“Absolutely. We’re already taking steps to gain that IOC recognition,” Goodell said on the Dan Patrick Show. “We have, I think, 64 countries that are playing American football now, and that’s one of the requirements. That’s been growing dramatically — I think it was 40 just five years ago.”
Naturally, no one in the NFL minds that this increase in worldwide football playing equates to many more people around the world wanting to purchase team-related merchandise. But, really? What country would have a true chance at defeating a team of NFL players?
Goodell’s point is that football has gone international, and if badminton can be an Olympic “sport,” then why not football?
You can be certain Goodell has looked at what the 1992 Dream Team has done for the NBA from a global perspective. Interest in the game and, significantly, NBA merchandise around the world erupted.
And for Goodell and the NFL, joining the Olympics could certainly be a building block to establishing an international franchise in the league. (There has been much talk about a team in London, in fact.)
“Our point is just to keep growing the game,” Goodell said. “We’re having a tremendous reaction in London and the UK for the game of football, our regular season game over there is sold out again this year. We are seriously contemplating as early as 2013 playing two NFL games next season and I think we’ll do that. It’s a response to the tremendous fan reaction and the growth of the game.
“If we can continue to grow the game there and have the fan reaction that we have, there very well may be a franchise in London.”