The Only Proper Plan For NFL International Expansion
Now that NFL Commissioner Goodell has come down squarely in favor of more regular season games in the United Kingdom, even discussing Glasgow and Manchester as possible sites to supplement the phenomenal Wembley Stadium, it is time to concoct a plan that would fit this "foreign expansion."
The Commissioner has gone down on the record as stating that the league would like to see a team in the United Kingdom, but that it would be a new team, not a moved one and that the regular season should have at least one and possibly two games that are currently being wasted on the pathetic preseason parade of second stringers added to the official results.
The basic problem with all of this is that the NFL is currently very well balanced numerically: Four teams in each division, four divisions in each conference. Adding one more team to this balance would be very awkward to say the least.
Of course with the Governator finally signing the deal to finally build the stadium in L.A. (although he hasn't figured out yet who's going to pay for it) it seems that there should be two new teams. Although it is possible to place one team in each conference, then you're going back to the time when some divisions had four teams and others had five. There is no reason why any team should have a 20% greater chance to win its division, so going back to this inbalance is not the best way to proceed.
The real answer (which, by the way, I'm hereby copyrighting, registering, trademarking, and assuring the NFL that I have a really mean lawyer who is going to go after them bigtime if they steal this without writing me a real big check) is...
A foreign conference.
Yes, you read it right. Not a foreign team, or division, but an International Conference... a conference of four teams. The International Football Conference, or IFC!
How the heck would that work?
Well, we currently have 32 teams, all located in the United States. Yet, that has to change. There is little doubt that the next few years will see some teams move. The Rams, the Jaguars, and the Bills are the first ones that come to mind. The Rams and the Jags will go somewhere else, most likely one of them landing in (pick one) San Antonio, Austin, Las Vegas, or of course Los Angeles.
The situation with the Bills, however, is much more difficult. Buffalo, NY is dead. Let's face it. It would make more sense to house an NFL franchise in Spokane, Omaha, or Cheyenne than in this rusty, desolate excuse for a city. The population of Buffalo today is about half of what it was when the Bills joined the original AFL. It was a good idea then, it makes absolutely no sense now.
Therefore we NFL fans all join the Wilson death watch as before his body is cold, the Bills will be history in Western New York. But they shouldn't go to the logical place: Toronto.
The current 32 teams have to stay in the United States. The Buffalo / Jacksonville / St. Louis / San Antonio / Austin / Las Vegas / Los Angeles game of musical chairs will continue to sort itself out, but without any effect on the International Conference.