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NFL Redzone on Sky Sports: THE DEBATE.

This Thursday brought the announcement from Sky Sports that during the last three weeks of the season, the NFL RedZone channel will be shown in the 6pm slot as opposed to a complete live game, in addition to a full game at 9pm. For those not in the know, NFL RedZone flies around the league whenever the ball reaches the red-zone in a game, often switching between multiple games swiftly in an attempt to bring the viewer every touchdown, major attacking play and score.
This decision has split the NFL-viewing British public, and has even divided us here at Any Given Sunday (Night). In the blue corner, looking forward to a new way to spend Sunday evenings is David Dickson, whilst wholly disagreeing with the decision in the red corner is Jamie Cutteridge. Let’s take a look at both side of the argument:

 
FOR

 

David Dickson (Dallas Cowboys fan)

 
Now, some may argue that as a Cowboys fan, I have no business whatsoever supporting the use of the RedZone channel, especially those at the humiliation-fest that was this year’s Wembley game. It will only bring me false hope, swiftly followed by pain with an infusion of heartbreak and embarrassment as each touchdown by say, the Jaguars, flies into the endzone.

 
Allegiances aside, however, I am fully in support of Sky’s decision to include the RedZone channel in our Sunday-night viewing package. Yes, the loss of a full game will always rub some fans up the wrong way. But as we move towards the latter part of the season, we are veritably saturated with football on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. We will still be able to enjoy four games a week live, whilst enjoying every single score during the tightly packed 6pm schedule. We are blessed at the moment with exceptional coverage of the sport throughout the various channels, and we should look at the positives of this decision rather than being afraid of the changes it will bring.

 
For years I have enjoyed setting up the NFL website with every score at my disposal during the early games, like an amateur Jeff Stelling in my own living room. To have an entire television slot devoted to this, with the ability to view the actual plays themselves, sounds like a dream come true. To draw on the Wembley game once again, the effect on those 80,000 people was there for everyone to see. Rather than simply showing the latest scores as in recent years, the actual video footage on the big screens at the stadium brought cheers, jeers and gasps at every interval. If this can replicate itself at home, it will be a success.

 
In addition, we have to look at the decision in context. RedZone will only be in place during the last three weeks of the season, where every score around the league has an impact on the playoff situation. Whilst watching one game will be thrilling, I believe it will be thrice as thrilling jumping between several relevant and exciting games throughout the evening. We will all be right on the button, all the time, and the playoff race will be made infinitely more exciting with its introduction.

 
Finally, this has worked before. The multi-view capacity of Sky Sports during the Champions League has worked wonders, and the best feature of the entire package is the ‘Goal Alert’ feature, allowing you to view goals as they go in, at will. RedZone essentially completes this task for the viewer, without forcing Spielberg-esque directorial skills upon the fans at home. This particularly works on a night where you have little interest in a particular team that’s playing, and just wish to watch as a neutral, and let’s face it, during the latter part of the season, a fair few of us will doing that! Cowboys fans especially. It’s not like our game would be the feature anyway…

 
…but then again, neither would Jamie Cutteridge’s Titans. Over to you Jamie!

AGAINST

Jamie Cutteridge (Tennessee Titans fan)

Redzone coverage on TV? Dear me. This IS on in the States, but only on NFL network, which doesn’t have the right to NFL games on a sunday afternoon. Your average football fan doesn’t sit down and watch that for 3 hours, but rather chooses one of the many games on other networks and watches that. Sky made the comparision with Gilette Soccer Saturday over here, and I see what they mean. But why is Gilette popular? Yes, Jeff Stelling is great (and if he was presenting Redzone maybe I would be keen) but in reality, there isn’t an option as there aren’t other games on TV. You ask the average fan and I guess they’d much rather watch a full game.

I understand why they’re doing this at this stage of the season as well. A lot of the games going on will have crucial playoff ramifications and Redzone does present a good way to keep up with multiple games. The thing is, how possible is it to keep up to date with all thats going on at once? Redzone say they can show 4 games at the same time, well I’d rather just watch one properly rather than 4 tiny screens. When I’m watching a 6PM game I like it to have all of my attention, sure, normally I have the NFL website open next to me, in the same way when I’m at a football game I keep up to date with other scores on my phone, whilst still concentrating on one game!

