What would that NFL team in London be called that Bob Kraft so desperately wants? The London Bobbies? Naw. Not masculine enough. The London Limies? Probably not. The London Anglo-Saxons? (You know, sort of like the Boston Celtics?) Won’t work. The British Red Coats? Then you could have the Patriots play the Red Coats (and always win)! Probably too goofy.
I know—how about the London Jetlaggers? Yeah! That would be the ticket! I mean I think it would fit the team nicely. Probably describe not only their state but also their position in the league. Might even add a descriptor to it—the Bloody London Jetlaggers. Can you imagine being traded to the Laggers?
What Are They Thinking?
I’m sorry, and I have friends who do not agree with me, but I just think this is a bad idea for many reasons. And let me first say that I like Bob Kraft a lot. When I go through the various owners the Pats have had over the years—he’s the best. When I think about what defines a quality team owner—he is the poster boy. The man brings dignity, grace and fairness to the game. He loves football, New England and the Pats. But this idea is a bad one.
NFL Promo Tour
Kraft was on a promotional tour across the pond for the upcoming Pats versus Rams game in October. In an interview, he was very positive about having a NFL franchise in London.
Kraft noted, “I personally think we should have a franchise in London, and that is something I am going to push for. I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL, and this fan base has proven they deserve it.”
The fan base deserves it? What fan base? European football? Rugby? Darts? What fan base? They could not support a league? Will they be able to support a team whose only opposition is in another country on another continent?
Anyone remember NFL Europe? (If you don’t, don’t worry there’s nothing wrong with your memory; it’s not worth remembering.) It had a total of six teams in four countries. It started in 1995 and totally tanked in 2007. Spain dropped out first in 2003 and the United Kingdom second in 2004. The total number of teams was nine but with attrition and new ones being formed it was at any given time a league of six lowly American football teams.
The UK had two teams. The London Monarchs (1991-1998), who started out as part of the World League of American Football (WLAF) and the Scottish Claymores (1995-2004), who were in NFL Europe only. The WLAF, which was started in 1991, was the original attempt at creating an American football league overseas and the NFL also banked it.
Why It’s a Bad Idea
Let’s see—can you imagine the difficulty of adjusting to the international travel involved? Talk about putting a team at a disadvantage? I mean, you might be able to book the London Jetlaggers to the States for a few weeks straight but you can’t do that for those visiting the UK. What happens afterwards—bye week?
And let’s face it soccer has a better chance of surviving in this country than American football does over there. First of all, they’ve already got a sport over there that’s like football but it’s rougher and bloodier. It’s called rugby.
So, what conference will the Jetlaggers be in? Who knows? I’m just wondering if the local punters will be willing to place a few bob down on a weekend coupon of NFL matches? If they are, then the league may have a chance. Cheers! Yuup!