This Sunday, the second annual NFL regular season game in London’s new Wembley Stadium will feature the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints. Last year the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins played in London amidst a driving rain storm and an unenthusiastic crowd.
I really don’t know why the NFL has decided to venture out into Europe for regular season games, especially between two teams who have absolutely no business making the trip. The Chargers crossed eight time zones to reach London while the Saints are the one team in the league who should never (in the foreseeable future) have a home game taken away. But the larger point is that American football has failed in Europe. The World League of American Football? Failed. NFL Europe? Failed. Through almost twenty years of trying to expand the empire, the NFL has failed to capture a consistent, interested audience on the continent (or in the UK).
I understand trying to expand the NFL’s influence into Mexico and Canada. They border this country, there are millions of people from those countries living between our borders and a trip to Mexico City or Toronto is no different than any other road trip in the NFL. The games at the Azteca Stadium have been extremely well supported, despite the playing conditions being pretty tough (with the elevation and pollution).