Part of the joy of the NFL is that you get to see a team struggling, a defense containing a top class running back, and sacking a quarter-back. In Red-zone, there’s no space for this. As fans we will be bombarded with offense-driven action, as teams pile on points, we might get to the see the odd goal-line stand, but more impressive is a defense stopping a team further upfield. I feel redzone takes away a lot of the drama as well, rather than seeing a team  start a drive from scratch, you’ll see the last parts of it, when a team has already found their rhythm, rather than scrambling for those early first down. Redzone will also not show the big plays live. The interceptions returned for touchdowns, the deep passes when the wide reciever destroys the corner back or the running back finding a gap and taking it all the way. We’ll get to see a game as points are ready to be scored, missing so much of the drama. In the same way that football fans will always prefer the drama of a full game to the nicely packaged highlights of Match of the Day, NFL fans revel in the mundanity of a 3rd down stop or the explosiveness of a big punt return.

To be honest, I feel a little bit patronised by the decision. It feels to me as if Sky are saying that we little UK-based fans can’t handle the full 3 hours of a live game (in their prime slot) and instead need to watch a watered down version of it. It doesn’t give fans any credit that maybe they have some interest in the game other than seeing Tom Brady throw one in from 15 yards. Part of what I’ve loved about the UKNFL coverage is being able to chat about the entirity of the game, and all the stuff outside of it (such as Brady’s hair) in the redzone coverage, it will merely be watching teams put points on the board. From our interaction with you guys I can fully say that UK-based NFL fans will not get enough credit in this decison, you’re dedicated and love the whole game. The first half of the Wembley game this year was amazingly low scoring with very little redzone action. Were people complaining, booing, leaving, no, becasue they realised that this sport is bigger than the 20 yard section at each end of the pitch.

In many ways, Sky’s decison serves as no more than providing a 3 hour advert for it’s full game coverage to follow. For those that have never watched NFL, it is probably an easier way in, rather than watching a full game, but rather than rewarding their loyal fanbase, Sky have made a choice to get more viewers, understandable, but at the same time, in my opinion, wrong. I’m sure Redzone will be entertaining, but so is the full match!

Others like me are still annoyed that the choice of multiple matches is no longer on the red button, in taking away another game, Sky will anger some more. And perhaps the red button is the answer here. For those that want to keep track of other games or try to get into the sport, stick it on there, for others like me, leave us alone.

I disagree with Sky’s decision and my Sunday night’s will be spent with an online stream on one window, and the NFL website on another.

That’s what we think, but what about you, please comment below with your view on Sky’s decision. Will it impact your viewing? Will you look elsewhere to watch a full game? Or have Sky made a decision that is going to enhance your sunday night? Let us know.

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Midseason Roundup – The Off The Field Soap Opera

For the first ten weeks of the NFL, the on-field action has been action-packed and wildly unpredictable. Perhaps the most predictable part of the season so far has been the inevitable controversy off the field, with coaches fired, players arrested, and a certain wide receiver embarking on a personal quest to score a touchdown for every team in the league within a season. Here’s a look at what has shocked the more naive fans of the NFL so far this season…

Randy Moss’ Incredible Journey

 
One of the greatest wide receivers to ever grace the game, Randy Moss spent the first four weeks of the season at the New England Patriots, but committed the ultimate sin from the first week in trying to be bigger than a team under the rule of General Belichick. Telling CBS Sports (and more or less anyone that would listen) that he ‘didn’t feel wanted’ in New England, Moss started the season with few catches before being rewarded with the trade he desired. He would return to the Minnesota Vikings, the team he built his career at for seven years, starting in 1998 until he left for the Oakland Raiders in 2005.

 
Trades happen in the NFL, even unpredictable big ones like this. What doesn’t happen too often, however, is that after such a big trade, the player is then waived four weeks later. But there aren’t too many players like Randy Moss. He swept into Minnesota on a wave of media attention, before a four week rollercoaster of chaos ensued. Moss started well, catching a touchdown in his opening game, but proceeded to make only thirteen catches in his four games for the Vikings, and became more of a royal pain in the horns for Vikings fans as opposed to a star catcher of the football. He criticised the food in the camp, slated his teammates and coach, refused to speak to the media (incurred a $25,000 fine) and spoke endlessly about his desire to return to the Patriots, where all was good and holy. After a month in Minnesota, coach Brad Childress reached his wit’s end, and Moss was waived.

