Which teams are scheduled to travel 14 hours overseas to play an important regular season game on foreign soil? There are fans who favor the international games, and of course there are fans who really feel that the NFL has no business sending its product overseas for a regular season battle. Where do you stand?
Until recently, I hadn't an issue with the NFL scheduling two teams to play an international game. However to me, there is a more logical choice that should be strongly considered when league officials decide which teams head overseas to entertain fans.
Now with labor disputes hitting the ceiling, and neither team owners nor the players' union being able to come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, I have taken a new stance on games played at an international venue: No longer should regular season match-ups be played on foreign soil. There must be a measure of give-and-take. The league wants to implement an 18-game season, and have an international game...or two?! No!
League officials wish to have their cake and eat it too, and I can only hope the athletes and their union will stand up against the league in either the 18-game regular season proposal, or an international game being played during the regular season.
I'm still not completely against an international game, however.
My solution, as stated earlier, is one that is quite logical. Perhaps too logical. Preseason games are fairly meaningless, and lack novelty. Depending on which preseason game it would be, the amount of starting players may be superfluous, or non-existent. If an 18-game regular season is agreed upon, it would make playing a preseason game overseas even more pointless.
Athletes complain of suffering mental stress from traveling halfway around the world -- depending on east- or west-coast teams -- and some cite physical strain from interruption of sleeping patterns, and adjusting to the major time difference. Teams traveling from the west coast to the United Kingdom for example, have to adjust to a nine-hour time difference! That's almost half a day! Not to mention the actual amount of time traveling, increasing from at most four hours, to approximately 14!
So here's the meat of the article -- the main course, if you will...the question and suggestion I offer to you, the reader...
Does anyone -- other than the players -- really care about where the NFL holds the Pro Bowl?
Ever notice when the media shows images of fans in the UK tailgating prior to an NFL International game, that nobody is wearing either team "A" or team "B's" specific colors? Instead, there's a nice variety of teams' colors...Buffalo, Miami, New England, Pittsburgh, the New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, and any other number of teams are well-represented.
My novel idea for the NFL: Hold the Pro Bowl wherever you desire...Ireland, England, France, Germany, Russia, South Africa -- wherever there are fans of the NFL, and revenue can be generated.
This ploy guarantees that fans will get to see representation of their teams by certain players. Of course not all teams may be represented, but a vast majority will. And it's essentially a meaningless game when it comes to concerns over potential playoff implications.
As it is, with the Pro Bowl taking place this weekend -- one week before the Super Bowl -- there are athletes who are excluded from participating due to being members of either of the Super Bowl teams. So why not hold the Pro Bowl at various overseas locations?
It's still NFL football, spectators now get to see those who have been deemed "the best" at their positions, it's generally a high scoring affair, and everyone has a good time!