How Interested In London Is Team Glazer?

October 20th, 2011

Pat Kirwan might be the busiest and best-connected NFL analyst in the business. The former assistant coach and personnel executive works for and CBS NFL Today, hosts a show on Sirius NFL Radio, and writes regularly for and more.

Speaking on The Miller and Moulton Show on 770 AM in Fort Myers yesterday, Kirwan offered a take on the future of the NFL in England. It’s a topic and concept Joe loathes, but since the credible Kirwan mentioned Team Glazer possibly eyeballing a future overseas, Joe will share Kirwan’s take.

“The NFL ultimately is going to put a team in London. I keep telling everyone that and they don’t get it. I think the maybe Glazers one day will sell the Bucs and own the team in London,” Kirwan said.

“I know this about the London fans. I talk to them a lot on my chats. … They don’t want anymore visiting teams. They’re having a hard time selling this one out. Their message really isn’t, ‘We don’t like football.’ Their message is, ‘Can we have our own team? We are not here to see an exhibition of two NFL teams. We want our own team to cheer for.’

“So that’s coming to a head. And I think the NFL is very excited that it could come to a head and someone will go there eventually, maybe even Jacksonville.”

Now Joe doesn’t buy Kirwan’s line of thinking on this. It makes no sense that Team Glazer would bail on the Bucs after having such rousing success with the team and the business operation, plus a long-standing commitment in the Tampa Bay community, and a cash cow of a stadium deal.

The NFL is cruising along financially, even during these challenging economic times. Why sell the Bucs and run to a massively risky proposition with a team in soccer-mad England? Again, it makes no sense.

But as plugged in as Kirwan is, why is he (and others) still tossing out theories of the Bucs and/or Team Glazer leaving Tampa. That’s a head-scratcher for Joe.

What also would be a head-scratcher for Joe is if the Bucs end up playing annually in London as the “home” team, as many insiders have suggested. While this England trip seems to be a fantastic team-bonding experience (and the Giants won a Super Bowl the year they played overseas), Joe has to think that losing a real home game and traveling to London in consecutive seasons would get old for players in a hurry.

58 Responses to “How Interested In London Is Team Glazer?”

  1. Dave Says:

    The East coast is 5 hours behind London for the first half of the seaosn and 4 hours behind for the rest of the year. That is 7 hours minimu for the West coast teams. HUGE disadvantage for them and a massive disadvantage for the team based in London.

    I just don’t see it working for the NFL… ever.

  2. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Pat K.:

    They don’t want anymore visiting teams. They’re having a hard time selling this one out.

    Now that’s a sound business model. They can’t sell out a game or so per year, and Kirwin thinks giving them 8-16 games per year will succeed?

    And it will be pricey for the teams that have to play them, because there is no way a team there will fly here 8 times per year. Economically, it would be less costly to send 4 teams there 2 times per year so the cost is spread across a wider spectrum.

  3. CreamsicleBananaHammock Says:

    I think it’s far more likely that they just up the number of games in London to 4-6 before moving a team there full time.

    Dave is right…..the time difference is just too much for a full time team over there. Right now the teams that play there get a bye week following the game in London….there’s a reason for that and it would be impossible to make that work over a 16 game schedule

  4. Nate Says:

    If the bucs goto england im out/

  5. AndioUK Says:

    Hi Joe,

    I’ve been constantly telling you that the Brit bashing isn’t well received by us UK Bucs fans, you need to tone it down just ever so slightly.

    As for Pat’s take on it, he has it all wrong. There are 11million NFL fans in the UK so far and it’s growing at a very fast rate. Most, if not all, of these fans already have a team they support and having been supporting for a long time.

    Take my best friend and work colleague for example, he has supported the Browns since ’84 and wouldn’t dream of giving up his Browns for a London based team. In the same way, I wouldn’t give up my support for the Bucs for a London team, unless the Bucs actually were the team that moved and I can’t see that happening.

    For the record, the reason the game is struggling to be a sell out is because of the lockout. Tickets are usually on sale from February onwards but this year they only went on sale a month before the game. Many of my friends had prior arrangements and are unable to commit funds and time to go to the game, and this seems to be a trend when you listen to Inside the Huddle podcast (UK based Podcast) along with Americarnage Podcast.

