In this here today, gone tomorrow business, it's heartening to find a story that can truly be called timeless - a story that, like Santa Claus, Wiarton Willie and Britney's adventures in exposure, can be impressive simply for the fact that it remains. And so it was this week when incoming NFL commissioner Roger Goodell etched his name into the books with his first pronouncement on the NFL in Toronto: Go on, pull the other one story:
Within the next decade, one of those cities -- most likely Mexico City or Toronto -- could be host to a National Football League franchise, he added.
"We can envision that," Goodell said of expansion outside the United States, in response to a question. "I don't know if it will become a reality, but it's certainly a possibility.
"The closer to the border, probably the more likely from a geographic standpoint; but I don't think in today's world that's a hurdle to overcome," he added.
According to the time-honoured script, it was followed by this one:
"The stories made it look more significant than it was," said NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello. "He wasn't announcing anything, he was responding to a question specifically about expanding internationally and he didn't rule it out."
International expansion to where? Selling the NFL in just about every part of the world is like taking herringbone tweed to the desert. They've tried Europe, and apart from finding an excuse for a handful of disaffected Eurogoths to play dressup during the real footy off-season, it really hasn't made a dent. And no wonder. American football is America, as intoxicating as Vegas in its blend of bone-crunching danger, cheesecake and making real estate deals. It's Glengarry Glen Ross, with the end zone standing in for the steak knives (hey, Al Pacino starred as Al Davis in GGR and Any Given Sunday). George Will put it best: "Football incorporates the two worst elements of American society: violence punctuated by committee meetings."
But well played,
Your Highness Rog Mr. Goodell. You are now firmly on board, alongside Santa, Willie, Britney and your illustrious predecessors. Long may you obfuscate reign.