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If an NFL team came to Salt Lake City, would you attend Sunday games?

NFL on CBS recently posed this question online: If the NFL has announced a new expansion team, which city do you think deserves it the most?

Salt Lake City received more mentions than you might think.

I always thought that Utah would one day become a prime location for the nation’s most popular professional sports league to have a franchise. One day. Is that day approaching? Close enough to the point where he might actually be a genuine candidate? Or talk about her as a candidate? Or deserve to be a candidate?

This is the case, especially on the latter.

On my radio show about 20 years ago, my partner and I started a discussion on this very topic. And I said, based on my conversations with Larry Miller, with whom I had spent an hour discussing this possibility privately, I thought there was a decent chance within a few decades or that it becomes a reality.

My partner, whom I respected a lot then and still respect, offered me a separate designation to stop at this conclusion. He said I was — let’s see, what was the exact word? oh yeah – an “idiot”.

Utah’s population was too small. His entrepreneurial capacity in terms of sponsorship dollars was too limited. His football fan bases were too college oriented. Its cultural and religious attitudes were too restrictive regarding the allowance or availability of fans to attend games on Sundays.

Maybe I was an idiot. But maybe not.

We weren’t talking then. We were talking now, or at some point in the not too distant future.

What do you think?

Is Salt Lake City, is the entire Wasatch Front, reaching a point where they could or would support and support an NFL team? It would be expensive, would cost billions. It would take a load of business dollars. It could take taxpayers willing to at least partially help with the cost of a stadium. It would require a fanbase, even among the faithful, willing to skip church meetings or sue them to fill a stadium, buy all manner of concessions, and drink cups of drinks at inflated prices.

You play?

If people here choose not to go to games on Sunday, for whatever reason, that’s fine.

But we are talking about professional football here. The fucking N…F…L. It’s not a start-up trying to drum up interest in a substandard league made up of a bunch of ex-college players not good enough to play in the biggest show . He is the king of professional sports in this country.

When the Jazz first arrived in Utah in the late ’70s, some thought the NBA couldn’t compete with the wildly popular college teams here. And ever since the Jazz moved in, college basketball in this state has been reeling, trying to find a way to generate or regenerate a method to attract fans to the games.

No one can argue that when it comes to basketball in Utah, the Jazz are relatively untouchable.

College football in these regions has taken hold, especially with the growth of the University of Utah program, existing and thriving as it does in the Pac-12. BYU has always been a strong draw, and now that the Cougars have found a home in the Big 12, if they can react and adapt like the Utes did in the Pac-12, that popularity will grow.

Not sure a new love affair with the NFL diminishes passion for college so much, if at all. It might even boost it.

Football has become fundamentally popular in this state, and the mix of college and professional endeavors would, in my opinion, propel it to new heights.

Exactly where an owner would come from, who it would be, what group of individuals might get away with it, I’m not sure. But with the tech industry growing here at the rate it is, along with other business booms, it looks a lot more promising in that regard than it once did.

Some studies that have been done, studies that include factors of all kinds, from the regional economy and personal income to an adequate nearby airport, market size and population growth, point to Salt Lake City as a future location for more viable for the NFL.

The cultural/religious question is fascinating. Would an adequate portion of the Latter-day Saint population accept the idea? I remember once having a conversation with a prominent Christian leader, a man of faith and influence who founded a university and led a large church in California, who said the following words, as they related to his university which fielded sports teams as part of his foundation.

“Sport”, he said, “is the God of our time”.

He didn’t say it literally, but he meant that sport strengthens many aspects of life. And that it can act as a benefit to any community attached to it.

The Jazz have seen it play a role in unifying a deeply divided state when it comes to college rivalries, and that unification helps fans decked out in various shades of red and blue blend in with the shades of Jazz purple.

Think about what an NFL team could do favorably for this community, because it doesn’t just touch on college rivalries, but also other sometimes important divisions, from politics to personal philosophies to religion. The NFL is far from perfect, and it’s not a full-fledged charity. But there are some good bennies that come with it.

With Utah growing, in terms of population, economy, diversity, attitude, football, I’m not sure my projections back then were so silly, after all.

Whether the NFL sees it that way, or ever will, is another question.

But just as important, before all that, is how Utah sees itself.

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Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion