The history between Sioux Falls and the National Football League is all of about three hours long and took place more than six decades ago.

Almost 63 years have passed since the then NFL expansion Minnesota Vikings played their first ever game - on August 5, 1961 - in South Dakota's largest city, going down in defeat to the Dallas Cowboys 38-13 in a pre-season matchup.

Since then, Sioux Falls' chances of ever hosting another NFL game, much less ever landing a team of its own, were slim and none.

Until now.

Chalk it up to sheer off-season boredom, an extremely vivid imagination, or maybe some substance-induced rambling, but an ESPN columnist is actually floating the idea of the NFL setting up shop at the intersection of I-29 and I-90.

In his story 'What if the NFL expanded to 100 teams?', senior NFL scribe Bill Barnwell writes about the saturation of professional football (soccer to you and me) teams in England (roughly 92 of them in an area the size of the state of Ohio), which got him to thinking about America's most popular sport and what would happen if the NFL threw caution to the wind and expanded not just from the existing 32 teams to say 40, but rather a nice, massive round number like 100.

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So where would these new 68 teams come from?

48 of the 50 states would be represented in this new mega league (sorry Rhode Island and Vermont). He'd even have a team in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

How does Sioux Falls factor into the new landscape?

As the 121st most populated city in the United States, it does seems like a candidate for this exercise in ridiculousness.

Barnwell's pitch for Sioux Falls?

'South Dakota gets its team. One option would be to put it in Vermillion with the University of South Dakota, but we're going 65 miles to the north for a larger population and an airport. Our new team will need to win the hearts and minds of South Dakotans who have otherwise adopted the Vikings, but Minneapolis is more than 230 miles away. We can make this work, especially given that there's going to be some competition in North Dakota.'

That's right, because he's got not one, but two teams heading to the Peace Garden State as part of his proposed eight-team West Division.

WEST (Existing Team: Denver Broncos)

  • Bismarck, North Dakota
  • Boise, Idaho
  • Bozeman, Montana
  • Fargo, North Dakota
  • Laramie, Wyoming
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Sioux Falls would also have new nearby rivals in Des Moines and Omaha, which he has earmarked for the Midwest Division.

Here's what the map of the 100-team NFL would look like:

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