(Photos courtesy of the Carolina Panthers)
The NFL wants to expand to Europe … or, more specifically, London. That doesn’t mean it’s happening anytime soon. But if you believe commissioner Roger Goodell, it will happen.
And that’s OK by former NFL Europe quarterback Jake Delhomme, who went on to take the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII. He thinks NFL football would be “successful” in Europe, but he’s not thinking of London.
He’s talking Germany, where five of the six teams – including Delhomme’s former employer, the Frankfurt Galaxy -- were located when NFL Europe shut down in 2007. On The Talk of Fame Network’s latest broadcast, Delhomme didn’t exactly endorse the idea of going overseas … but he didn’t discourage the idea of setting up shop in Germany, either.
“I think it would be successful,” said Delhomme, who also played with the Amsterdam Admirals. “Toward the end of NFL Europe nearly all the teams in NFL Europe were there (Germany). But by that time it was becoming part of that culture. It will never surpass soccer, but by that time they had pee-wee football. They had little-league football. They had a form of high-school type football.
“The fans there were educated in that regard. So I think they’d have a good understanding. And that’s the biggest thing is getting them to understand the game.
“They do love their players. The fans get very wild and love to have a good time. You hear all the whistles at soccer matches, and that’s how it was for us in Frankfurt. They understood the game, and it was like they were blowing the whistles and things like that when we had the ball on offense. They knew when to get quiet, and they knew when to get wild.
“Now, is the NFL going to be global enough to place a team in London or place it some place in Germany? I’m not quite sure. I’m not sure how that would go over with some of the players. But I have a feeling that if they’re going to pay them they’ll go.”