Vandermeer's View: Explosive growth

That the NFL is America's most popular sport is no surprise. But a glimpse of just how dominant the league is in our culture and how it's growing abroad is certainly impressive.

The NFL is coming off a season that included a Super Bowl which was the most viewed TV program in history. Sunday Night Football on NBC was the number one show in the land for the fifth straight season. And the new CBS Thursday night package was the 3rd most viewed series.

Here at the NFL meetings in Phoenix there's plenty of talk about how the league is marketing itself through an ever changing media landscape. Consider that we now live in a world where people spend

more time with their smart phones than their televisions and you'll understand why it's so important to keep the game growing on all media platforms.

That's why it surprised no one when it was reported that the Jacksonville-Buffalo game in London will be streamed live as well as televised in the local markets. By the way, an afternoon kickoff in England not only means morning NFL for the United States but it puts the game in prime time in, wait for it, China.

The league sees nothing but potential overseas and although that doesn't mean much to local fans who are concerned about fortifying the wide receiver position, it's certainly worth noting.

Reports that Brazil is being considered as a Pro Bowl site for 2017 might seem strange at first. But Rio would certainly provide an exotic location and huge international market that's just an hour earlier than east coast time.

Competitive balance will always be a calling card. For the 25th consecutive season, there was at least a four team churn in playoff participants. And the NFL hasn't had a repeat Super Bowl winner in over a decade.

The Houston Texans roster in photos.

That means your team has a shot. OK, some better than others but there's hope to turn things around as the Texans did last year when they converted the worst record in the league to a chance to make the playoffs with a few minutes left in the season.

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