NFL

Goodell: London could support two NFL teams in Euro Division

By Sports Desk October 08, 2022

London could be home to two NFL teams if a European division of American football's premier league gets off the ground.

The NFL first started playing international games in 2007 with the goal of turning the league into a truly worldwide brand. Fifteen years later, commissioner Roger Goodell continues to field questions about the final goal of that effort.  

Could the NFL become a trans-Atlantic league with franchises in Europe? It appears the answer is that yes, it could, if not quite yet.

Speaking to fans on a panel with former players Osi Umenyiora, Victor Cruz and Maurice Jones-Drew, Goodell spoke positively about the possibility of an NFL franchise – or two – calling the UK home.

"I think there's no question that London could support not just one franchise, I think two franchises, I really believe that," Goodell said. "That's from a fan perspective, a commercial standpoint, from a media standpoint, I think you [the UK fans] have all proven that."

The Green Bay Packers will become the last of the NFL teams to have played a game in the UK when they face the New York Giants on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the second of three games this year in London.

On October 30, the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars will play at Wembley Stadium.

The NFL will also play its first ever game in Germany next month when Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Seattle Seahawks at Allianz Arena in Munich.

The panel's host, Neil Reynolds of Sky Sports, joked that the NFL should have an entire division based in Europe, an idea well received by Goodell.

"That's part of what we're doing, right?" Goodell said. "We're trying to see 'could you have multiple locations in Europe where you could have an NFL franchise?', because it would be easier as a division."

Despite the success of the NFL's International Series, the primary concern with its expansion remains competitive balance.

"The question I think is going to come down to, not so much the logistics about travel, that's clearly a challenge, it really comes down to whether you can do it competitively, where the team here or the teams in the States coming over can continue to be competitive, and that was the challenge when we did the regular-season games," Goodell said.

"There was a lot of concern with ownership when we first introduced it, and frankly it took the guts of the Giants and Dolphins that came out here the first time, they had to prove we could do it competitively.

"This is where it turned around [for the 2007 Giants] and they went and won the Super Bowl that year. That sent a message to everybody in the league – it's not going to damage your ability to make it to the postseason. Competitiveness is the key."

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