— nfluk.com (@nfl_uk) September 25, 2013
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers meet the Minnesota Vikings in London, England in what has become the NFL’s annual version of an “international friendly.” Technically, the Vikings are the home team – the team’s owner agreed to sacrifice one of their eight home games as a combination veiled threat/silent protest over their decrepit stadium – but in reality the Steelers should enjoy the majority of crowd support.
Londoners are used to cheering for Big Ben, after all.
Besides, Steeler Nation extends not only from coast to coast but around the globe. If my google analytics are to be believed, my visitors span the globe from Mexico to China and from Norway to South Africa. Actually, if the Vikes wanted a home game, they probably should’ve played the game in Oslo. Despite the fact good seats are still available, the crowd should be a bunch of Terrible Towel waving hooligans.
Unless they’ve heard of Ryan Clark.
Clark, who never met a microphone he wouldn’t speak into, told reporters he would rather retire than play in London. Additionally, he told them a London based NFL team would never attract top tier free agents because he can’t see guys wanting to “have their families relocate to London.” Yes, because London is such a third world hellhole. They’d much rather live in Detroit!
To further the stupidity, he mentioned free agents might be adverse to “have[ing] their families educated in London.” Putting aside the hilarious notion that barely literate football players put a high value on education, has he checked the world rankings lately? The American educational system ranks 17th behind such luminaries as Poland and Belgium. England ranks 6th.
I guess there’s that language barrier to consider… Oh wait…
It’s no secret that Roger Goodell, once he’s done expanding to an 18 game schedule – while preaching concern over player health – and completely pussifying the game has his designs on relocating a team to London. Whether this is a feasible idea has been a subject of much debate. People have mentioned the lack of interest in American football overseas – and if the Steelers don’t sell out, nobody will – although I don’t see the bid deal. There’s no interest in NFL football in Jacksonville and yet they put a team there.
The travel issue is a legitimate concern. London is five hours ahead of Pittsburgh which isn’t terribly different than traveling out LA where they’re three hours behind. The problem comes when you play a balanced schedule and ask a team like Oakland or Seattle to make an 11 hour flight to England. That’s just killer.
Would a London team would have trouble attracting NFL talent? Of course they wouldn’t. NFL players don’t care where a team is located. All they care about can be summed up in four words: Show Me The Money.