A report has surfaced this morning via the National Football Post that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be playing overseas for a game (if and when there is one) during the 2011 season, although that's not a certainty yet. Namely, the Steelers would play in the land to which their owner is a United States Ambassador - Ireland. The prospective opponent is yet to be determined. Given the NFL's propensity for yanking a home game from a smaller market team and featuring a big named team in order to create a "marquee game" for this NFL international series, it wouldn't surprise me to see one of the Steelers' road opponents (CLE, CIN, BAL, HOU, IND, KC, SEA, SF) get a home game jerked out from under them (although the Niners are unlikely since they forfeited a home game last year).
Personally, I find NFL games in Europe to be damned offensive to the fans losing out on the home game, and an extra burden to players having to make a draining trip overseas. Yes, sure the owners still make their money from the NFL for the pain-in-the-ass of "hosting" a game abroad. Still, the NFL is a product for fans around the globe, sure, but this is an American sport that American fans pay money for season tickets in advance. Many small businesses around NFL cities/stadiums rely on revenue from the limited number of home games there are in a season, and jerking one away is a burden on them. It's one less game for the home fans, even when that team is winless and struggling, like the Buccaneers were in 2009. Despite having an atrocious record, the New England Patriots would have been a huge draw for the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium, and that game was taken away by the league (albeit likely at the ok by the Bucs' brass). It's nothing more than passing entertainment for the European fans by comparison. I'm sure my colleague Sander will disagree to some point with that statement, but the games simply don't mean as much to European fans than Americans.
What's your feeling on the issue? Weigh in, folks....
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