Wednesday's NFL: League wants to hold games in Germany, seeks partner city

Associated Press
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London — The NFL wants to expand its international series by holding regular-season games in Germany, launching a process Wednesday to identify a partner city.

Germany boasts a strong NFL fan base and is one of the world’s largest economies, making the country an attractive partner.

The NFL wants to expand its international series by holding regular-season games in Germany and has launched a process to identify a partner city.

The NFL has staged 28 regular-season games in London since 2007 and will play two more in October at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. German fans often travel to London to attend games, the league said.

“We are very excited about the development of our German fan base, and the time is right to identify a partner who can execute a game at NFL standards as part of our international growth strategy,” Brett Gosper, the NFL’s head of UK and Europe, said in a statement.

The NFL has hired London-based The Sports Consultancy to assist, including working with interested cities to develop their proposals.

“This process is designed to explore potential local partnerships, stadium suitability and game logistics,” Gosper said. “We need engaged and motivated host partners that span the public sector, venue, sport, community and major event spheres and can help us deliver a high-impact event and a long-term partnership. Identifying a preferred host city is a key step in bringing regular-season NFL games to our millions of German fans.”

Weekly television viewership in Germany has grown by more than 20% annually since 2017, the league said.

German viewership of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 31-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Feb. 8 set a record.

“Germany is a leading market outside North America for NFL Shop sales, fantasy football participation and sales of the Madden NFL video game,” the league said in its statement.

The NFL staged five preseason games in Germany between 1990 and 1994, and had a professional team presence in Germany between 1991 and 2007 with the Berlin Thunder, Cologne Centurions, Frankfurt Galaxy, Hamburg Sea Devils and Rhein Fire playing at various times in the former World League/NFL Europe/NFL Europa.

NFL regular-season games have also been played in Mexico and Canada.

49ers cut offseason program short

The 49ers cut short their offseason program by a week when coach Kyle Shanahan sent his veterans home for the summer instead of having them stay in town for a mandatory minicamp next week.

Shanahan said he made the decision mostly because of the strong turnout for the voluntary portion of the offseason instead of as a direct reaction to a pair of significant injuries that sidelined safety Tarvarius Moore and offensive lineman Justin Skule on Monday.

Shanahan said his original plan was to practice on Monday and Tuesday this week before surprising players Thursday with a bowling outing instead of practice and telling them minicamp was called off. He ended up doing that Tuesday instead, although some of the rookies will stick around for a little longer.

Moore tore his Achilles tendon during a noncontact drill and Skule tore his ACL a few plays later in a pass-blocking drill.

Extra points

Peyton Manning was elected to the Broncos Ring of Fame in recognition of his record-breaking four-year run in Denver that culminated with a victory in Super Bowl 50.

Manning will be honored during a game against Washington at Empower Field at Mile High on Halloween, less than three months after his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 8.

The six-member selection committee unanimously selected Manning as the 35th member of the team’s Ring of Fame. Last year’s honoree, former coach Mike Shanahan, also will be honored this season after the pandemic prevented his ceremony in 2020.

… Browns chief of staff Callie Brownson has been suspended by the team but will not lose her job after an arrest for drunken driving.

Brownson, one of just a handful of female coaches in the league, pleaded no contest Tuesday in a Brunswick court to charges stemming from her arrest last month. She had her license suspended for one year and will have to take an intervention course.

On Wednesday, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski, who hired Brownson last year and has praised her work, said she has been disciplined by the team. He did not reveal the length of her suspension but said she’s going to remain employed by the Browns.

… The Packers added a veteran presence at inside linebacker by signing De’Vondre Campbell.

Campbell comes to Green Bay after starting all 16 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season and posting 99 tackles, including 69 solos. Campbell, 27, previously spent four seasons with the Falcons, who selected him out of Minnesota in the fourth round of the 2016 draft.

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