Just what the Steelers need.
As much as they would like to say, "It's all about us," it's not.
The only reason the NFL scheduled the Vikings for this game is to pressure the Twin Cities and state of Minnesota into building a new stadium for the Vikings. It's the same reason the Jacksonville Jaguars are scheduled to play in London on Oct. 27th.
And it's the reason Minnesota is designated as the "home" team for Sunday's game at Wembley Stadium -- the NFL in effect took a home game away from Vikings' season ticket-holders.
As ridiculous as it sounds, the NFL is holding the Damocles Sword threat of moving a franchise to London (never mind Los Angeles or Toronto) as a way to pressure the taxpayers of Minnesota and/or Jacksonville to ante up for new stadiums. It may be a bluff, but Roger Goodell and the NFL apparently are at least exploring the possibility that London and its 12 million people may be a legitimate potential market.
In any case, this weekend's game in London, one of the world's truly great cities, at least forces the Steelers to trod different soil, use a different currency, taste different food, and, yes, even hear a different language, never mind that it may be "English."
This trip should be good for them -- if they get outside themselves for a change and realize they are not all that, after all.
Maybe they'll learn something. They won't do it, of course, but it would be cool if some of the coaches and players paid a visit to one of the big football clubs in the area, Chelsea or Arsenal or West Ham perhaps, and see how they do things. Those clubs are just as big-time as the Steelers, if not more so.
|Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders in London|
Over the first three games of the season, Minnesota gave up an average of 32 points a game.
The Vikings went to England on Tuesday.
The AP's Paul Logothetis wrote, "Minnesota is staying at a rural hotel outside of London where England's national soccer team usually trains before international matches. A golf course surrounds the grounds. Apart from using the pools and baths, Vikings players have gotten into nightly games of bocci. Coach Leslie Frazier thinks the formula could work."
Sure, go all the way to London, hole up in a secluded training facility, and look at each other. That should work.
"I watched a couple of soccer matches, and those people get (into) it," defensive end Jared Allen said. "Just don't storm the field and we'll be good."
Uh-huh. Allen probably doesn't have to worry too much about hooliganism. Sunday's game might be a fun diversion for American expatriates, but the English really don't care about NFL football. Believe it or not, there are other things to do in London.