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The Blue & Gray Press | February 21, 2018

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NFL in London breaks tradition

Wembley-stadiumBy NATE MARKLE

Unfortunately, the chosen games for the international audience tend to not be particularly good ones, especially in London’s case, who has hosted a game each annually since 2007.

Potential London football fans who venture to these games are witness to poor examples of ‘jolly ‘ole American footy’. Sunday’s game featured two 0-3 teams, and in a couple of weeks, the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars will duke it out across the pond in what should be a lopsided contest.

The question is: why is the NFL forcing international play? As always, the answer is money. Imagine the capital the NFL could rake in should it become the International Football League.

The problem with this business venture is that it slights the fans and consumers that have backed the NFL brand since its inception.

Football surpasses baseball as America’s pastime, proved by the millions of fans tuning in every week to local high school games on Friday nights, dozens of collegiate games on Saturdays the NFL games on Sundays, Mondays and now Thursday nights.

Football is such a pillar of the American lifestyle that it is not just rubbing elbows with All-American apple pie, it is elbow deep in gooey, hot, golden apple pie filling.

Football is a support system of those who comprise America’s backbone. Just look to classic NFL franchises for proof.

The people of Pittsburgh are notorious for their blue collar, back-breaking work, which was integral in building this country’s infrastructure. No other sports franchise, or anything else at all, epitomizes those hard working individuals like the aptly named Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers are famous for their prolonged success, impeccable ethic and impenetrable defense, which are all things their fans can relate to, strive for, embody or root for.

To the west of Pittsburgh sits another famed classic franchise that means the world to its fans, the Green Bay Packers, who were also named for their city’s most popular endeavor: the packaging of meats, cheeses and other goods for sale.

This All-American franchise is more than just loved by its fans, the fans own the team.

Football means so much to the grounded, laborious people of Wisconsin that they personally take on accountability and responsibility for the conduct and direction of the team.

The love story of football and America is not one-of-a-kind. Other countries boast passions, such as soccer in Hispanic countries.

Who are Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, and the rest of his NFL cohorts to try and stuff a purely American game down the throats of foreign markets?

Football is a terrific game unique to the good old U.S., and there is something to be said for that.

Just look to Pittsburgh, Green Bay and dozens of other cities to see how much it means to the fans.