I guess it’s just time I give up.
I accepted a long time ago that the National Football League puts money above everything else so why should I be surprised by anything they do anymore? I’ve long been against the NFL hosting regular season games in London for the simple reason that I believe it’s unfair to fans of those teams who lose those games.
Now it appears that its only going to get worse. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today that the league will explore playing regular season games in Germany and China. These games could take place as soon as 2017 and 2018 respectively. With all due respect to NFL fans in those countries, this decision is again another slap in the face of the NFL fans who have helped build this league into the machine it is here in America.
Our reward is to see our teams continue to leave the country and play meaningful games in distant places and this is further proof that the owners are ‘all in’ on this as well. Translation? “Who gives a shit about the fans that made the game because we’ll make more money this way.” Even Pittsburgh Steelers’ President Art Rooney II is in favor of regular season games in other countries. If anyone were against it I though it would be him but I guess not. The draw of money is just too powerful.
So powerful that it trumps the monetary losses endured by hotels, bars, transit services etc. on that will miss out on one of their precious eight home dates. This is basically what US corporations do every time they ship jobs overseas. The good news I guess is that the teams will return while most American jobs do not. The economic loss is still felt though isn’t it?
A couple of years ago when the concussion issues where first emerging, I thought this was something the league could ride out and endure. Now I’m not so sure. I’m starting to think that playing more and more games in other countries is just the owners’ way of grabbing as much money as they can now before the game dies its slow, eventual death.
The reality is that by making decisions like this, Goodell and the NFL are actually hurrying the sport’s final days because they are alienating the very fans who made them what they are. Next time you hear owners talk about how much the fans mean to them make sure you call them out on it. If we meant that much to them they wouldn’t be hosting games in cities for which they aren’t named.