In its desire to continue to expand its already gargantuan empire, the NFL is apparently serious about playing regular-season games in China by 2018. New York Giants co-owner John Mara is also serious in his opposition to sending the Giants to do that.
"I think there's a feeling that our game could be very attractive over there and generate a lot of interest," Mara said. "But I'm sure not volunteering to play over there. That's a tough trip. I don't know how you do that. You certainly have to give them a week off afterward. And even a week before -- it's a pretty tough trip."
How tough? Well, New York City to Shanghai is a flight of roughly 7,400 miles and more than 15 hours. The Giants face the Los Angeles Rams in London this fall, and that is a 3,500-mile, 7.5-hour trip. So, Shanghai is more than double that distance.
How is that a good idea?
It's not, at least for the competitive balance of the league and -- as far as I'm concerned -- the health and well-being of the players.
That, though, isn't the NFL's concern. Money is. The league will play three games in London and one in Mexico City in 2016, and I'm not fond of any of those games. Each one robs fans here at home who pay exorbitant prices of one of those home games they are already paying through the nose for. Each one also subjects players who put themselves through enough already to grueling trips.
The NFL, though, sees only dollar signs. China has the second-largest economy in the world behind the U.S., and the NFL wants to cash in on that market. Here is Mark Waller, the NFL's executive vice president of international.
"We don't need a selling point. I don't think anybody doesn't understand the opportunity in China. It's the world's largest market, the world's most developing sports market. There's no real local sport that currently dominates. There's huge interest in sports and athletes, which is growing, and a huge land of opportunity."
The NFL will, of course follow the money. Whether that's good for players, fans, competitive balance, or not.
What do you think, Giants fans? Do you like the idea of the league expanding to China?