We all know the NFL has a myriad of issues that they are trying to tackle right now, CBA, treatment of former players, treatment of concussions and many more but two that I wanted to focus on today are expanding the NFL season and international games. Now just to state my position on both subjects, I don't really want them to expand the season but I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world either. As for international games, I'm for them as long as they don't negatively affect the players for the remainder of the season or ruin my viewing experience. Now, not that the NFL really cares what I think but here's my thoughts on the easiest and possibly most effective way to accomplish both of these "expansions" in one bold move.
Expand the season by one game but make that one game an international game.
The main benefit of his system is that a 17 game season woudn't water down today's stats as much as an 18 game season and it would make a major statement to the international community that the NFL is serious about expanding it's brand. Another added benefit of this system is that no team would have to lose a home game, something I think all of us Steelers fan are quite passionate about. I've thought about different ways to accomplish this goal and here are the two ideas I've come up with:
1.) My first idea is to create an international weekend sometime during the NFL season where every game that weekend is played outside of the US. The league could put some games in Mexico, Canada or maybe even South America to appease us USA fans who need our Sunday football fix, but imagine the world-wide buzz they could create if ten or twelve games were spread all over the place in Europe, Japan, China, Australia or even Africa (I assume there are soccer stadiums that could accommodate right?). The buzz that weekend would create would be monumental in my mind. The biggest problem with this theory is how you work the bye week b/c as of now any team that travels "across the pond" gets a bye week immediately afterward and we can't have more than half the league on a bye at one time. My one real solution to this problem right now is to maybe split up "international weekend" into two separate weekends so that only five or six games are international at one time. That would limit the number of teams that need a bye while still creating some buzz with more than one game at a time.
2.) The second idea is a bit trickier but it basically boils down to one international game every week. That allows for each team to play one international game and you can space out the games so that a different market or country is highlighted every week. The trick again here is how you space out the bye weeks but I think if you made the stipulation that any team that leaves this continent gets a bye week immediately following, then it might work. It would take some massaging of the schedule each year but with a bit more work I think it's possible. The main advantage of this system over the first one is that it keeps the "international buzz" up all season instead of limiting it to one or two weeks a year and if there is a certain market that the NFL is seriously interested in, they could schedule more than one game per season there.
So that's my grand idea. My main goal was to expand the schedule, go international but at the same time, not make it an inconvienance to us fans here in the US. I'm sure we'd all go ballistic if one of the Steelers home games were moved to London or where ever but this system would allow the NFL to kill two birds with one stone without pissing off their already passionate fan base. Thoughts on whether or not this would work or how to improve either idea?