A way to revamp NFL preseason, overseas games
MILWAUKEE - This week, the National Football League will feature a St. Louis Rams home game 4,190 miles away from the Gateway Arch, in London, UK.
The NFL's plan of one-or-two overseas games certainly has its merits, but considering issues of unfair home game imbalance and an over-extended preseason, the NFL could alter its plans to solve those problems, create more regular season games and expand the league's worldwide reach in general.
Next year, the NFL is bringing Vikings and Jaguars home games to London as the league considers possibly adding an expansion team, or moving a current franchise, to the British capital.
Fans in these home cities certainly aren't thrilled that they lose a home game.
Fans in all the compeiting cities (those previously listed, along with the Patriots vs. St. Louis and the Steelers and 49ers next year) aren't thrilled that they have to face overseas flights, and 26 NFL teams won't have to make the same sacrifice for the good of NFL market expansion.
Fans, players, and most involved in the NFL have complained about having four preseason games. That number of games is very unnecessary in determining player talent and who should make a roster.
There is a way that might be a solution to all those issues while expanding the NFL's reach, giving it a method to explore and grow new possible long-term locations and move farther beyond the saturated U.S. franchise market.
- Add a 17th regular season game, to be played in Europe, Mexico and other overseas locations, including some close to U.S. military bases
- Eliminate the final two preseason games in August/early September
- Play "Week 17" as the first week of the season, to allow for travel and rest time between the second preseason game and the overseas games, and between those games and the first regular season games to be played in the U.S.
- Make the game an interconference contest between teams in divisions they haven't played in two years, with specific opponent based on previous year's placement in the standings.
(Example: if it was this season, the Green Bay Packers would play the New England Patriots, as both finished first in their divisions in 2011, and they would not have played since 2010.)
- The plan expands the NFL's overseas reach
- It gives the proper rest time to players after long-distance travel
- It eliminates unnecessary pre-season games
- It allows every team to maintain eight home games
- It balances competition and makes every team play an overseas game
What would it look like?
Here's an example if it would have happened in 2012:
- Thursday, August 23 (teams would play 2nd preseason game on Thu. Aug. 16)
- 8:30pm ET in Mexico City: Houston vs. NY Giants
- Saturday, August 25 (teams would play 2nd preseason game on Thu. Aug. 16)
- 11:30am ET in Barcelona: Carolina vs. Cincinnati
- 11:30am ET in London: Detroit vs. NY Jets
- 3:00pm ET in Frankfurt: Atlanta vs. Pittsburgh
- 3:00pm ET in Manchester: Indianapolis vs. Washington
- Sunday, August 26 (teams would play 2nd preseason game on Thu. Aug. 16 or Fri. Aug 17)
- 11:30am ET in Berlin: Buffalo vs. Minnesota
- 11:30am ET in Dublin: Chicago vs. Miami
- 3:00pm ET in London: Cleveland vs. Tampa Bay
- 3:00pm ET in Rome: Baltimore vs. New Orleans
- 8:30pm ET in Mexico City: Green Bay vs. New England
- Monday, August 27
- 7:00pm ET in Tokyo: Kansas City vs.St. Louis
- 10:15pm ET in Beijing: Arizona vs. San Diego
- Tuesday, August 28
- 7:00pm ET in Sydney: Dallas vs. Jacksonville
- 10:15pm ET in Dubai: Denver vs. San Francisco
- Wednesday, August 29
- 7:00pm ET in Tokyo: Philadelphia vs. Tennessee
- 10:15pm ET in Seoul: Oakland vs. Seattle
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