After reading this article by Peter King and seeing that the Chiefs will possibly play a regular season game in Germany in 2008, I found myself debating in my head the pros and cons of the NFL expanding into Europe. Our very own GM Carl Peterson is apparently a very big proponent of NFL play in Europe and the dollar signs will point you in the direction of why he's so excited.
As we've noted many times here at AP, the NFL is first and foremost a business. Teams and the league need to make money in order to survive. NFL Europe and now talk of international regular season games is a way for the league to test the financial waters over the pond. Football in the United States has been at the top of professional American sports for probably ten years now. With the United States virtually conquered by football, I can just see owners salivating at the possibility of expanding the NFL to a global market. Although I understand the reasons for the NFL to market overseas (cough..cough...MONEY!) I certainly don't like it.
First, NFL games are scarce enough. Unlike the 162 game season of baseball or the 82 games of the NBA season, the NFL season is a ritualistic banding together of fans for one day a week, 16 times a year. Fans are already squirming in their chairs on Monday morning for the Sunday game. We already have a bye week where we don't have football for two weeks and I think I speak for all football fans when I say that the bye week for your team is absolutely boring, filled with anxiety and filled with a general "Can we please get back to football?" mentality. I know that an international game would still be televised but I'm not sure at what time or if we would even get to watch a game live. Please don't detract from another week of football, like the bye week does, by playing a game at 3 AM Central time or something equally ridiculous. I need my live football fix. Replays of games just don't cut it for me.
Perhaps the biggest problem I have with Carl Peterson and the league deciding on playing a game in Europe next year is that in this case, the Chiefs would be giving up a home game to be the "international host" for a Europe game. By playing overseas, the Chiefs give away one of our biggest advantages- home field. Does the benefit of spreading the NFL to Europe outweigh giving up a home game in KC? I am banging my fist on my desk right now yelling, "Hell no!".
From a Midwestern, American football fan to the NFL, please don't take my Chiefs games overseas. As a long time fan of the Chiefs, I could really care less about an NFL game in Europe. Maybe I'm a purist. Maybe I'm just selfish. But don't lessen the real fan's experience for a marketing adventure abroad.
Do you like the idea of the Chiefs playing a home game in Germany?
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