National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell said today that the Philadelphia Eagles will open the 2024 season on a Friday night in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Because one of their incoming opponents for next season is our Pittsburgh Steelers, speculation is running wild that they could be the choice. I’m of the opinion that I sure as hell hope it isn’t the Black and Gold.
For starters, Friday nights are for high school football. The NFL has a rule that games aren’t to be played on Friday nights for this very purpose unless the location is 75 miles or more away from a high school game. Apparently the NFL forgets that people have televisions. Fans would be forced to make a decision between attending a local high school game or watching the Steelers. High school football games are often the heartbeats of their communities and every ticket sold helps those programs. But this isn’t my only complaint.
Would the English Premier League play their regular season games outside of the United Kingdom? No, I don’t believe they would which is why they play many of their ‘friendlies’ overseas. These games are preseason games and I have zero problem with the NFL playing preseason games there or anywhere else for that matter. But regular season games belong here and for numerous reasons.
Let’s assume the Steelers are selected to play the Eagles in Brazil. What about all of those hotels, bars and restaurants in Philadelphia that are losing a gameday? Vendors and stadium personnel lose an opportunity to get paid as well. We are literally talking millions of dollars here but the NFL doesn’t care. They’ll make far more money for themselves playing out of the country. I understand Goodell’s desire to ‘expand the product’ but at what cost? Is alienating fans who’ve stuck by the NFL for all of these years really worth it? Clearly it is.
My stance isn’t about being ethnocentric or anything remotely like that. Football is America’s game and it’s been built on the backs of American fans. Until other major professional sports from other countries start playing their meaningful games here the NFL shouldn’t be playing anywhere but here. But I realize I’m wasting my breath.