    Now I love reading your articles and Twitter posts Joe, I do. For someone like me in the UK, they’re invaluable. My only problem is with the constant bashing of me and others in the UK. Chill out a little bit with it all, you’re bordering on being a narrow-minded fool at times 🙂

    Now let’s get behind the team this weekend and hope we put some numbers up against the Bears! Watching us against the Patriots was tough last time!

    Hope all is well and continue the good work!


  6. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I won’t say it won’t happen, Dave…never say never…time is the least of the issues.

    The NFL would have to add two teams at the time…and LA is going to be one of them.

    That likely means the London team will be in an east coast divsion…problably ours.

    It’s the economics that would be most difficult. Games will rarely sell out there and travelling back and forth would be an issue for the London team…for example, what if they have a home, away, home, away, away span of games?

    How would the team prepare properly for a game? Preparation times between games would be greatly reduced, giving the team a huge disadvantage…unless they had more home games than eight.

    If they were placed into the NFC South division, for example, the Bucs, Falcons, Saints and Panthers would likely all play away games against them…even if the NFL referred to them as “home” games. (like they are for the Bucs this week).

    OR, the london team may only have to play 4 away games each season, with them being against division rivels. This would mean an unfair advantage of 12 home games for that team instead of 8.

    Of course…the expence would be spread over 5-8 different teams…the 4 div rivals and 2-4 other teams. For example:

    Home Games could be:
    vs Div Team 1
    vs Div Team 2
    vs Div Team 3
    vs Div Team 4
    vs Team 5
    vs Team 6
    vs Team 7
    vs Team 8
    vs Team 9
    vs Team 10
    vs Team 11
    vs Team 12

    The advantage in this would be”
    – Off-setting the traveling expenses for the London Team, while spreading the expense amongst 12 teams in the USA.
    – More different teams would play in London…allowing the people there to see a wider variety of teams…a tourist attraction you might say.

    That’s how I could see it working….I’m not saying I want it to happen (I don’t), but just trying to think it through.

    Personally, don’t think it will succeed either without having more of a world league.

    They would need their own conference over there…and the playoffs would be expanded to allow the top teams there to play in them.

  7. Pete Dutcher Says:

    On the bi week thing…the NFL was talking about adding a second bi-week if they expanded the season. If that happens, I think they COULD make things work. I just am not convinced the economic side of it will succeed.

  8. AndioUK Says:

    I forgot to mention in my initial post that I’m against having a permanent team out here but am all for the current set up of one, or multuiple, games per year here.

    The more Bucs the better too, obviously.

  9. Greig Says:

    Kirwan really needs to actually talk to people before speaking for them.
    NOBODY in the UK that is a fan really wants a franchise over here and you know why? Because we are already fans of our own established teams.
    If the Jags were to relocate to that hell hole down south I wouldn’t ditch the Bucs and become a fan of them.
    The reason the games have worked so far is because they draw the fans of every team and they are once a year events. You add 7 more games with it being the same team in every game and the novelty is going to wear off pretty quickly. The fans of other teams will stay away so they can actually watch the teams they root for, people won’t be willing to pay through the nose for an entire season of games (they will take being ripped off for one game but 8, not so much).
    There is no place in the UK for an NFL franchise, the much talked about 2nd game a year is really pushing the limits of where the sport is in this country.
    You only have to look at the media and there is barely any coverage of the NFL, the Super Bowl itself gets maybe a paragraph in the papers if they are short of stories about Lewis Hamiltons tantrums, Beckhams new tattoo, etc. By the vast majority the sport is a joke played by wimps, they couldn’t care less “those fat Americans playing rugby in girly padding.” (general feeling of the nation now my personal feeling)

  10. UK_Buc Says:

    As a British NFL fan, i can honetsly say i dont think it would work here.

    People will point first and foremost of the ultimate failure of the Monarchs, whose attendances tailed of dramatically after averaging 40-50k in their first year. However i think that was mainly due to the fact that the league was made up of practice squad players, and lack of homegrown talent.

