London trips make little sense in NFL, NBA

Raise your hand if you comprehend why our state’s two professional sports teams soon will be playing games in London.

Not exhibition games that don’t count. We’re talking the regular-season type that do.

Waiting … still waiting … forget it.

Don’t tell me it’s so Andrew Luck can snap selfies with Buckingham Palace as a backdrop or so that Paul George somehow works in a day trip to witness the magnificence of Stonehenge.

But travel they will.

The Indianapolis Colts play their Week 4 game against Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium on Oct. 2. Kickoff is 9:30 a.m. local time, meaning an outcome will have been determined around the time we’re accustomed to witnessing the pregame coin flip.

A little more than three months later, the Pacers square off against the Denver Nuggets.

This bitter rivalry — um, 40 years ago when both were still part of the ABA — is the NBA’s seventh attempt at broadening its fan base and product as a whole with a regular-season game in London.

Meanwhile, it’s the 10th consecutive season the NFL has sent two teams kicking and screaming across the Atlantic Ocean to play in front of thousands of neutral observers.

What’s sobering is that 86,000-seat Wembley Stadium probably will be hosting the most-attended Jaguars home game in the team’s 22-year history.

Shouldn’t matter. The Colts are 18-14 in regular-season road games since Luck’s arrival in 2012.

It makes sense that both leagues attempt to convey the message of how flying abroad for a few days serves as a positive experience for a franchise’s players and coaches, how everyone should get the chance to see new sights, talk to different people, sample unique cuisine … blah, blah, blah.

These are grown men who, for the most part, have banked millions of dollars. If they truly wanted to fly to London to take in the sights accompanied by loved ones during the offseason, they have the means.

Nice try, though.

For years we’ve been hearing how the NFL hopes to have a team, presumably the beleaguered Jags, in London in the not-so-distant future.

Look for the oft-repeated 2022 target date to eventually become 2025, 2029 and so on.

At least that’s the hope here. After all, there is something to be said about leaving well enough alone.

The NFL, a conglomerate built through the sweat and ideas of men like Halas, Brown, Lombardi, Davis and Walsh, has conducted business solely in the United States since 1920 and grown to become bigger, better and more profitable than ever.

Relocating a franchise — even one as historically irrelevant as the Jaguars — to a foreign country only adds confusion.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome your London Jaguars.”

Are there even Jaguars in London?

Suddenly, the phrase “road trip” would fail to apply to one of our teams. At least not without some serious frequent flier miles accrued.

At least the NBA isn’t talking such jibberish. Yet.

Besides, they have the Toronto Raptors, and for six years (1995-2001) had the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Isn’t that international enough?

The first word is the same in both the National Football League and National Basketball Association. It’s important we keep that in mind.

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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at