Posted on: October 23, 2009 6:54 pm

Football in Europe

There is a lot of talk around the NFL these days about playing more games in London. Currently there is one game a year played in London's Wenbly stadium by teams playing on the east coast, this year its the Patriots vs the Bucaneers. League commisioner Roger Goddell has also stated the probability of having an NFL franchise in London within the next ten years. From what I've heard most people think this is a bad idea, and there are obvious points they have made including:

1. NFL Europe failed fantastically, and they had a team in London
2. It isn't fair to teams in the US that are in the London's team division and have to travel to London once a season, every season
3. Better yet, it isn't fair to players on the London team that have to travel to the US and back on at least eight separate occasions every year.
4. The talent pool for NFL teams is already too thin in both players and coaches for expansion in general to make sense.

Another thing I've heard from most people is that the number of actual NFL fans in England isn't too big, but it does exist.
and what is the biggest sport of all time in England? Soccer! Of course that's soccer to us, football to them.

So what is a special aspect that the English Premier Leage has that no North American sport leagues have? A system of relegation and promotion. Basically, the English Football system has many different leagues with MANY different teams and they are in an order such that if your team wins its league that season, you are promoted to the next higher leage, all the way up to the premier league. If you come in last or are among the last, you get relegated to the league below you.

Of course, this isn't a major reason the English are obsessed with soccer, but its a very interesting concept. It never developed in the United States because sport franchises in North America were created as business investments by individual owners, while the soccer clubs in England and the rest of Europe weren't. The result in America were leagues with set teams with set territories in large cities that received talent through drafts. In Europe, much more emphasis is put on developing youth players rather than sending them through a college system like we do (although we have that aspect somewhat in minor league baseball).

NFL Europe was something of a minor league for the NFL. Several players started over there and became good players in the NFL. Although the intent was on producing an interest in Europe in order to one day place franchises in Europe, that idea clearly didn't work. Having multiple leagues on the other hand, all a part of the NFL, and have a system of promotion and relegation throughout the leagues up to one "Premier League" that plays its championship in the Super Bowl would make that event all the more thrilling. You can then place teams in Europe, and other parts of the world with some NFL interest (such as Mexico) and have them all play for the prize. That system would produce greater interest in those areas of the world and in turn produce more $$$$$ for the NFLs owners. It would even be nice to have an NFL sponsored "Amateur" league that allows anyone create a team in any town in the country and play based on a regional level, with you personally playing in a team that has a chance to move up to higher leagues.

An NFL system based on the English Football system doesn't seem practical, sure, and the owners probably won't ever consisder changing the system that exists now, but hey, these are the Ramblings of a MadMan....

Category: NFL
Posted on: October 10, 2009 4:38 pm


Hello World!
I decided that after a year and a half as a constant member of cbs sports to become a constant contributer to cbs sports. The reason: In order to broadcast my thoughts and opinions in the form of a a world that doesn't realize they want to hear them yet. Laughing

My first order of business is to make known to the world what only the not-so-numerous viewers of networks VERSUS and Mark Cuban's HDNet know: there is a new football league!

That's right! It has all the helmet-crushing action and drama as real NFL football and it is known as the United Football League.

But wait, there's more! The refs in this league wear red polos! (who likes zebra stripes anyway?) and the players are former NFL fan favorites such as J.P. Losman, Brooks Bollinger, Marcel Shipp, and Quinn Gray, to name a few (now you know where they went).

But I don't want to mislead you too much with my sarcasm, I actaully think it's a good idea.
Well, for one, its not arena football, which I never considered football anyways. I mean, it's a sport I always thought would would be loads of fun to play but was never really comfortable watching it. When you see football on tv during the off season and are just curious, it was a go-to kind of thing, but you had no idea who any of the players were and the announcers always had to explain the rule differences from the NFL. Seriously, who enjoyed that?

Comparison's will be made immediately to such leagues as the World Football League, NFL Europa, and the XFL, not to mention the aforementioned and now obsolete Arena Football League.

By the way, all of leagues failed.
What's to say this league won't?

The league was founded by Paul Pelosi, husband of House speaker Nancy Pelosi. The league has several new rules that are changed from the NFL that are controversial. An example is in the nfl, when a quarterback fumbles he is judged by whether or not his arm was in a throwing motion when the ball was loose. In the UFL, it is a fumble no matter what. In my opinion that's the better rule, since the quarterback looses the ball anyways. Not to mention it adds to a faster pass game thanks to not having time stoppages for review (and in a better way than the arena league).

But who couldn't love the XFL? With the wrestling mathes for possession and forced two point converstions that were only worth one point. Everyone believed it failed because it failed to find an audience, and that was obviosuly an issue. Another reason were financial issues, and the UFL has created a system where the league initailly owns half the team, and that is meant to keep the teams afloat if the owners go to far in bad signings and deals, and that's good security for keeping the league around.

Another thing to keep in mind: In 2011 the NFL Player's Union contract ends. Let's say there is a lockout and this league still sticks around. All of a sudden you'll have an established league with star power and an audience and who knows where it goes from there. I'm not making any predictions, obviously its unlikely to play out that way, but it will be interesting to see how it will play out in the end.

Try to catch some games and tell me what you think!
Category: NFL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or