Daily Madden: Logistical Concerns Surround NFL In London
SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – This is the first season the National Football League has scheduled Thursday night games each week and John Madden tells the KCBS Morning Crew that he’s not quite sure it is working.
“I’m proposing that they wrap a bye week around Thursday night football. I don’t like the short week,” Madden said. “We need more byes and I would like to use them where you have a bye before Thursday night so you don’t just have two or three days between games. Pretty soon, if we do all those things, we’re going to have some real safety implications.”
Part of the problem is that including byes with Thursday games would likely prolong the length of the season.
Also on Madden’s mind was the fact that the Olympic Stadium is in need of a tenant, and London Mayor Boris Johnson thinks the NFL could be the right match.
Just a few days after the NFL’s sixth regular-season game at Wembley Stadium, Johnson said he has spoken with the league about playing more games in the British capital.
“Sunday’s game at Wembley, in front of over 80,000 fans, further cements London’s reputation as the natural home of American football outside of the United States,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
Madden said the games could provide some logistical problems.
“There’s some problems that go with that and the biggest one is families moving there, citizenship, tax consequences and travel for the team,” he said. “Imagine if you were a West Coast team and had to go to London. That would be like a 10-hour flight.”
All six NFL games in London so far have been at Wembley, including the New England Patriots’ 45-7 win over the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. The two games scheduled for next season are also set for Wembley, and the NFL has a contract with Wembley through 2016.
But the Olympic Stadium, built for this year’s games, have yet to find a permanent resident. Johnson happens to be the chairman of the London Legacy Development Corporation, which is responsible for deciding how the Olympic Stadium will be used in the future.
A decision on the future of the stadium is not expected before December. West Ham, a London soccer team, is the leading contender to take up residency—and keep the running track in place.
The Olympic Stadium is not due to reopen before 2014.
The NFL said it has been in talks with local authorities in London for years about future possibilities.
Madden said that would likely mean an 18-week schedule in the future with each team having two bye weeks.
Listen to the John Madden segment live weekday mornings at 8:15 on KCBS All News 740 AM/106.9 FM. And catch John’s extra report at 9:15 a.m. Mondays and Fridays during the NFL season.
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