 
Month number three of the season meant team number three for Randy. The only team who felt they could deal with Moss’ tantrums in the waiver jumble sale were the Tennessee Titans. With Kenny Britt injured, the Titans clearly felt Moss had something more to offer in the coming season. These feelings might prove misplaced, since Moss caught only one pass for 26 yards in his opening game against the Miami Dolphins. What happens next, who knows…

 

Destruction in Dallas

 
It always seems that the Dallas Cowboys rise to the top of the bookies’ tips for the Lombardi trophy at the beginning of each season, before usually letting down their faithful come the playoffs. However, Cowboys fans could have been forgiven for holding out some hope in 2010. A triple-pronged running attack, a quarterback ready to finally fulfill his potential, a collection of star wide receivers and a powerful defence placed the Cowboys at the top of the teams-to-beat in most eyes at the beginning of the season.

 
Even by Cowboys standards, the self-destruction of their own hype came spectacularly early in the first ten weeks of the season. Despite unfortunate moments such as Tony Romo’s (borderline) season-ending injury, much of the criticism around the winless Cowboys Stadium centred around coach Wade Phillips (their only win in the first nine weeks came in Houston in week two). When a coach is criticised in Dallas, the leading man in the ensuing soap opera is Dallas’ very own JR, owner Jerry Jones.

 

No off-the-field review would be complete with a comprehensive review of Jerry’s thoughts on his team’s season. The only issue up for debate is whether Jones really counts as being ‘off the field’, since when things go wrong, he’s usually prowling the sidelines, spouting nuggets of wisdom to smiling-and-nodding defensive tackles half his age and six times his weight.
When things started to go wrong in Dallas, Jerry stayed behind his coach. After a late defeat to Tennessee in week five, Jones would not even entertain the idea of ridding Dallas of Waddlin’ Wade. After a week six defeat to the Vikings that left the Cowboys 1-4, Jones still stood by his man. Even after a humiliating defeat at home to the witless Jacksonville Jaguars that left the Cowboys, Jones was ‘not in any way’ ready to sack Phillips. Only a complete crushing by the Green Bay Packers shook Jones into action. General Manager Jimmy Johnson wielded the axe on Jerry’s instructions, and Wade was evicted from Texas, probably with the same expression on his face he seemed to display come touchdown or pick.

 

National Flippin’ Lockdown

 
Fred Davis. Gerard Lawson. John Gill. Fili Moala. Braylon Edwards. Bret Lockett. Dwayne Jarrett. Pat McAfee. Jerramy Stevens. D.J Williams.

 
No NFL season would be complete without its superstars being arrested for a variety of misdemeanors. McAfee was nicked for allegedly swimming in a canal whilst ‘publicly intoxicated’, whilst Prisoner Stevens was cuffed for possessing cannabis with intent to sell. However perhaps the most common name in the list above is that of Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards.

 
Edwards has been arrested so many times in the past few years, they may as well leave wanted posters up throughout New York all the year round. Speeding violations are the usual ticket; as recently as 2008 Edwards was caught doing a Vettel-esque 120mph in a 65mph zone in the city. This time last year, Edwards was busy assaulting party promoter (and mate of Lebron James) Edward Givens in a New York nightclub. This season, our favourite con has downgraded to simple drink-driving. After police pulled over his car for having ‘overly-tinted’ windows (!), Edwards was found to be twice over the legal limit for alcohol, and was arrested. All of this despite the fact that the Jets have their own chauffeur service for any of their players, 24/7, due to other incidents involving their players and a few too many over the years.

 
Despite all this, the Jets were happy to play Edwards in a grudge match against the Dolphins later in the week. Maybe, unlike Moss, some players are bigger than the team…
So, the NFL has had it fair share of headlines so far this season. We have gone through this entire article without mentioning Tom Brady’s hair, Rex Ryan’s weight loss and the fact that the population of the Vatican City regularly fills Jacksonville’s stadium week-in, week-out. We’ll save that for Week 17.

 

David Dickson.

Midseason Roundup- The AFC

10 weeks into the season and the league is starting to take shape. It’s been  a crazy ride so far, and if the previous weekend is anything to go by, this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Pre-season a lot of the focus was on NFC teams (Packers, Cowboys, Saints), whilst the favoured AFC teams (Jets and Ravens) were seen if solid if unspectacular.

