that London could support not just one franchise, I think two franchises – I really believe that.” Since the tradition of playing in London began, there have been 30 games held across the pond. While building the new home for the Tottenham Hotspurs, the stadium was built with retractable floors to make the transition from a soccer pitch to an American football pitch easier. It seems like Goodell is not the only one with the NFL’s presence in Europe on his mind.
The Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium also hosted the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings on October 2nd. Wembley Stadium will be hosting the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the end of this month on October 30th. There is way more than just heading to London in the plan for Goodell. He sees a future beyond England. Germany will also be hosting regular season games for the NFL over the next four years. Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they go up against Geno Smith and the Seattle Seahawks on November 13th. But Goodell wants to make Europe an entire division. He noted, “We’re trying to see, could you have multiple locations in Europe where you could have an NFL franchise, because it would be easier as a division.” After all, the NFL is one of the most popular sports in the US. Last year’s Super Bowl averaged an audience of 112.3 million viewers, and fans are going crazy that Rihanna was announced as this year’s halftime performance act.
As American football continues to be played overseas and the fan base grows, an NFL European franchise may be the future of the sport. It could be years before this vision becomes a reality. However, it is pretty dope to think about the possibility of the NFL expanding. Stay tuned.