Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would like to see the NFL put a team in London.
Jones, one of the most outspoken owners in professional sports, is in Britain to watch his team face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.
“On a personal basis, and speaking for the Dallas Cowboys, we very much would like a team in London,” Jones said Thursday. “It has cachet. It has an air about it of international competition.
“London is one of probably two or three cities outside the United States that really does have all of the criteria that I would look at for having an NFL team. I certainly know that one of the reasons we’re here this week playing Sunday is to help encourage interest and increase the interest in the game, increase the interest in the awareness of our game.”
The NFL has been playing regular-season games at Wembley, the home of England’s national soccer team, since 2007. This season, there are three games, culminating on Sunday with the Cowboys and the Jaguars.
On Thursday, the NFL announced that there will be another three games next season, including the Chiefs taking on the Detroit Lions.
NFL officials have said they envisage having a franchise in London one day, though no time frame has been announced and several logistical issues would need to be resolved.
The Jaguars, owned by American billionaire Shad Khan, are also on the schedule for next season, and played in London last season as well. They have agreed to a four-year deal to come to London, so they’ll be back in 2016.
“His imagination is welcomed. His business acumen is really welcome,” Jones said of Khan. “I know that he’s a progressive thinker. Certainly his interest that he has in playing here and potentially being involved more so in the future is one that we’re all aware of.”
For the Cowboys, who have played several exhibition games overseas, this is the first time they’ll be playing for real outside the United States. And against the Jaguars, Dallas will technically be the visiting team.
“The problem we have is that we don’t want to forgo a home game,” Jones said. “As you’re well aware, we don’t play many games relative to other sports, and so that’s not something that we’re interested in doing.
“But our away game, and our ability to play away, has always been a consideration, something that we would do.”
That doesn’t mean that Jones isn’t a fan of Britain, or the monarchy.
“One of the greatest feelings that I have is the picture of Princess Di and her young men there with Cowboy jerseys on,” Jones said. “It’s one of my favorite of all time.”