|If it had its druthers, the NFL would make London a permanent franchise. (US Presswire)|
Proving again that some in the NFL power structure won't forgo the idea of making the game a truly international product, Patriots owner Robert Kraft continues to push the idea that the league should add a team in England.
Already, the Patriots have agreed to face the Rams in London's Wembley Stadium in 2012 and the NFL will continue to send teams across the Atlantic at least until 2016. The idea, as commissioner Roger Goodell said in October, is to build a following in the UK to “lead us to what we ultimately would like to do -- have a franchise here in London.”
Even if the players almost surely will hate the idea, Kraft is on board -- and he wants to see the league play two games per season in England.
"I personally think we should have a franchise in London and that is something I am going to push for," Kraft said, via Sky Sports. "I think I said that the last time we were over here in 2009 and before this next decade is out, I hope we have a team here. I think that would be right for the NFL and this fan base has proven they deserve it.
"I think we're starting to tap out in the United States. If you look at the last Super Bowl we were in this past season, we had over 180 million people watching -- that's almost two thirds of America. So for us to grow the game, we have to expand globally. Having seen the kind of support we have received here in London, it is the intention of the NFL owners to get two games here, starting next year.”
Kraft then joked that the only bad news he had was that the Patriots wouldn't be moving to England on a permanent basis, though he did say he wouldn't mind if his franchise became a permanent once-a-year visitor.
“We lobbied hard to come back after having such a good experience in 2009,” he said. “It was good for team bonding and everyone really enjoyed our last trip to London."
Well, not everybody loves hanging out in London. Am I right, Brian Urlacher?
"No, I'm not excited to go to London,” he said in June 2011. “I don't understand why they do that. ... I am not excited to go to London, I will say that. I can't imagine many players would be, considering the travel involved and disruption to their weekly schedule.”
Hey, at least it's better than an 18-game schedule.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.