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The Rogers Centre in Toronto has played host to the NFL's Buffalo Bills in the past. Mayor Rob Ford wants the city to have its own NFL team. ((Canadian Press))

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hopes to bring a National Football League franchise to the city.

Ford, well-known for coaching high school football, and his brother Coun. Doug Ford said four groups have approached city hall with hopes of bringing a team north.

The 32-team league currently only plays in the U.S., although Toronto's Rogers Centre has been home field for the Buffalo Bills for some games during the past two seasons.

Doug Ford said a new team would be good for the city's economy.

"How can we bring tourism to Toronto? How can we create jobs? Great fit would be an NFL team," Ford told CBC News.

Several fans who spoke with CBC News said they'd welcome the NFL, known for its exciting and hard-hitting play — even in Toronto's already crowded professional sports market.

Previous bids

Toronto has made attempts to bring a team to the city in the past, most notably in 1989 and 1995 when a group led by Paul Godfrey made a bid for a team.

"The NFL cannot ignore the fourth-largest market in North America," Doug Ford said.

Toronto Sun sports columnist Steve Simmons is not so sure. He said the NFL's moves are more about advertising and television contracts than about city size.

"I just don't see it happening," said Simmons. "They can't sell their ads that they sell on U.S. television here. They can't market that way here."

Simmons said it's the first time he can remember an elected official in Toronto campaigning to bring a team to town.

Ford said a new team would require bigger stadium than the Rogers Centre, which can seat 50,000. But he said no local taxpayer money would be spent on a potential new stadium.

Toronto is already home to the Argonauts, a Canadian Football League franchise. The Argos are the oldest pro football team in North America, having been founded in 1873.