“Don’t See the Realism”: NFLPA President Pours Cold Water on NFL’s Huge Plans to Expand International Horizons With 4 More Teams

Published 04/01/2023, 2:17 PM EDT

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Back in 1920, fourteen teams came together to form the American Professional Football Association (APFA) now known as the National Football League (NFL). The NFL has constantly kept growing over the years, reaching the enormous stature it has today. However, the NFL is not done as the league intends to take the game to the global stage. Europe has appeared as one of the most lucrative destinations for the NFL to expand, as reports of the Jacksonville Jaguars potentially moving to London have been constantly doing the rounds. However, there are a few challenges in front of the league and the NFLPA President doesn’t like the lack of realism behind the idea.

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The journey began in 2007 as the NFL played an international game nearly every season since the NFL International Series began. Since then, the league has been looking for an opportunity to create an international division in the coming years. The league however needs the blessing of its players to take the next steps, and the NFLPA President feels that might be the biggest challenge going forward.

The biggest challenge to expanding

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Just last season, the NFL had five international games, three in London, one in Germany, and one in Mexico. The groundwork for an international expansion is been laid down slowly by the NFL, however, NFLPA President believes that the players might get in the way.

During his appearance on the ‘Pat McAfee Show’, former Green Bay Packers veteran and the NFLPA President, JC Tretter offered his views on the expansion program.

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You say it’s a certainty, I don’t know how it works. Like I don’t know guys that would be willing to do that,” said Tretter.

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Tretter feels that most NFL players would not be open to relocating across the world, “There’s plenty of guys that live in California but play in the East Coast and miss their families, miss their kids, miss their parents. I can’t imagine many guys would sign up for going across the pond and being that far away from their families half the year, pay higher taxes, deal with all of the logistical challenges.

According to Tretter, getting free agents would be the biggest challenge, “Again when you talk people I just don’t see that there’s going to be many guys that wanna do that. I just don’t see the realism of that being an accurate idea. For 53 guys to make that decision to go live abroad, you draft them they gotta go I guess but you are not gonna get free agents.

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While Tretter’s concerns make perfect sense, the NFL seems reluctant to give up on their ambitions of expanding and taking the game to the global stage.

The next four teams

The NFL currently has 32 teams. From a logical standpoint, the league is looking to add four more teams making it an even 36, maintaining the symmetry of having six divisions of six teams each. While Los Angeles is expected to be home to one of these four teams, the other three are likely to be across international borders.

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London, Rhine (Germany), and Mexico City are speculated to be the flagbearers for the remaining three NFL teams. Adding Los Angeles, Rhine, London, and Mexico City would give the NFL, access to three of the 18 largest markets in the world. From a geographical standpoint, the teams are also a perfect fit as London and Rhine make the most sense in the AFC East, while Los Angeles and Mexico City fit into the NFC West.

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Written by:

Sagnik Majumder

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Sagnik Majumder is an NFL writer at Essentially Sports. Being an army brat, he feels used to new uncomfortable surroundings. He started his early career as a freelance journalist and a Research Assistant to a few authors.
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Edited by:

Hitesh Nigam

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