The early weeks of season however were dominated by the AFC as teams such as the Titans, Steelers and Colts picking up impressive wins against some of the strongest teams in the NFC seemed to prove pre-season predictions false. With teams picking up impressive wins all over the place, picking playoff teams, let along superbowl contenders, from the AFC seemed impossible, but over the recent weeks the NFC have bounced back, giving the playoff picture a bit more shape, and maybe evening up the competition between divsions.

The Top Teams and Playoff Picture

The two teams with the best record in the AFC sit utop the AFC East. The Jets and Patriots both hold 7-2 records and look impressive. In the last couple of weeks the Jets have sneaked two wins in overtime whilst on Sunday Night the Pats posted possibly the best team performance of the season to seal what could be a defining win over the Steelers. The Pats team has a youthful look to it after losing Randy Moss, but Tom Brady is doing a fine job of leading this time whilst Bill Belichek has done what he does best in creating a team better than the sum of its parts.

In the AFC South, as one would expect the Colts are on top, once again led by perennial MVP contender and future hall-of-famer Peyton Manning. Numerous injuries across their offense however means that they haven’t been perfect and have suffered 3 losses to teams they would normally expect to beat. Behind them the Titans have the talent to push them close, but despite adding explosivity to their offense in Randy Moss, failed to shine at the weekend, suffering what could be a crucial defeat to the Dolphins. There are plenty of matchups between these divisional teams and the Jaguars and Texans will fancy their chances of a playoff push.

In the North, the Steelers and Ravens look set to battle all the way to end for the divisional title after disappointing defeats in week 10, both sitting on 6-3 at this point. The Steelers started impressively, despite losing quarterback Ben Rothlisberger for the first 4 weeks but were disappointing on both sides of the ball in their weekend loss to the Patriots. The Ravens seem to have changed identity from last season. The traditionally strong defense have struggled, whilst a solid if unspectacular offense have blossomed with a raft of options for Flacco to aim at, and the option to hand it off to Ray Rice.

Surprises/ Disappointments

Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the year have been the Cincennati Bengals, last years AFC North winners seem to have lost any kind of defense, and despite adding Terrell Owens to their roster are yet to explode on offense, with running back Cedric Benson a particular disappointment.

The madness of the AFC West perhaps deserves a blog, if not website of its own. Pre-season Superbowl contenders San Diego Chargers, despite Phillip Rivers being on course to break all kinds of records, have suffered their traditional slow start, hampered by an abysmal special teams unit, and sit on a disappointing 4-5 record. Ahead of him, are the two surprise packages, the Kansas City Chiefs, who with an offense led by Matt Cassell have improved steadily and have a real shot at the playoffs. As, shockingly, do the Oakland Raiders! The traditional joke team of the league have upped their game and have found an ability to hold onto the ball, play solidly, and punish mistakes. Despite being a laughing-stock before this season, if Tom Cable guides this team to the playoffs, he is a hero!

Standout Players

More so than the NFC, the AFC has been dominated by the offensive side of the ball, in particular, the Quarterbacks.

Peyton Manning-Despite suffering injuries to key offensive targets such as Joseph Addai, Dallas Clarke, Austin Collie and Reggie Wayne Peyton has once again found a way for his team to win games. Their offense may not have been as spectacular as in recent years, but Peyton has done what he does best and lead an offense that continues to cause problems for defensive co-ordinators and win games despite a defense that has once again struggled.

Phillip Rivers– Lets face, for the most part the Chargers have been poor this season. They’ve managed to lose games that they looked to have won, and their special teams unit have barely functioned. Despite this, the team lead the league in yards, and quarterback Phillip Rivers is on course to beat Dan Marino’s 26-year old record for regular season passing yards. Similarly to to Manning, this has been in the face of injuries or absences to key targets Antonio Gates, Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson.

Arian Foster- A surprise this one. At the start of the season, Arian Foster wasn’t even expected to start for the Houston Texans, but after week 10, and despite starting one game on the bench, Foster is having a breakout season. He leads the league in rushing yards (920), rushing touchdowns (10) and also has over 300 recieving yards and a touchdown, a dream for fantasy owners! This is even more impressive if you consider that the Texans are traditionally a pass-first team, with one of the best targets in the league in the shape of Andre Johnson.

Championship Prediction

It’s really open but I’ve got to go with the quarterbacks that are leading winning teams, despite coming up against some good defenses, we are going to see Brady and Manning facing off once again, with the Patriots beating the Colts. If this is going to happen, it makes this sunday’s game between the two even more mouth-watering!

