As one betting on the NFL in the UK once said, “We send our absolute worst to the United Kingdom when all they want is the bare minimum.”
Sunday, the Miami Dolphins crossed the pond for the fourth time since this international series was established in 2007. If you needed a reference point as to how “inspired” the Fins were on Sunday, check out Jay Cutler slouching as much as he possibly could on a Wildcat designated play.
Yeah, that’s how much the Dolphins cared about playing in London on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Saints once more chose to make Adrian Peterson consider why exactly he decided to choose gumbo plates for six months out the year as he carried the ball just four times for four yards inside Wembley Stadium. Yes, the Saints beat the Dolphins 20-0, but did anything memorable happen?
Seriously, were there any positives from Wembley on Sunday? Sure, the Saints are pushing their way towards the inevitable 8-8 or 7-9 finish. The Dolphins, on the other hand, seem poised to prove everyone right by letting another promising season sink mid-way through. The negatives? The Dolphins managed to have the same amount of points as James Jones did during the 2017 NBA Finals...zero. If one truly wanted to stage a protest besides taking a knee against racial inequality, it could have been against Cutler making millions of dollars to be an inept quarterback.
Why do the London games seem to be ineffective and not carry the same consistency year after year? Because the NFL’s “parity” issue only yields for so much consistency. The one constant in the past ten years have been the New England Patriots and they’ve only crossed the pond twice to hang a combined 80 points on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009) and then St. Louis Rams (2012) respectively. Moreover, getting the better teams in the league such as the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and perhaps our largest export in the Dallas Cowboys have been harder to achieve. The fact that the NFL has never sent two teams with a winning record to play in the United Kingdom is embarrassing.
Remember, each of these teams has to agree to give up a home game a year in order to go to London. I doubt Jerry Jones and some of the owners who commandeered billions of taxpayer dollars from their respective municipalities are willing to give that up. So instead, we push out two Floridian teams that have issues creating sell-out crowds. Sorry England, it isn't you, it's our love for all things mediocre.
We as a football collective place little faith in the Dolphins and “London’s Team” aka the Jacksonville Jaguars. Combined, the two Florida football squads are a combined 4-5 in their nine visits overseas. In that time span, the Dolphins have made the playoffs exactly three times, with one division crown to show for it and the Jags haven’t won the AFC South since the division was formed in 2002. In fact, the Jags have missed the playoffs for the past decade now even if national pundits continue to swear that they have enough talent to get over the hump.
As far as the NFL's plans for a full-blown team in London? We probably should link arms to prevent that bad idea from ever gaining traction. Because the NFL is keen on delivering her Majesty non-competitive football. And exporting certain things in a mediocre fashion may very well be the new American way.
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