Will Roger Goodell and the NFL Put a Team in the UK?

Paul TaylorCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Kregg Lumpkin #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts to break through the Chicago Bears defense during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

One of the highlights of the 2011 NFL season was the international series game at Wembley Stadium between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Won 24-18 by the Bears, this year's event marked the fifth consecutive season of bringing NFL action over to England. 

Before the Bears and Buccaneers took the field, it was confirmed that the NFL owners had agreed to extend the series through at least 2016. This included potentially having additional games added to the calendar during the next five years.

Any decision made along these lines will depend on fan support.  While not a sellout, the game was still played before 76,981 fans, the biggest crowd in England for any sporting event that weekend—including the Manchester derby between United and City at Old Trafford.

However, the main talking point from this year's event was the possibility of eventually placing an NFL franchise in England on a full-time basis.

While some people would consider this idea to be nothing more than an unrealistic dream, the NFL appears quite serious about it. 

Leading up to the game, there was even a reception at the Houses of Parliament for an announcement on a development in football relations between the UK and USA.

The NFL was represented by Dr John York, who is the head of their international committee and former co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, and now co-chairman of the team.

Being in London to cover the weekend's festivities for radio gave me the opportunity to speak to several key figures about their plans for bringing the NFL over here.

In general, people were very enthusiastic about the possibility of having more NFL action played in England.

While it is unfair (and unrealistic) to compare NFL fans to fans of other sports in England, it was still an enjoyable experience to find little hostility from anyone.  Everyone was willing to discuss the NFL.     

Below is a link to the report that I prepared for radio on the NFL's future plans for football over here in the United Kingdom.

Included are interviews with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, CMO Mark Waller, Sam Hurd and Tim Jennings of the Chicago Bears, Jeff Faine and Quincy Black from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fans outside Wembley Stadium.