Tag:NFL in London
Posted on: January 20, 2012 12:53 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2012 10:30 pm

Is playing in London really worth it?

Wembley Stadium

By Josh Katzowitz

Rams owner Stan Kroenke is excited about his team committing to play a regular-season game in London for the next three years. As he should be, considering he’s also the owner of the English Premier League’s Arsenal soccer team and because he and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell want to continue expanding the league brand into Europe.

While some St. Louis fans, already worried that the Rams could be the team to relocate back to Los Angeles in the near future, probably wonder if this news will pave the way for the organization eventually to leave the city, there has to be another concern for the franchise. Basically, how will the long trip across the Atlantic Ocean affect the team for the rest of that season?

In 2010, I talked to then-49ers linebacker Takeo Spikes for a Five Questions (or more)* interview, and he recalled how long it took for his teammates to recover from the long jaunt.

“We got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday,” Spikes said. “That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time."

*As a casual aside, to let you know how quickly fortunes are made and lost in the NFL, this conversation occurred 14 months ago, and I talked with Spikes about whether Troy Smith was the quarterback of the future in San Francisco. Not Alex Smith. Troy Smith.

[RELATED: Take our Facebook poll: Do you want your favorite NFL team playing in London?]

It’s a change for coaches and players obsessed with a normal weekly routine, and you have to wonder if it’s a disruption that makes the rest of the season a difficult task. In other words, does the trip to London help the NFL’s brand but ultimately harm that team for the rest of the year?

Let’s take a look.

Here are the results of the trip to England from 2007-11.

2007 – Giants 13, Dolphins 10

2008 – Saints 37, Chargers 32

2009 – Patriots 35, Buccaneers 7

2010 – 49ers 24, Broncos 16

2011 – Bears 24, Buccaneers 18

Here’s how those teams finished the regular season:

2007 – Giants 4-4**, Dolphins 1-7***

2008 – Saints 4-4, Chargers 5-3

2009 – Patriots 5-4, Buccaneers 3-6

2010 – 49ers 4-4, Broncos 2-6

2011 – Bears 4-5, Buccaneers 0-9

And here is the cumulative record from those teams after participating in the London trip: 32-52

**Of course, the Giants won the Super Bowl that year, beating the 18-0 Patriots in the process.

***To be fair, the Dolphins didn’t win any games before the London trip.

Three of those squads (the 2007 Giants, 2008 Chargers and the 2009 Patriots) made the playoffs. Sure, you could make the case that most of those squads were fairly mediocre in those particular seasons, but the fact that only one two out of 10 emerged out of the trip with a winning record (and barely, at that) is a sign that perhaps Kroenke shouldn’t be too excited about making the trip the next three seasons.

Because so far, we’ve seen that the trip just isn’t worth it for a team’s long-term results.

UPDATE (3:00 p.m. ET): One of our readers brings up a good question: what was the teams' cumulative record before the London trip. It was 22-30 for a winning percentage of 42.3. The winning percentage for post-London teams is 38.1.

So, not a huge disparity, but I maintain the answer to the original question is the same. Is traveling to London a good idea for your team? No. Does it harm your team in the long-run? For the majority of teams, yes.

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Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:20 am

Report: NFL wants TWO games in London

The NFL says it wants to hold two games in London next year (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

For those NFL teams who hate giving up a home game in order to fly overseas and play a tilt in front of European fans, it sounds like they’re going to be twice as disappointed next season.

Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that commissioner Roger Goodell told him that the NFL would like to play two games next season in Europe. According to Kaplan, he believes both games would be in London.

For Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, that probably doesn’t sound like a good idea, considering he said this in June when asked about playing in London this season:

"No, I'm not excited to go to London,” he said. “I don't understand why they do that. ... I am not excited to go to London, I will say that. I can't imagine many players would be, considering the travel involved and disruption to their weekly schedule.”

Last year, when I spoke to Takeo Spikes about it, he described the difficulty of adjusting to a time zone that is five hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast and eight hours ahead of the West. Though he said he enjoyed the trip, it wasn’t easy on his sleep patterns.

From my Five Questions (or more) with him:

CBS: You guys went straight from Carolina to London, while Denver spent a couple extra days at home. Do you think it helped that the 49ers flew out early to let your bodies adjust?

Spikes: I think it helped. To be honest, we got there Monday morning, and we didn’t recover until that Thursday. That’s when everybody’s bodies were back on schedule. I can’t even imagine doing what Denver wanted to do and expect them to feel well-rested and alert. I know for us, even on Wednesday, I still couldn’t go to sleep on time.

But there obviously is big money to be made in Europe and the NFL feels it needs to continue pushing its global brand. And really, what would a team like the Bengals rather have? Playing in front of an excited, sold-out crowd in Wembley Stadium or a half-full stadium of Cincinnatians who are apathetic about the product in front of them?

Maybe the former.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com