6 U.S. Cities the NFL Should Expand to Before London

By Geoff Magliocchetti
Salt Lake Stallions v San Antonio Commanders
Salt Lake Stallions v San Antonio Commanders / Ronald Cortes/AAF/Getty Images

According to Los Angeles Chargers owner Dean Spanos, the rumors of British Bolts are "f***ing b******t".

That works perfectly in America's favor, because there are several cities in this country that are far more deserving of a team right now. Here's a look at six that make more sense than london.

The Panthers (and Hurricanes) each have done a fine job of repping both Carolinas but, save for minor league baseball and NASCAR, South Carolina has been denied professional sports. Maybe it's time for South Carolina's biggest city to have its shot. After all, the state currently hosts college football's defending national champions and routinely draws big crowds for both Clemson and South Carolina games.

Hey, NFL, it's the least you can after taking the Pro Bowl away, right? In hindsight, that actually might be a blessing to the Hawaiians, but they deserve something football related. One of the more interesting developments of the NFL preseason was putting a game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams at Aloha Stadium. Tickets for the game sold out in minutes, as fans flocked to the first preseason game held on the islands in over four decades. If that's the hype they have for a preseason games -- and you can do any number of things in Hawaii other than watch Dallas and LA's practice squaders go at it -- how would the city react to season tickets for a real NFL team?

Oklahoma City
Since ditching their SuperSonic settings, the Oklahoma City Thunder have enjoyed a strong following but a professional brother has yet to join them. The closest thing to another professional following to town was the AHL's Barons, who moved to OKC in 2010, then relocated to Bakersfield, California in 2015.

Those in Norman seeking Sunday fun could even add to crowds for a team. You don't think Sooner fans would make the half-hour drive to a hypothetical OKC stadium to watch some NFL action, some of which could well include ex-Sooners?

The Happiest Place on Earth -- or the city that hosts it, anyway -- has hosted almost every professional football league imaginable as the UFSL, AAF, XFL, UFL, have all made stops here. The top football acronym has yet to arrive in town, but history shows that it could very well work. The Orlando Renegades (USFL) and Orlando Apollos (the latter serving as the de facto AAF "champion" with a league-best 7-1 mark) each drew around 20,000 to their games. An argument can be made that Florida doesn't need another team, but if you're going to talk about moving the Jaguars, talk about moving them away two hours, not across an ocean.

San Antonio
If anyone emerged victorious from the ill-fated Alliance of American Football, it was the city of San Antonio. Fans came out in droves to watch their Commanders, dominating the short-lived league's attendance rankings. The penultimate game at The Alamodome drew 30,000 to watch the Commanders top Salt Lake, putting them at an average that exceeded 27,000 (over 8,000 more than runner-up Orlando).

River City also hosted the New Orleans Saints when they were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. NFL prospects have been teased for years. It's time they finally be fulfilled, even if the Cowboys and/or Texans might have something to say about it.

St. Louis
Professional football will return to the Gateway City this winter, when the rebooted XFL situates its BattleHawks franchise at the Rams' former stadium. That could serve as a perfect "audition" for St. Louis fans eager to see the NFL look their way once more.

Whether they've stuck with the Los Angeles-bound Rams or found a new allegiance, citizens remain interested in football and would love to see it make a comeback. Timing probably will never be better, as St. Louis has started to establish itself as an elite sport town: the Cardinals were National League finalists, four months after the Blues hoisted their first Stanley Cup