    I think we have sold out every game thus far mainly due to the novelty factor, and it’s an event that many expat Americans and curious Brits go to to find out more. Yes, there will be a few thousand people there who regard themselves as regular Bucs fans (stay awake til 1am watching games etc), and posssibly up to 5,000 Bears fans (the Bears being one of the better franchises, they are one of the teams that British NFL newbies graduate towards). However, take away the novelty factor by having 8 games for a home franchise, and i think numbers would suffer.

    Even if it was an expansion franchise, due to the diehard nature of fans over here (to follow the NFL, you really have to try hard with lkate nights, scouring the internet, etc), and many of those fans wouldnt support a new franchise over their own teams that the have already invested so much love in.

    Myself for example, London Monarchs could expand as the 33rd team, but i would still be a Buc.

  11. SteveK Says:

    You can put a crack in my arm, like you put a crack in that bell, but I aint saying, “I like Crepes, Frenchy”. – Ricky Bobby (dude knows best)

    Don’t take away my Bucs!

  12. mikeck Says:

    As someone who played both rugby and football, brits who think that Football players are wimps are ignorant. You simply do not take the collisions in Rugby that you do in (real) Football…you just dont. That said, its a waste of time convincing them. How is NFL:Europe doing anyway?….doesnt London have one of those? They could care less.

  13. Number 41 Says:

    If the University of Hawaii can survive playing on the mainland (5 hr 30 min Honolulu to LA), a London NFL team can survive (7 hr, 5 min NY to London).

    It’s too bad they retired the Concorde — that would’ve made the trip a very manageable 3hr and could’ve paved the way for a London team to exist with no problem.

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “I think the maybe Glazers one day will sell the Bucs and own the team in London,”

    Am I reading what Kirwin said wrong? From what I read, he thinks the Glazers would sell the Bucs and buy a London team (not move the Bucs to London). I don’t see that happening (I would think it would be more likely they would just move the Bucs), but it seems to me that is what he is saying.

  15. UK_Buc Says:


    I agree – having played both (although american football to a very low standard of course), i agree that the hits are bigger in football, although the conditioning required for rugby is a lot more intense.

  16. mikeck Says:

    Yes..Rugby requires a much higher level of cardio…agreed…

  17. JohnyCochrane Says:

    How bout we give London the fourth preseason game and a regular season game. I’ll take that trade off to not have to pay for the preseason garbage.

  18. Fear The Glow Says:

    The Glazer’s selling the Bucs and setting up shop in the UK is an interesting take on the situation. Not sure how realistic it is but I haven’t heard that opinion before.

    DeBartolo-Wan Kenobi you’re our only hope!

  19. flmike Says:

    @Number 41, I had friends play for UH and do you know what they have to do to get a team to go there. First $250k upfront to the traveling school, then UH pays ALL THE EXPENSES for that school while there. Granted this was during the Colt Brennan/June Jones era where they wer putting up 500+ yards and 40+ points a game and kicking butts, so no top tier school wanted to deal with the time away, the expense and travel just to have their butts kicked and sent home.

  20. KD Says:

    @Number 41
    Easy buddy, that’s a huge difference. England’s time zone is a greater difference away (off the top of my head, I believe 5 hours from NY) than Hawaii’s (I think 3 hours from California).

    Also, Hawaii is a college playing in a conference, so the opposing teams don’t have to travel too far (playing mostly teams on the west coast for the entire season). If you were to put a team in London, what division would they be placed in? Can you imagine west coast teams traveling to London like it’s a regular week then coming back to play a game without a bye and vica versa? Mathematically speaking, this “put a team in London” crap doesn’t make sense. Keep teams at least in the continent, if they like football so much they can start up their own league. Geez Goodell, start pushing something else (preferably defense, although I’ll be happy when players are just able to hit again).

  21. Jrock Says:

    It’s really nice to see all the UK fans voicing their opinion here. It’s very telling that you all seem to share the same opinion that a UK-based franchise would fail. It’ll be interesting to see how the NFL handles this, since they want so badly to expand their “product”.

    @Johny – I like your idea. Move some preseason games over there. Let’s see some week 1 bye’s!

  22. Richard Says:

    Wouldn’t it make much more sense for the NFL to test the international waters in Mexico City or Toronto before taking the plunge in London? You wouldn’t have the travel and time zone issues, and if it doesn’t work out, you wouldn’t have a team stuck thousands of miles across the Atlantic.

