When the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off at Wembley Stadium tomorrow, 2011 will become the fifth consecutive season in which London will have hosted an NFL game. And, according to a story on NFL.com, if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's plans come to fruition, that will just be the very beginning.
In the immediate future, Goodell plans to increase the number of games held in Britain, possibly as soon as 2012. As part of that, according to NFL.com, the commissioner is in conversations with multiple teams about becoming regulars in Blighty, with the hope that increased familiarity with specific teams and players would allow actual fan bases to develop.
And Goodell isn't shy about his ultimate goal either, according to the NFL.com story: Goodell believes that establishing that type of engaged fan base could "lead us to what we ultimately would like to do -- have a franchise here in London." Even that doesn't define the outer limits of Goodell's vision: following this presumed success establishing a franchise in Britain, the commissioner hopes to bring the NFL to continental Europe.