Former NFL safety Jack Brewer, who is very active promoting the game in China, admitted to me recently that the NFL had made some serious missteps in the past here by rushing in too quickly and then having to retreat somewhat.
“It’s the NFL. We’re Americans. When are we not overambitious?”
But he added that the league has learned from that and is now taking a slower, grassroots approach that it hopes will be more sustainable. Either way, it won’t be clear for years whether the NFL has a serious future in China. In a perfect world, one or more promising Chinese kids will move to the US and make it in the NFL, but that won’t be happening anytime soon – if ever – and involves so many variables. So the alternative is to try and make progress inch by inch.