While on a tour in London to promote the NFL International Series, which continues at Wembley Stadium on October 28, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft expressed his desire to see an NFL franchise in London within the next 10 years.
"I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for," Kraft said via Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports. "I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL and this fan base has proven they deserve it.
"I think we're starting to tap out in the United States. If you look at the last Super Bowl we were in this past season, we had over 180 million people watching -- that's almost two thirds of America. So for us to grow the game, we have to expand globally. Having seen the kind of support we have received here in London, it is the intention of the NFL owners to get two games here, starting next year."
Growing the game globally makes sense, but which team goes?
The St. Louis Rams are playing a home game in London over the next three seasons, but the Rams returning to the Los Angeles market makes far more sense, and should be a higher priority than moving them to London, even if owner Stan Kroenke is already invested overseas with Arsenal of the English Premier League.
I hate to disagree with Mr. Kraft, but I can't see how placing a team in London on a full-time basis makes any sense. The travel strain it would place on that club, as well as its opponents, is simply too great.
How will that club be able to attract and retain free agents?
Would it be based and train on the East Coast of the United States before traveling across the (very large) pond eight times a year to play its games?
If so, how would it ever be able to build a real connection to its London fan base?
Two games per year in the U.K. is fine. If the league wants to reboot NFL Europe, a much-needed developmental league, even better. But let's get a team in Los Angeles before we start looking overseas.