I saw the NFL die last night.
It happened in an ad.
It said “NBA Finals” in Chinese.
The most important thing for the NFL to do is become an international game. Why? More talent. American's can't be the only ones that could play this game well. Right now the NFL is only popular here. So, naturally, all of the players are from here. American kids watch football and play football. End of story. Oh you're from London? Mexico City? You get a game once a year between the two crappiest teams the NFL has to offer. Inspiring stuff, right?
Imagine an Olympics where the only competing country is America. It'd be absurd! If you want to have the best athletes in the world compete against one another you need to have the best athletes in the world. The NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS all feature international talent.
Can the NFL match it? Probably not. The game is tough to sell to on the international stage...
1. "American Football"
The name itself is off-putting, It’s called “football” here, but nearly everywhere else it’s AMERICAN FOOTBALL. By nature of being defined as American, there’s an unavoidable political connection. Not a supporter of America? You probably won’t play American football.
2. The Cost
Think of all of the equipment that football requires. Knee pads, thigh pads, jock, the pants to hold them, shoulder pads, helmet, mouthpiece. All of that would need to be purchased in order to play. Then you add the cost of multiple referees, first down markers, and field goal posts? The league has to convince kids to play and parents to pay. Setting up American football leagues ain’t easy.
3. The Rules
What’s an illegal formation? What’s an ineligible receiver? What’s a catch? Ok, no one knows what a catch is….but that furthers the problem. The game is complex. It would take a long time for communities to learn all of the rules that are a part of football. Why should they take the time learn when they already know soccer, baseball, hockey, or basketball?
4. That Whole Concussion Thing
Don’t forget about the health risks. Now that the NFL has acknowledged player safety, they would have to emphasize it in every country that they attempt to grow the game in. “We have this wonderful game for you! *whispers: It might damage your brain to the point of suicide* but BOY IS IT FUN!” A lot of parents are changing their minds about letting their children play this game. The talent pool in America could shrink up really fast and I'm not advocating to hide the risks involved here but some guys care and some guys don't.
Find an international star. Go get the next Julio Jones who was born and raised in England. Is there an Aaron Rodgers in Mexico? If there is .... now you've got something. Roger Goodell can wish in one hand and crap in the other. I know which hand gets filled first. RIP.