With the Minnesota Vikings across the pond to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a battle of 0-3 teams that should be referred to as the “Wanker Bowl,” it was perhaps inevitable that players from both squads would be asked about the speculation that Roger Goodell and the National Football League would love to one day have an NFL team based in London.
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark sounded off on the issue, saying he’d “definitely retire” before signing with a team based in London. Vikings defensive end Jared Allen also expressed his views on both the probability of a team receiving adequate support by Londoners should a team be placed there and whether or not he’d be interested in playing for team in London.
Via an NFL Nation report:
“I think the fanbase could sustain it,” said Jared Allen, who came overseas to meet fans this spring on a promotional trip for the game. “But again, it’s a lot to ask for a player. Personally speaking, I probably wouldn’t sign over here because of the fact that every road trip is going to be three, four, five days away from your family. And then you start thinking, productivity-wise, about, ‘OK, now we’re going to play a West Coast game, and you’ve got an 11-hour plane ride.’ Logistically, it’s tough on players and family members and stuff like that, but obviously, it’d be fun as an experience, getting to hang out in Europe. But when you’re looking at a minimum of a six-hour flight every road trip, I don’t know.”
Odds are that most NFL players, if asked, would respond in a similar manner to either how Clark put it or how Allen addressed the issue, or more likely somewhere in between. The fact remains that the answer would probably be along the lines of “Thanks, but no thanks.”
The NFL, in all likelihood, will have to drag the NFLPA kicking and screaming to foggy London town. An unidentified Vikings player echoed that sentiment, reportedly saying, “”[commissioner Roger] Goodell will get his 18-game schedule before he gets a team in London.”
Ultimately, I guess the proof will be in the (Figgy) pudding as it relates to there ever being an NFL franchise based in London.
But as far as Jared Allen is concerned, I think I know what’s going on here. It’s not the travel, the inconvenience or being far away from family for long periods of time for Allen. It’s that he’s concerned the Brits would never be able to accept his mullet. And as we all know, that’s just how Jared Allen rolls.