14 Apr 1996: William ''The Fridge'' Perry of the Monarchs blocks a tackle during the London Monarchs v Scottish Claymores World League of American Football game at White Hart Lane, Tottenham.
So let me get this straight: The league that can’t somehow fit a franchise in its second-largest city wants to expand internationally across the ocean? In other words, where the NFL is failing in Los Angeles it wants to succeed in London.
Despite Jerry Jones’ proclamation over the weekend that the NFL could establish a permanent franchise in jolly ol’ England, it’s a colossal waste of time.
“I think it’s very possible,” Jones told Sky Sports NFL. “Yes, I’m very much for it.”
I know it’s not all Jerry’s idea, but it’s his worst notion since drafting Quincy Carter.
The Cowboys may be America’s Team, but I’m pretty sure London’s “team” plays its games with a round ball and no hands. When Dallas visits London to play the Jaguars next Nov. 4, it’ll no doubt be an event.
But I went with the Cowboys for exhibition games to Tokyo and London and with the Mavericks for a game in Mexico City. Fans showed up out of curiosity, not of a desire to see it stay. Like one of those make-shift carnivals that sets up shop in a vacant lot of your neighborhood once a year. You like it. You go. You have fun. But you have zero desire for it to become a permanent fixture.
Aside from the obvious logistical nightmares of the London Monarchs traveling for a road game at, say, the Seattle Seahawks, there’s the inflated ego of the NFL and Americans pertaining to its game.
In my recent travels through the South Pacific I was amazed at how little Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia knew about our No. 1 sport. I saw several LeBron James jerseys, but none from the NFL. And the AFC Championship Game was on tape delay in Melbourne. When I asked our hotel concierge about a sports bar that might be showing Seahawks-49ers, he was befuddled before offering, “You mean … gridiron football? No, sorry.”
I’m always amused when an NFL player bellows “We shocked the world!” Because, to be honest, the world has no idea it’s involved, much less shocked.
The NBA expanded to Canada, but the Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis and the Toronto Raptors are one of the league’s forgotten franchises. Same with baseball, which ultimately moved the Montreal Expos to Washington and is left with the irrelevant Blue Jays in Toronto. Establishing a professional football team in England would also be a league biting off more than it can chew. Or, better, more than what international fans can stomach having shoved down their throats. Anyone seen the schedule for next year's NFL Europe? That's because it failed, disbanding seven years ago.
Not that the world would notice, but before the NFL considers expanding to London, it should finish expanding in America.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.