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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on Soccer Central most Mondays and Thursdays on Rogers Sportsnet in Canada. I write a regular column for and and frequently guest on various podcasts and radio shows.


A Dozen Reasons Why The NFL Will Never Make It Outside Of The USA

Written by on October 29, 2012 | 8 Comments »
Posted in General

On Sunday at Wembley Stadium in London, England the NFL’s St Louis Rams played a regular season game against the New England Patriots before over 80,000 fans. The game turned into a nail-biting 45-7 win for New England and was the latest foray by the NFL to London. It was accompanied by the usual talk of expanding to the UK and European market with a franchise in London being the ultimate objective for a number of NFL power-brokers.

Surely any self-respecting North American based fan of real football (soccer) could not help but smirk at the groveling of the NFL as it attempted to ingratiate itself to the UK public and media.

Over the years, soccer fans have been continually goaded and  for more please click on the link.

8 responses to “A Dozen Reasons Why The NFL Will Never Make It Outside Of The USA”

  1. Alberta Gooner says:

    Great piece, Bobby. I was in London last week and it barely registered, at least on the media landscape. I can only imagine the logical and semantical contortions used to come up with that figure of 11 million NFL “fans” in the United Kingdom. I’m sure it has a small group of devoted followers but it appears far down the pecking order, at least in terms of the media coverage it attracts, from football, both rugby codes, cricket and athletics.

  2. John Bladen says:

    Most NFL broadcasts now take well over 3hrs, Bobby. They’ve even rejigged start times (used to be 1pm/4pm ET, then they moved the second game back 15 mins… now its 1pm & 4:30)

    If you count the winding clock time when there is no active play (as, to be fair, you do in our kind of football as well), you end up with well over 60 minutes of commercial time in a 3-3.5hr game. When I watch the NFL, I set the receiver to come on at 1pm, then come inside to watch at 2. Even rewinding a full hour, I am invariably caught up somewhere early in the 4th quarter. Now that’s marketing… not sport.

    The Will quote has always been one of my faves as well. Robbie Coltrane once likened US (high school) football to being like Rugby with all the pace and flow taken out of it.

    I enjoy both kinds of football (err, well, all three kinds I guess I should say), but they are very different.

    Sometimes the overriding factor for me is that I can watch an EPL match in less than 2 hours (most of the time). Even counting the beauty of PVR commercial skipping, it still takes nearly 2.5 to 3hrs to watch an NFL game.

  3. Ed Gomes says:

    You have to excuse the NFL in their over indulgence of self importance. Their least valuable franchise, Jacksonville, would be the 6th most valuable franchise in baseball.
    Having a club being run out of England or any other European city wouldn’t make financial sense. An European league has already failed once and that’s with decent numbers in Germany.
    I get holding a game in the UK or any other city in Europe, for marketing reasons. That’s all new revenue streams.

    As per the likes, that’s to each persons tastes. I do find it funny how people say you can’t be fans of both. I love futebol and football. I truly enjoy watching and following both.

  4. Rob says:

    Come on, Bobby. You are better than this. If you don’t like football(American) then don’t write about it. I say the same to commentators who write the same about football(proper). Its all about the competition and a sport is a sport.

    Honestly I went through each point and its obvious you don’t know American football. If you would like, I can go point by point and show why your arguments aren’t valid in any way whatsoever.

    Seriously, you are better than this.

    AG-It may not register(though my friend who lives there says he sees it in the papers) but how is that different than when Liverpool or United come here? If you don’t know, the local papers don’t talk about them either. Hell, Stoke and Newcastle have come to Orlando for consecutive years and the sports pages don’t write anything about them. Anything. That means nothing.

    Orlando has a good population of football(proper) fans too.

  5. Alberta Gooner says:


    Yeah, but the newspapers are almost all national over in Britian as opposed to what we have in North America, And the over-the-air broadcasters (BBC and ITV) only included it as a passing mention at the bottom of their sportscasts. It did feature a little more prominently on BSKYB but that’s down to a broadcaster promoting a product.

    I have no doubt that there are some loyal NFL diehards in England but I would suspect there’s one hell of a lot less than the estimate of 11 million. I would suspect soccer/football has a much larger fan base in percentage terms than the NFL does in Europe.

  6. Rob says:

    AG-I don’t doubt that, I was just making the point that whats in print isn’t always necessarily the truth. As I’m sure you know as your time spent in PR, hahaha.

    There is one reason and one reason only that the NFL would fail if they put a team over in London and that would be because the natives don’t play.

    Every point that Bobby brought up you have an equivalent in football(proper) or its not true. Kneel-down play(though don’t know anyone who celebrates it)-taking the ball to the corner….lack of attendance at a nfl europe game(less talented players)-lack of attendance to a league one or league two match…speed of rugby players being faster than NFL players just isn’t true at all. NFL has the fastest athletes in the world and even the “fat” ones are quicker than people realize…the “pads excuse” between NFL and rugby is so tiring. NFL players are on average over 6’3″ and weight about 230lbs so there is a necessity for the pads…and the list goes on.

  7. Alberta Gooner says:


    haha, yeah, it’s true that media doesn’t always reflect reality. And I agree the fact that the vast majority of Britons don’t play the sport also affects the reach of gridiron football.

    I agree the athleticism is the NFL is extraordinary, whether it’s a skill position or a lineman such as Suh or Ngata. I do think, though, if they were required to handle the ball and run as much as they do in rugby, they would need to change their training regimens.

    There is one other factor, though, and this is a personal hypothesis and based on reactions of friends and famly who live in Europe: the constant stoppages in play and commercial breaks.

    Most North American sports are shaped by television coverage and the constant breaks in play tend to irritate people accustomed to watching more free-flowing sports such as association football or either rugby code. Cricket does have plenty of breaks in play but you’ll note it is not nearly as popular on the Continent as England.

  8. Astronomer says:

    I had to do a double-take after reading Bobby’s provocative article, but then I realized that it was probably written in a tongue-in-cheek sense !

    I also think that the NFL would have difficulty in having a successful London franchise because of the lack of native player participation and the constant stoppages in play. (and associated commercial breaks).

    However, I would not rule it out completely simply because it is still an American cultural product and the rest of the world (including the Brits) have shown an inexplicable obsession with many characteristically American cultural artifacts (be it Hollywood movies, rock-n-roll music, American TV shows or McDonalds-type fast food).

    So it can prove to be an interesting experiment if the NFL does decide to plonk a franchise down on London.


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