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Building A 2024 NFL Expansion Team, Part I: City, Branding, Staff

Our fan-favorite annual NFL expansion series is back earlier than usual for 2024! If you’ve been waiting on this, you already know what this is about. If you’re new to the four-part series, we’ll be building and exploring what an NFL expansion franchise might look like 2024. Of course, the last NFL expansion draft was with the Texans in 2002 and who knows when or if there’ll be another one; but it’s a fun exercise to construct a 33rd NFL team.


The NFL expansion series starts with Part I: the city, branding, and coaching staff. To make it more realistic, I used AI (ChatGPT) to come up with the five options for the city, and then five potential team names based off the selected city. Let’s go.




San Antonio, Texas

Considering Phoenix basically hosts the Cardinals (who play in Glendale), San Antonio is the most populated state in the United States without an NFL team. Also, my AI advisors astutely note that the Alamodome could host the franchise until a new stadium is built. One downside is the presence of the Cowboys and Texans, though the state of Texas certainly loves football.


St. Louis, Missouri

The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis is another temporary hosting venue that could be an advantage, and there’s a support of football in the area as has been shown with secondary professional leagues in the past few years. Ultimately, it would also be a display of goodwill to give St. Louis a club after the Rams were taken away.


Toronto, Canada

The Bills played a series of games in Toronto over a decade ago, so there’s a history there. And there’s an international interest in American football that continues to grow. I understand that hardcore fans of the CFL and the Toronto Argonauts might not be happy about this, but frankly the NFL has shown they will do as they please.


Portland, Oregon

Portland is noted as a growing city with a vibrant sports culture, but the smaller market size is a potential concern. However, the Pacific Northwest is a fantastic area that’s underserved with only the Seahawks currently playing in the region. I think the Mountain West region should also get more love, but options like Salt Lake City are likely a tad small for an NFL team.


Las Vegas, Nevada

Interestingly, ChatGPT—noting a strong appetite for professional sports and a world-class entertainment infrastructure, despite the potential market saturation with the Raiders—suggested a second team for Las Vegas, which continues to grow into the United States’ newest sports mecca. If the NFL does ever expand, I would not be shocked if Vegas was at least talked about as the host city—but they will not be the choice here quite yet for a 2024 expansion club.


Choice: Toronto, Canada

While London would be an excellent choice, it was not among the options here; it was the city for last year’s team anyway. I like the idea of having great branding for a northern football team in Toronto, which is the fourth-biggest city (in terms of population) in North America behind only Mexico City, New York City, and Los Angeles.


Team Name



I always say that dog-type names are criminally underutilized in professional sports considering how awesome they are and how much people love them, so I like Huskies as an option. There was a Toronto Huskies basketball team in the 1940s, so we would have to figure some things out there, though.



Wolverines are described as powerful, fierce, and tenacious animals, and it would be a fit among NFL team names like Bears and Bengals. They are also a good representation of the Canadian wilderness.


Northern Lights

Many Americans had a rare chance to see the northern lights earlier this year, and they are no doubt a spectacular phenomenon. However, Northern Lights just feels off for a sports team name in my opinion.



This name is said to honor the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to resonate with Canadian values. I don’t like this one. Toronto Mounties simply doesn’t sound great.



This is an interesting one, as Grizzlies would be one of the most intimidating team names and brands in the league. It also speaks to the rugged and cold nature of Canada. But Grizzlies might be too similar to the Bears.


Choice: Stars

I made the executive decision to go with a twist off Northern Lights and instead go with Stars after Northern Stars was a suggested revision. Toronto Stars is a simple name that sounds good, and we are far enough away from the NHL’s Dallas Stars to use the same team name.


Head Coach


Bill Belichick

Any 2024 NFL head coach openings should have started their search with Bill Belichick, and that’s where the Toronto Stars begin. It’s imperative that an expansion franchise immediately sets high standards and expectations.


Ben Johnson

The opportunity to coach and build around likely No. 1 pick Caleb Williams is one that, I believe, would appeal to Ben Johnson. However, with unfinished business with the Lions, the bright offensive mind decides to remain in Detroit.


Chip Kelly

Former NFL Coach of the Year Chip Kelly not only brings underrated coaching ability but would implement organizational measures that help an expansion club set a strong foundation and get off on the right foot. Kelly was open to opportunities around the NFL this offseason and ultimately left the UCLA head coach position to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State.


Jim Caldwell

While he does not plan to seek a head coaching job again, Jim Caldwell must be mentioned here as an option. It’s ridiculous how someone that’s been to a Super Bowl (with Peyton Manning) and was 36-28 for the Lions has not gotten much interest for another shot as a head coach.


Lou Anarumo

Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo always does a nice job with the Cincy defense, and he should get more consideration for head coaching jobs, too.


Choice: Bill Belichick

I am honestly not sure if we would be able to attract Belichick to an expansion team, but there’s also no guarantee he gets a shot to coach in 2025 either (as stupid as that would be). So, we might have a shot. Belichick-coached defenses are always competitive, and we might even be able to do a package deal where we bring his friend Chip Kelly on as the offensive coordinator.


Offensive Coordinator


Chip Kelly

Kelly was already mentioned above, and I’ll also note that he thinks very highly of presumptive top pick Caleb Williams, calling the USC product and Andrew Luck the two best players he’s coached against. There would be plenty of enthusiasm and creativity if Kelly had the opportunity to work with Caleb.


Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels as Belichick’s offensive coordinator worked plenty of magic in New England, and the two would almost certainly explore working together a third time in this situation.


Kliff Kingsbury

If Caleb is in fact the selection, Kliff Kingsbury would have a preexisting relationship from their time together at USC last year. And Belichick drafted Kingsbury in 2003. Remember, Kingsbury was set to coordinate the Raiders before Washington won him over, so I’ll say that’s the case here and he heads to the Commanders.


Choice: Chip Kelly

I’m intrigued by the idea of a Kelly-led offense and a Belichick-led defense, and perhaps Belichick would be open to going in another direction despite how highly he thinks of his two-time assistant McDaniels.


Defensive Coordinator


Steve Belichick

Essentially working as the co-defensive coordinator with Jerod Mayo in recent years, Steve Belichick has obviously learned a ton from his dad and has experience coaching top defenses. In real life, Belichick became the defensive coordinator for the Washington Huskies this offseason.


Matt Patricia

Going his own way to some extent, Matt Patricia was put in a tough spot last year going from senior defensive assistant for the Eagles to their de facto defensive coordinator calling the plays while the team was skidding. Patricia has not yet found an NFL role in 2024.


Dennard Wilson

Dennard Wilson is thought of very highly by players from his past two stops in Philly and Baltimore, and he’d be another defensive coordinator candidate to pursue for the staff. He took the Titans DC job in real life and opts for them, though.


Choice: Steve Belichick

The recent Pats teams overall had its struggles, thanks mostly to the offense and injuries (along with Tom Brady leaving), but we know the Belichick pairing works defensively. They are their own people, but the defensive vision would be seamlessly implemented by the father-son duo.


General Manager


As usual for this exercise, a traditional general manager with personnel power will not be hired. I am very confident that ownership and the coaching staff can handle the roster.


Check back tomorrow for Part II of the 2024 NFL expansion series, with the NFL Expansion Draft!