A Super Bowl In London…Is A Super Bowl Lost!!
I am not playing Monday morning Commish here, but the news I received today about the NFL, considering moving an upcoming Super Bowl to London, was rather disheartening. You see I am a football fanatic and way before I became a sports writer, I was a football fan, and not just any old fan – I am a female fan. Years ago, I wanted to learn about football, in order to hang out with my then husband and his friends on Sundays, instead of making the drinks and asking questions about the plays. But after watching the 16 games over the 1992 season, I fell in love with the game of football and never looked back. Yes football got me cool points with my husband and his friends, but I realized now that the game became more valuable to me.
Before long, I was like a sports analyst knowing the terminologies, reading the scheme of the 4-3-Defense, crafting my own plays for the two-minute drills. I yell at the television just like the boys do, agreed with the penalties, as long they were not being assessed against my team. I even learned about the history of he game and knew players’ stats from memory.
So fast forward ten years later, divorced and a single mom of two sports loving teenagers. Football will always be apart of our lives as a family, and is one of the ways we spend most weekends from September through January.
After the 2009 NFL Draft, I began hearing rumors and rumblings, about the possibility of the Super Bowl going to London. Like any other post draft rumor, I went in search of the truth. I started digging deep trying to get facts from my friends in the business and even media sources. I began to weigh the pros and cons about the “novel” idea being presented by the Roger Goodell and his staff at the NFL office. But after all that deep thinking I came up with only one thought – plain and simple “the NFL must be stupid.”
The Super Bowl is an American product, an entertainment bloodline, a fan’s stress relief and a serious family staple that comes once per year. So today when a little birdie told me that the rumors were confirmed, as a fan I moved the fear and disappointment “Super Bowl yellow” to red alert. This devastating news will shock mostly all football fans who have watched this memorable event year after year – from media day to the commercials.
This relocation of this American iconic event is an insult to the average football fan that can not travel to London to witness “so-called history” in the making. It stinks for the fan that marks his or her calendar for this social event. Help me with this question Mr. Goodell, who wants to go to London to watch American football? Aren’t we all suppose to learn a lesson from this current recession and “buy American”. Well note to self Mr. Goodell – the Super Bowl is an all American.
We attend carnival in Rio, but have you ever heard of the organizers moving this Brazilian cornerstone to America? Speaking with true Caribbean pride, carnival in Trinidad is no way close to the clone of a show held every year in London town. The World Cup moves to different countries because it is the “World Cup”. So once again, I will pose the question “What Was Goodell and the Boys Thinking?” Football is not like soccer or cricket, where there is a great interest overseas because of successful teams stateside. A matter of fact the Toronto Raptors is popular in Canada because they are part of the NBA. Think about this NFL shift in location, didn’t the NFL try playing this tune before with the introduction of American football to the Europeans in the form of NFL Europe. NFLE as it was affectionately called was a brainchild of the former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue. The Euro-NFL never quite took off as it failed to pay for itself and left the NFL with a financial burden, when the league was cancelled a few years ago.
Americans are firm believers in their sports teams, and the average sports fan follows at least two or three major league teams. Most of my friends and colleagues cheer for teams on the east and west coast – AFC and NFC. They are Eagles fans, Giants fans, Dolphins fans, Raider Nation (fans), and yes Jets fans. They bleed the colors of their teams all year round and especially September through January.
The National Football League has managed to establish themselves as a trendsetter in marketing, advertising and product placement. NFL games on Thanksgiving is a marquee date on most family calendar across the country, Christmas Day games have proven to be some hard fought battles, and the ESPN Documentaries recalls the great ones – hell they are great.
In fact, NFL the Product was nurtured by the Commish Paul Tagliabue. To me, Tagliabue understand what made fans tick, he knew what player development programs would be a hit, he knew about business and he cared a lot about the fan. Tagliabue put the fun in the “No Fun League.” I am not knocking the new Commish Goodell, but I can’t believe he got this stiff upper lip going about the Super Bowl. Yes I am all for branding and widening the demographics, but the Premier League would never, never have a thought of playing the Champions League in America.
Commissioner Goodell, let us set a level playing field for the American fans. Let us bring back, tailgating, media day, super bowl parties and not to forget the thousand of enthusiastic volunteers to our home land. Not knocking the Brits either, after all no sports fan can be compared to the soccer fans in Europe – hmmm…did I say Europe.