Adam Goldstein is a Bears fanatic, “Da Bears,” to be exact. What Adam represents is not your typical Bears fan. He is the poster boy for the latest NFL expansion project. Adam is from Great Britain. With a deep passion for the NFL, a desire to raise awareness in Europe, and the chance to observe how teams affect their communities, he went on the trip of a lifetime.
Adam became a Bears fan in 1985, although he is not exactly sure why. He attributes his affinity to the team as a possible combination of the atmosphere at the games, the uniforms, and the cheerleaders. Regardless of the origins of his allegiance, Adam has stuck by the Bears through thick (Walter Payton) and thin (Rex Grossman.)
Immense sacrifice and dedication goes into a trip like this. Adam sold his apartment in London and currently has spent over $70,000 financing his journey. His 35 game, 17-week itinerary involves 800 miles travel per day, long flights, and countless memories made along the way. His goal of seeing a game in every NFL stadium has been his only focus of late. So far he has completed 21 of the 35 games on his schedule. His last stop was the Cardinals-Niners Monday night game this week. Watching the Cardinals on Monday was reminiscence of when he first realized his desire for a monumental NFL road trip. The same Bears-Cardinals Monday night game that is painfully recalled by the Cardinals faithful also happens to be the inspiration point for Adam.
He says, “I am an NFL fan and since going to the Bears MNF game against the Cards two years ago, I wanted to understand the power and impact of each NFL team on its community.”
Adam knows his main goal and if the NFL is listening, they could easily use him to advance their product. When asked to elaborate on his reasons for such a strenuous trip, he had this to say: “I wanted to change some of the stereotypes that people in the UK have of football…This sport is about friendship, community, and having a great time.”
Football games are a place where camaraderie thrives. They can be an escape from a hectic work week or a chance to reconnect with friends. Adam realizes the importance of each team within a community. Football has the ability to bring people together. As he attends each game, Adam becomes more and more aware of this fact.
“The highlight has literally been the fans and the support they’ve given me…they feed me…and have great stories for me…It really pleases me that everyone from children to veteran fans have shown me so much respect,” he says.
With the right exposure, the perks of planning such a whirlwind journey are numerous. Adam has brushed elbows with the likes of Michael Irvin, Mike Ditka, Jared Allen, and the commissioner of tailgating, Joe Cahn. One of his personal goals is to get the attention of Roger Goodell before he heads back across the pond. Whether Goodell can make time between Pacman Jones’ therapy sessions remains to be seen.
As a veteran of NFL games in both England and the United States, Adam has noticed a few differences. Tailgating is non-existent, fans do not drive to games, and according to Adam: “U.K. fans are not fickle.” While stereotyping an entire nation’s dedication may be uncalled for, he does make a point. The U.S. loves to hate, but not just the bad teams. Often times the most hated teams are the best teams in each sport. The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Lakers, and New England Patriots are some of the most despised teams in the States. While the underdog is a popular favorite to root for, if they end up not being the victor, they simply return to their status as a “bunch of losers.”
The last question that was asked of the seasoned traveler was one that certainly has been on the minds of the NFL elite. “Does the NFL have a future in England?”
Adam’s response was this: “Yes it does, I’d like to think my trip will help awareness back there…I would like to see more flag leagues popping up and more football in schools.”
The point that Adam makes has to be at the forefront of the NFL’s expansion discussions. The way to the European gold mine is through the youth. Encourage the development of high school football programs and build the market from the ground up. With patience and perseverance, the goal of expanding the NFL globally will be within reach. Individuals like Adam will have to lead the way and the NFL would be foolish not to reach out to those with the capability to influence the masses.
(As Published by AzRedReport.com)