JT Batson took his place on stage inside the sprawling exhibition hall of the United Football Coaches Convention on Friday and watched the crowds of attendees roll in like afternoon traffic.
A few of them continued, but some stopped after they noticed that one of the most powerful people in American football was in front of them.
If they didn’t know Bateson, who became the NFL’s CEO in late September, there was an opportunity to meet him. And if they stayed around, they learned some interesting things.
Some things had to do with his football background. Some were about his working relationship with President Cindy Cohn, who sat next to him. One was about the men’s national team, and it was news.
It wasn’t about who would be the next manager. It is likely that this decision will remain in limbo even after an external investigation Reina Berhalter Scandal and threats of mistreatment of other NFL officials.
There’s no clear timeline on when the investigation will end, though Kuhn would like it to happen quickly. NFL has not given investigators an official deadline, in case they are forced to skip important details.
The board also does an internal review of Berhalter’s field work, with no deadline there either. But Batson revealed that the revision isn’t just about the past. He is also looking to the future.
Big game hunting
By virtue of hosting [the 2026 men’s World Cup]Batson said. So, what does that mean for our men’s national team environments [will be] From a competitive game standpoint over the next three and a half years? “
He repeated this point to a small group of reporters after he walked off the stage.
“We know we need to play against good competition in competitive environments,” Baston said. “We also know that other confederations are doing things that make that difficult. And so we have to be very proactive and partner with other parts of the football world to get where our team plays in competitive environments.”
The challenge Bateson pointed out was how much of the global national team calendar is being taken up by the Association of European Teams and the South American World Cup Qualifier marathons.
But the impetus for finding partnerships was a message as bright as the hall lights.
Within days of the United States’ exit from the World Cup in Qatar, rumors began circulating about the team’s inclusion Guest invitation to Copa America 2024South American National Team Championship. Mexico will likely participate as well.
There have also been reports of an expanded tournament similar to the 2016 Copa América Centenario, which was hosted by the United States and was highly praised – And big profit. A larger field would also involve Canada and other important CONCACAF countries.
And all the better If hosted by the United States again, which the gossip also put on the table. Scheduled hosts Ecuador said they would not be able to host the traditional edition, which helped open the door.
Meetings have happened
When asked if he would like to address the reports, Batson replied, “I have nothing to say, and that makes it easy.”
But he knew why he was being asked, and he even knew to film it for the local audience. He attended the Copa América Centenario game at Lincoln Financial Field in 2016 with family members who are big fans of the Eagles.
“It was the first time my cousins thought I was cool, for taking them to where the Eagles play,” Batson said. “The Copa América is a hell of a possession and a thing — you know, South American teams are obviously a great team, and so…”
Stop before saying too much. But the next question came quickly: Would the United States want to host?
“This is CONMEBOL [the South American confederation]Batson said. Obviously, we know those parties, and we — you know, we may or may not be in Miami this week.”
This led the cat out of the bag.
“We’re very proactive about what we’re trying to do, and CONCACAF has been fantastic,” Batson said. “They understand the challenges that Mexico, Canada and the United States face in terms of competitive environments for the next three and a half years. They’ve been really, really good partners and help us figure out how to navigate that.”
Obviously it will be some time before anything official happens, but it’s also clear that fans should stay tuned.
“There will be more over the coming months in terms of some of the details there, because nothing is completely definitive,” Batson said. “But we’ve been working on this for some time to ensure our team is playing against really good opponents consistently and in competitive environments.”