    As for the scheduling for a London team, I imagine they’d have a few three-game road trips where they’d just stay in the US for three weeks, then back home for a few games, then back on the road. Of course, that doesn’t take into account the teams travelling to London. You could always give each one a bye after the trip, but that would sort of preclude any home games at the end of the season.

  23. UK_Buc Says:


    Thank you for the welcome sir. I have to echo AndioUk’s comments about Joe’s Brit bashing – tedious in the extreme, bordering on the offensive.

    As to the expansion, i can honestly say Germany appears to have the biggest following outside of the US….exact figures may be slightly off, but i recall that Germany alone supported 3 or 4 NFL Europe teams, all with attendances of 10-20k, even in the final years when the League was dying a death.

  24. Mauha Deeb Says:

    It is feasible for the NFL to a team in London. Here are some random things that would make it easier on the NFL and teams:

    A:The NFL could invest in a plane or two to cut down on travel costs.
    B:They could easily spread the schedule out so the London team would travel less i.e. multiple consecutive home games and away games.
    C: After the London team plays here it could fly back carrying the London teams opponents and vice versa further cutting travel expenses.
    D:The NFL could spread out the cost of travel among all the NFL teams since a successful international league would draw far more revenue for all.

    Just a few thoughts.

  25. Mauha Deeb Says:

    Now, I can imagine their would be tons of draft hold outs and high quality players that don’t even enter the draft due to the possibility of landing with the foreign team.

    The London team would have to spend a lot of time away from the London homes if multiple consecutive away games are to be played. Then again, most of the away games would be a homecoming for many players.

    I see more social/player issues arising than business issues. I’m just not sure how the players would feel having to move to London with their families then be separated for weeks by away(US) games, or keep their homes in the US and be away from their families for months at a time.

    I have concerns about the quality of the product this will produce(tired players) than the ability of the product to exist.

  26. stanglassman Says:

    I think and hope that “Joe’s” xenophobic takes are satirical and the writers are just pretending to appeal to the average simple minded sports fan. I wouldn’t take it too seriously.

  27. UK_Buc Says:

    @ Mauha Deeb

    A likely model they would follow is the Super 15 rugby competition, which has the top 5 teams from each of South Africa, NZ, and Australia.

    Until recently (when they moved to conference basis), the teams would basically do mini-tours….so the Blues from Auckland would travel to South Africa for a month and play the four (as it was at the time) South African teams in one journey.

  28. Posey99 Says:

    I don’t think the NFL’s plan is to have a team there perminately, although it might happen in the far distance future. I think the real scheme here is the TV broadcasts in europe… That’s where all the money is at anyway. Nfl network looking to cash in is my guess.

  29. KD Says:

    How would a team in London be able to play 8 away games? They wouldn’t be able to have a bye after each game. I guess they could do away games consecutively, but it would put the London team at a very large disadvantage. Keep it simple, keep it on this continent.

    Also glad to see so many UK Buc fans on here. I had no idea there was such a strong following overseas. Way to be guys.

  30. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Stanglassman – You might be on to something. However, there’s nothing remotely xenophobic in this post.

    … It is interesting to hear some the UK perspective here. And Joe has taken a good handful of emails from the UK offline.

  31. Patrick Says:

    Tell me, why does Goodell always have to f$&%ing try to ruin the league all the time? An NFL team in England would be retarded. Do the NBA, MLB or NHL have teams over there? No! Who cares if it’s popular over there or not?

    You guys should have ALL 8 of your home games in Tampa! If they put a team over there, I feel sorry for the teams who’ll have to be stuck in their division and travel there every year.

  32. Stephen Miracle Says:

    I wonder about the chances of starting an entire NFL division in Europe. 4 teams that play each other twice a year which would make half the season. Then they get half of the remaining games as home and other as away. Block it all in a certain way and it could be reasonable. It would be hell on scheduling but doable

  33. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Stephen Miracle — four European teams playing each other is only 6 games, not 8.

  34. Joke Says:

    Kirwan is absolutely full of crap to say “The NFL ultimately is going to put a team in London. I keep telling everyone that and they don’t get it. ”

    This is the type of thing that doesn’t happen until it happens. Unless there’s been some secret negotiation, vote, and contract signing that only Kirwan is privy too, there’s just no way he can be certain. Hell, even if he’s personally spoken to 32 owners and, say, 30 of them have decided they want a team in London, I still wouldn’t believe his guarantee that it is “ultimately” going to happen. There are just way too many logistical hurdles — not the least of which is buy-in from the union — to predict that with certainty.

    Kirwan’s just being lazy and sensationalistic — he wants to put it out there that a UK franchise isn’t as crazy an idea as most people think, and rather than structure a coherent argument he chose to proclaim it with certainty.

    It would be interesting to hear what Kirwan has to say about that in 10 years if/when there’s still no franchise in the UK.

  35. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Joe Not if they play themselves twice. 😛

  36. Mauha Deeb Says:

    One game is offense home against the defense. One game is defense Home against the offense.
    It isn’t like they couldn’t pretend like it is real. They are really good at pretending. Just look what happens when one of their soccer players gets bumped into. They pretend like they are really hurt.

  37. RastaMon Says:

    Stupidest topic ever posted for ad rev’s in the history of
    I first hand experienced,witnessed the Glazer Family save the franchise!
    Poppa G…indulged his sons with the over the top bid to acquire the team…”who are the Glazers”
    I first hand saw the G’Boys shake the hand of ANYONE @ Pigeon Poop Stadium on multiple nights……
    I have a autographed ticket stub by Malcolm as the bent over old man it a dress suit made his way around the south end zone seats of the “Ole Sombrero”….shame on the local media and double shame on the brain dead …”Goldilocks And The Three Bears” fans….

  38. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Rastaman I don’t even have words for how unbelievably stupid your comment was. Well, I guess I did have two: unbelievably stupid.

  39. RastaMon Says:

    ” I think the maybe Glazers one day will sell the Bucs and own the team in London,” Kirwan said”
    the local media radio/press has pilloried the Glazer family at ever imagined turn…..
    starting from day one when the outbid the top 2 media fav’s to buy the franchise….
    hey….there is a bogeyman under your bed when the lights go out……

  40. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Please, please, please. . .

    FYI – the Brits hate the Glazers more than the all of us combined.

    I predict that first: the Glazers avoid NFL rules the bucs public on the unregulated Singapore stock exchange and lie that they did it in Singapore bc the Bucs have a fan base there.

  41. Garv Says:

    As many have pointed out, if the NFL wants to continue to pride itself as being a fair and balanced league where each team has a fair shot, an equal shot at success, there is no way to keep a full time team in London.
    Right, Seattle at London. THAT’S doable and fair. It’s nuts and having these “home” games taken from us to try and force it on a country that cannot even sell out the game is WORSE!

    Goodell and the NFL needs to let this go.

    As for the Buccaneers? I really don’t think they will move anywhere for at least 20 years and the economy had BETTER change by then!

  42. ravelston Says:

    @Thomas 2.2

    “FYI – the Brits hate the Glazers more than the all of us combined.”

    Actually that’s no longer true. There’s a little hate left over on some of the more rabid blogs, but there’s also a rising recognition that the Glazers have been exceptionally effective owners. After all, it’s hard to argue with success and the last 6 years have been the most successful in Man United’s history both on the field and off it. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  43. ravelston Says:

    Getting back on topic, it’s been pointed out elsewhere that the league’s anti-trust exemption wouldn’t fly in Europe. That would mean that the draft would be in violation of labor laws. There would be similar problems with restricted free agency. It’s hard to see how the NFL would be able to get round the problems – even if the UK government gave them some relief, the first player to challenge any aspect of the CBA in the European court would bring the whole edifice down.

  44. below me Says:

    red meat for the tin foil hat crowd

  45. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    As someone who has made the Hawaii to the East and West Coast multiple times per year, I can say without a doubt it is much harder to travel West to East. The time change is very hard to deal with, because you are ready to sleep so early, which makes you wake up in the middle of the night. The University of Hawaii always struggles on the road, which I feel is a direct result of this. By following most of the Bucs on twitter, they are all having a similar problem. It always takes me 2 full days to adjust. I never have any problem adjusting when flying East to West (which is why I never have understood why the Bucs always struggle on the west coast).