Jamie Cutteridge

Midseason Roundup – The NFC

When the season started, and for the first few weeks, the AFC looked to be vastly superior this year. The NFC’s pre-season Superbowl picks (the Packers, Vikings, Saints, Cowboys) were all stuttering a little bit, while the top dogs in the other conference were playing very good football. As the season has progressed, however, it has started to even out. Lets have a look at whats been going on:

The Top Teams

The Atlanta Falcons are sitting atop the standings in the NFC with a 7-2 record, then there are a wealth of 6-3 teams: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints & Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and all are looking like very good football teams.

The Surprises

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have impressed me a lot so far this year. They have a solid QB in Josh Freeman who has everything but experience as a starter in the NFL, and some good young playmakers on offence. Their emergence is a big part of the competitiveness of the NFC South, where the Falcons, Saints & Bucc’s all have a good chance of making the playoffs. Atlanta’s home record in the last 2 years (18-1) is quite daunting and if they win home field advantage going into the post-season they could be very tough to stop.

The Cowboys have stunned everyone this year in the first 9 weeks of the season, going 1-7. The talent on their roster is not in doubt and for their season to be over at this point in the year is nothing short of disastrous for them. They recently fired head coach Wade Philips and will be hoping to gather some momentum towards the end of the year to put some smiles back on the faces of their fans.

We have to mention the NFC West here too, which is an unusual division due to the fact that a team with a losing record could realistically make the playoffs this year. The 49ers, tipped by some to go far into the playoffs this year, were terrible in the first 6 weeks of the season. They went into week 10 with a 2-6 record, yet could still make the playoffs. The improved play of the Rams, thanks to Sam Bradford’s emergence as a rookie QB & star of the future, has them pushing for a playoff berth as well. With a 1-15 record last year, that would be impressive.

The Standout Players

Clay Matthews – Green Bay Packers OLB – The second year linebacker has been a monster in Green Bay’s defence this year. He leads the league in sacks with 10.5, and if you get a chance to watch the Packers any time soon, watch the speed with which he flies of the edge. He’s a none stop, high motor guy and a pleasure to watch. With some big injuries to key players, Matthews has stepped up and is a driving force on this team.

Roddy White – Atlanta Falcons WR – White has 934 receiving yards (2nd in NFL) and 7 TD’s (tied 5th in NFL) so far this year. He’s a dominant down field threat and a huge contributor to the Falcons 7-2 record. He had 2 TD’s and 138 yards in a big week 10 win over the Baltimore Ravens, which included a 33yd TD catch with 20 seconds left on the clock to win the game. Big time playmaker.

Michael Vick – Philadelphia Eagles QB – Vick leads the NFL in passer rating after 10 weeks with 115.1. He missed several games with an injury he picked up in week 4, but when healthy & on the field he is arguably the most dynamic offensive weapon in the NFL. He looks every bit as fast as he did when he played in Atlanta, and with the improvements in his passing game (1350 YDs, 0 INTs, 11 TDs in 153 pass attempts) it’s easy to see why NFL pundits all over the league are hailing him as one of the best QB’s in the league on his current form.

Mid-season NFC Championship Picks

I think it’s going to be Packers against the Falcons, with Atlanta going to the Superbowl.

Andy Stuart

Thanks, But No Thanks: Why a London NFL Franchise Isn’t Such A Good Idea.

“I think the next step will be multiple games (in Europe). And if that’s successful then I think the idea of a franchise here is realistic.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell – October 31st 2010.

A lot has changed in the last four years for a fan of American Football in the UK. We have shifted from gazing, bug-eyed, at Channel 5 in the early hours of a Monday morning at a game thousands of miles away, all the way to hosting four of our very-own regular season match-ups, welcoming future Superbowl Champions and MVPs to future hall-of-famers onto Wembley’s hallowed turf. What began in 2007 as a novelty is now an annual celebration of the UK’s love affair with the sport, and the reputation of the UK’s own fans in terms of commitment and knowledge of the game has grown exponentially worldwide.

