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CBSSports.com National Columnist

London? You'll pry the Super Bowl from our cold, dead hands


Bucs-Bears in October is one thing, Lovie Smith and Roger Goodell, but a Super Bowl? (Getty Images)  
Bucs-Bears in October is one thing, Lovie Smith and Roger Goodell, but a Super Bowl? (Getty Images)  

INDIANAPOLIS -- They wouldn't dare.

Right? They wouldn't dare give away one of the greatest American events, possibly the single greatest American event, to another country.

Would they?

That's the talk. Six days before Super Bowl 46, Colts owner Jim Irsay said that the NFL is considering holding a future Super Bowl in London. And that's despicable. And that's nothing against London. Never been there, but it's a fine place I'm sure. Historic. Beautiful. Nice people.

But not America.

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American football is a purely American sport, more even than baseball or basketball, two other sports invented here. Much more than baseball and basketball, to be honest. Baseball has taken root all over the world, from South America to Cuba to Asia. Basketball has spread even farther, with major professional leagues on six continents.

Football? It's played at a high level only in America. In England, football is soccer. In Canada, football is called Canadian football. In Australia, it's Australian Rules Football. In Asia ... I'm not sure they play football in Asia.

In America, we play football. We play spring football, with a game that's not even a game, and why? Because we love the sport. We obsess over college recruiting, we watch the NFL Draft. It's what we do. It's what we have. And the Super Bowl is the best football that football has to offer. We don't have much going for us some years -- the dollar could be down, the armed forces could be invading another country, the president could be saying something silly -- but we have the Super Bowl. And we have it every year.

Unless we don't. Unless they're serious about moving our greatest sporting event -- our greatest event, period -- overseas. Maybe you think I'm overstating things to call the Super Bowl the greatest annual event in this country. Other than a holiday, which is more a day than a thing, name something bigger, more uniting, more American, than the Super Bowl.

Email me. Put those answers on the message boards below. Because I'm all ears. Because for the life of me, I can't think of another event in America that matters more, that is anticipated more, that is enjoyed more, than the Super Bowl. Hell, you don't even have to be a football fan to enjoy it. Watch the game for the commercials, which sell for millions of dollars and which are created specifically for the game. Watch for the concerts, before and during the game. This year, Lenny Kravitz and The Fray will sing before the game. Kelly Clarkson will sing the national anthem. Madonna will put on the halftime show.

Where were you when Justin Timberlake exposed Janet Jackson's nipple? I don't know where I was, either, but I know where they were -- they were in America. Where were you when Whitney Houston sang the most goose-bumpiest version of the national anthem ever? When Adam Vinatieri kicked his field goal? When Scott Norwood missed his? When Santonio Holmes caught that touchdown pass?

Don't know where you were, but I know where they were. They were in the United States of America.

And it's OK to have national pride. Don't let the PC police tell you otherwise. Wanting the Super Bowl to stay in America isn't about hating anyone else. It's about loving ourselves, and that's allowed. Self-loathing is all the rage for some people, but not me. This country isn't perfect, it isn't close to perfect, but it's my country and I love this freaking place. That's OK to say, right? I mean, I'm not a jingoistic pig because I admit to loving my country ... and wanting the best single-day in event in my country to stay in my country.

Am I?

Of course not. And neither are you. So make yourselves heard, whether it's on message boards or radio stations or petitions or wherever people will gather to get the message across to the NFL that this cannot happen. That they better not dare. Were they not paying attention last year during the NFL lockout when this country was in full freakout mode? Football isn't basketball. The NBA canceled a third of this season, and people were fine. You know why? Because it was football season.

We love football like we love very few things in this country. We get to football stadiums four hours before kickoff, whether it's 0 degrees or 100 degrees, and we sit there and we drink and we eat and maybe, if we're lucky, someone nearby has a television fired up and there's another game to watch while we're waiting. We pay crazy money for tickets and parking and public-seat licenses. We wear our favorite player's number on our chest. We travel to other cities with no guarantee that we'll be able to score a ticket to watch our team play on the road, but we go there because we think we can, we hope we can.

You can say we take football too seriously in this country, and I wouldn't argue that. In fact, I'd scream that: YES WE DO TAKE FOOTBALL TOO SERIOUSLY IN THIS COUNTRY.



Sorry. I seem to have lost my composure there for a minute. But this idea, this story that broke Monday that the NFL is considering holding Super Bowl 50 in London in 2016, it's infuriating. Although each Super Bowl generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the host city, Irsay confirmed that there are "some members of our committee who have been thinking about having an international Super Bowl in London. That obviously has some real pluses and minuses if you weren't going to have it on America soil."

Pluses for England.

Minuses for America.

They wouldn't dare. Would they?

Gregg Doyel is a columnist for CBSSports.com. He covered the ACC for the Charlotte Observer, the Marlins for the Miami Herald, and Brooksville (Fla.) Hernando for the Tampa Tribune. He was 4-0 (3 KO's!) as an amateur boxer, and volunteers for the ALS Association. Follow Gregg Doyel on Twitter.

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