This went somewhat un-noticed during all the media hype of the Olympics going on currently, and of course with the NFL preseason underway but NFL Commissioner Goodell told PFT’s Mike Florio that he wants the NFL to be an olympic sport. If you read through the excerpt below you can tell that he is quite adamant about finding a way to make it happen.
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about it as a fan, it has it’s good points and bad points for me personally. With the olympics being only 17 days long, you can’t exactly have teams playing every day in multiple heats to narrow down finalists so they’d have to have elimination tournaments before hand. Then you add in players not wanting to get hurt during the offseason for fear of career ending or season ending injuries.
Imagine if Ben Roethlisberger were playing for the United States and he blows out his knee. Talk about a SteelerNation outcry of epic proportions! Now more realistically, you could see the U.S. choosing college players rather than professionals from the NFL, which would be more fair to the rest of competition but if you listen to Roger Goodell, you get the sense that he wants his league in this and his players.
On top of all that, does anyone really think there’s any team in the world that could compete with the elite players in the NFL? If you think the dream team in basketball is dominant, imagine how the best of the best in the NFL would do, I don’t care who the competition is. It would be a slaughter of epic proportions.
Goodell talks about other countries playing football, but seriously nobody cares about it to the degree that the US fans do about their teams, and the fans across the pond who follow the NFL. Would the popularity increase; I’m sure it would but it’s never going to rise to the level that Soccer or “Futbol” is across the world.
For that matter, what would the players union say about it, and if you put the NFL in then you can make a case for putting in the WFA too. It’s too early to jump the gun yet on this but file it away for future reference because you just never know.
The point here is really that badminton is an Olympic sport and football is not. That seems, at least in the spirit of gladiating and whatnot, kind of ridiculous. Fortunately, change could be coming: Roger Goodell told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on the Dan Patrick Show Friday that American football should “absolutely” be an Olympic sport.
“Absolutely. We’re already taking steps to gain that IOC recognition,” Goodell said. “We have, I think, 64 countries that are playing American football now, and that’s one of the requirements. That’s been growing dramatically — I think it was 40 just five years ago.”
Naturally, no one in the NFL minds that this increase in worldwide football playing equates to many more people around the world wanting to purchase team-related merchandise. But the game truly is international (if you want a great example, see the podcast that friend of the blog Ric Silvestre does at NFLemPT.com, a Portuguese site dedicated to the NFL) and Goodell would love for that to be reflected in the international games.
Plus, look at what playing in the Olympics did for the NBA. Once pros started going to the games in 1992 with the Dream Team, the international popularity of the NBA absolutely exploded. And for Goodell and the NFL, joining the Olympics could certainly be a stepping stone to getting an international franchise in the league.
“Our point is just to keep growing the game,” Goodell said. “We’re having a tremendous reaction in London and the UK for the game of football, our regular season game over there is sold out again this year, we are seriously contemplating as early as 2013 playing two NFL games next season and I think we’ll do that. It’s a response to the tremendous fan reaction and the growth of the game. If we can continue to grow the game there and have the fan reaction that we have, there very well may be a franchise in London.”