    As a result, I think a team in London would have a huge home field advantage, especially against a team from the West. I think the idea of an NFL team in England is ridiculous. I have no idea if the fans could/would support an NFL team, but to me that’s not even the issue. It’s just too damn far. I’ve never really understood the reasoning behind making football a global sport. It is an American sport, we don’t have to force people in other countries to follow it. How much more money do they really need to make?

  46. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I’ve been having a lot of my comments not show up. It has been happening more and more frequently. When I try to re-post, it says “duplicate comment”.

  47. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Hawaiian Buc That was happening to me before as well. I cleared all my cookies and cache and it fixed it. Maybe it will for you too.

  48. Joe Says:

    Hawaiian Buc:

    If that happens again, email Joe. Joe at JoeBucsFan dot com

    Found a few of your comments in the spam filter. Not sure why it’s going there.

  49. SteveK Says:

    Hey Joe,

    What do you say you out a pretty British Chica up tmrw for your cup o’Joe?

    Any word on GMC playing, I hear Thomas 2.2 is curious on whether or not his favorite player is going to be able to suit up?

  50. Foghorn Leghorn Says:

    Lemme say, I say let the cock in the hen house sound off! This yackin’ around about the hometown boys playin the good ol’ game of the south in some foreign land makes me wanna, I say it makes me wanna take paddle to the dog! I ain’t feelin’ good son. Ya hear me? It’s like the cream corn ain’t mixin’ with the moonshine! Those redcoats couldn’t tell pigskin from chicken wire anyhow. Ya done ruffled ma feathers son.

  51. SteveK Says:

    Luckily you number your feathers for such the occasion.

  52. Joe Says:

    Coach Bowden Foghorn Leghorn:

    I ain’t feelin’ good son. Ya hear me? It’s like the cream corn ain’t mixin’ with the moonshine! Those redcoats couldn’t tell pigskin from chicken wire anyhow.

    Please post more often!

  53. James Pearls Says:

    As a huge Bucs and NFL fan living in London, I cannot see a franchise coming over to the UK in the foreseeable future. It’s a huge risk that I don’t think the Glazers or any owner will be willing to take.

    I’m not even sure I would want an NFL team in the UK – half the point of the NFL is that it’s played in the states and all that goes with that.

  54. Pete Dutcher Says:

    @Hawaiian Buc
    The Glazers will NEVER move the Bucs away from Tampa. The more likely scenario is that the Rays will leave and the Bucs will benefit from that in attendence.

    Richard Says:
    Wouldn’t it make much more sense for the NFL to test the international waters in Mexico City or Toronto before taking the plunge in London? You wouldn’t have the travel and time zone issues, and if it doesn’t work out, you wouldn’t have a team stuck thousands of miles across the Atlantic.

    Actually, I could see the CFL becoming a 3rd conference down the road. If that happens, they might make a 4th conference to balance things out…and that might make things work.

    I think the reasons NFL Europe failed is because:
    – low level players
    – teams did not compete for the superbowl
    – teams did not play against NFC or AFC teams
    – no participation in the NFL Draft or NFL Free Agency

    So…I believe if a European Football Conference (EFC) and a Foreign Football Conference (FFC) (for canada and mexico) were created, there would be a chance of success. However, now is not the time to implement this because of the economy.

  55. Pete Dutcher Says:

    And, btw…I think the Pro Bowl should be moved to Europe and be at least 2 months after the Superbowl (due to winters being so harsh over there).

    So Superbowl in February

    Pro Bowl in April in Europe

  56. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Here’s another thought I’ll just put out there…just off hte top of my head:

    Baseball has a minors that compete in actualy games. If the NFL had something like this, the Europe team could maybe participate in that.

    Plus…we’d have more NFL football 😉

  57. McBuc Says:

    Foghorn Leghorn: Too funny, but Joe’s crossed out Coach Bowden may have taken the prize on this thread.

  58. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Don’t take away the Pro Bowl from Hawaii. It means a great deal to us, as well as our economy. I know it’s meaningless to everyone else, but I can guarantee you it is big for us.