Big news today out of the NFL, as the league announced that the Pittsburgh Steelers will play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday September 29th, 2013 in London, England. The game is slated for a 1pm Eastern kickoff which works out to a 6pm start in London.
Traveling abroad to play football is nothing new to the Steelers, as they have done played games outside the United States 8 times during their history. However it is important to point out this is their first time for a trip like this that includes a regular season game.
A case like this is a good news/bad news type of situation. I appreciate the league’s effort to try and encourage a type of football to a culture who’s version encourages letting the ball hit them in the face. And I can also appreciate the fact that the league loves money more than Mr. Krabs, so any chance they have to make more of it, they are going to do just that. More football fans means more football fans spending more money, and greed is good right?
But putting aside the financial benefits of trucking 2 franchises nearly 4,000 miles during the NFL regular season, what’s in it for the teams both good and bad?
For the Steelers, once piece of good news is that the home team are the Vikings. Which means they will still get their 2 preseason, and 8 regular season home games. This team struggles on the road, so giving up a home game could have had huge repercussions on the season. It’s also good news that since it’s an early kick here in the US, it won’t mean some kind of oddball start for the Steelers.
The bad news is it’s still a game in another country. It’s still a huge change of scheduling and throws them off their routine. I also understand that this is the case for both teams, so it’s not about a competitive advantage. But I think there is a strong chance we will see sloppy football, and where there is sloppy football, there is a chance of injuries. Not going to bang the drum on this, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
In the final analysis, this is largely a non-story. If I were a Vikings season ticket holder, I’d be pretty agitated, but as a Steelers fan living in the Midwest, who only attends games in my living room, I say play games on the Moon, I don’t care. However, I do care about bad football, and I do care about players getting hurt for the sake of making a buck off fans who are little more than window dressing for the league.
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