In its insatiable quest for revenue, American football has convinced those who oversee the activities at ANZ Stadium in Sydney that they would benefit from hosting the inaugural game of the 2016 college football season.
The NFL is pitting Melbourne and Brazil against the capital for the privilege of hosting next year’s Pro-Bowl, the annual yawn fest of an exhibition that draws so little attention in America that the league feels compelled to seek green hemispheres, with the final decision doubtless resting on which of the contenders supplies the highest bid.
Australia is being sold a bill of goods. The college opener has the University of California Berkley going against the University of Hawaii in a game no one in America cares about. Choosing Hawaii as one of the teams seems more a case of the NCAA having looked at the map and discovered that Australia is not much farther distant than the American mainland where the University of Hawaii travels for away games.
The Pro Bowl is even less relevant than the college game coming to Sydney, if such a thing could be imagined. The top-performing pros of the NFL are committed to their respective teams for the playoffs. Other top performers routinely feign injury to avoid being associated with the farce of a game that is played with special rules that make the gridiron game almost unreconisable.
Australian footy fans would be well advised to accept this advice: Without even consulting the 2016 AFL schedule for the date, a home-and-away match between last year’s bottom-dwelling Lions and Bears would be a far superior value.