 
As with any successful business venture, the man at the helm of all of this seems eager to capitalise, and further the spread of the NFL brand outside of the US. The idea of multiple games in Europe has been mooted since the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers fixture in 2008, and would seem a certainty for next year had it not been for the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiration causing a probable lack of an NFL season at all in 2011. After seemingly rubber-stamping the multiple games in the future in recent interviews, Goodell has begun to entertain the idea of an entire franchise in the UK. Somewhat unthinkable four years ago, the notion has left fans in this country split on several issues surrounding an expansion franchise in their own back yard, with the line drawn between consuming all the football we can as a nation, and what would be best for the future of the game in this country and indeed the sport itself in the US. What may surprise Commissioner Goodell is that a large amount of comments from fans via Internet streams and television in this country stray towards being opposed to the idea, and there are several good reasons for this.

 
Firstly, any new team, anywhere in the world, in any sport, needs new fans. The vast majority of NFL fans in this country already align themselves with a team, for possible sentimental reasons if not geographical ones. If the league is expanded to incorporate a London franchise instead of a current team shifting location over the pond, the willingness of fans in the UK to automatically shift their support to their ‘home’ team will be severely tested. Incorporated within this issue stands the fact that, of the 85,000 regulars at Wembley Stadium in the last four years, a fair proportion have no sense of belonging to the identity and moniker of ‘London’ at all. Many travel from other areas of Western Europe, many from other areas of the UK, and not only may these NFL fans not find the desire to support a franchise in London, but may actually see the London team as a ‘rival’ to the teams they have supported all along. Roger Goodell may have underestimated two major factors: the fact that a large amount of European NFL are fanatics of their US teams already, and despite the UK being a smaller landmass than the homeland of the sport, local rivalries still apply as much as they do in the US. The idea of a London franchise being fanatically supported by all of Europe seems optimistic at best.

 
Even if a London franchise is able to gain a fan-base on its introduction to the NFL, a more difficult challenge would also lie ahead to maintain such a fan-base, once the novelty of regular live football in this country dies away. Compare the case to that of Wigan Athletic in the English Premier League. Promoted to the top-flight in 2005, their inaugural home game against reigning champions Chelsea sold out the JJB Stadium, a venue largely intended for rugby league in a town obsessed with the sport. Since the novelty of playing at the highest level has worn off in recent years in a town that cares little for football, their attendances have dwindled, leaving the stadium flooded with empty seats on an average Saturday. A similar scenario for a London-based franchise would be disastrous in terms of the image of the game in this country and the financial stability of the franchise itself. London is currently proud of its recent history in selling out regular season games at Wembley and creating an atmosphere that players enjoy playing in whilst looking and sounding good on television in the US. A half-filled stadium, similar to that seen in Toronto for the struggling Buffalo Bills recently, would make a mockery of the hard work UK Managing Director Alistair Kirkwood and all fans in the UK have indulged in to build the reputation of the game overseas.

 
Whilst speaking of financial implications for the franchise, there is also a notion Goodell must consider the financial implications for the fans in this country themselves. Tickets for each Wembley game range from £55 to thousands of pounds for the box seats, leaving fans far more out of pocket than the majority of soccer matches would in this country. Many fans are even questioning whether they can muster the financial resources to attend a second game within a season at Wembley, therefore the idea of eight home games in four months, combined with travel from all over the country/continent, seems an unfathomable one. A franchise continuing in spite of this may leave fans disillusioned with the idea, leaving stadiums unfilled, the team unsupported and, in turn, the franchise unsuccessful.

 
Finally, on a slightly more sentimental note, NFL fans in the UK have their own tradition in watching American Football. The tradition is a world apart from the US, but is a tradition all the same. We don’t go to games, we don’t go to tailgates, and we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving around a triple-header. But we do gather on a Sunday night for nine hours of football, we do stay up until 5am to watch our teams and then go to work on a Monday morning, and we enjoy the exoticism of supporting and watching teams in cities many of us have never, and may never, visit. The International Series has become a welcome part of this tradition in recent years, and has been overwhelmingly accepted by fans in this country as a way to become further in touch with the sport itself. A franchise of our own, however, may be a step too far. Under-supported and devalued, it may even serve as a detriment to the traditions that we currently indulge in, taking away our cosy Sunday nights of football and replacing it with what may be just a pale imitation of the real thing seen across the water.

 
Keep bringing us regular season games, Mr Goodell. In fact, you can even bring two. If you feel that way inclined, you are certainly welcome to even bring us a Superbowl. But as far as a franchise goes, I would personally appreciate the offer, yet say thanks, but no thanks.

David Dickson.