More NFL games coming internationally

Posted by Darren Urban on October 7, 2015 – 10:25 am

The Cardinals’ regular-season game in Mexico a decade ago was one of a kind.

But maybe it won’t always be.

The NFL owners approved a resolution Wednesday to extend the league’s ability to play games that count outside the United States through the 2025 season. Games previously have been in the United Kingdom, but there is a good chance the league will also look elsewhere. There was already talk of a Pro Bowl in Brazil, so perhaps a game could go there. And Mexico remains an obvious possibility, although the league will want to make sure whatever stadium teams play in is up to NFL standards. (When I was at Estadio Azteca in 2005, there were some spots that definitely needed upgrades. Not sure how things stand now.)

“We think it’s time to expand our International Series to other countries and respond to the growing interest in our game not only in the UK, but elsewhere around the world,” commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Next year’s international games, plus the other countries who could eventually host games, will be named later this fall.

What does this mean for the Cardinals? I’m sure Michael Bidwill would like to have his team in an international game. The catch, as there are with every team, is that someone has to give up a home game to play away. With 98 straight sellouts, I’m sure the Cardinals would rather make an out-of-country trip, wherever it might be, a road game and keep their home dates. Also to consider is the recent rule that franchises that are awarded Super Bowls eventually have to give up a home game to play internationally. Whenever the Cardinals and Arizona bid for another Super Bowl — and that will happen — the Cards will be on the hook there.


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42 Responses to “More NFL games coming internationally”

  1. By TucsonTim on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Question. Before the 2 minute warning in both halves, the Cards had a player go out of bounds and the clock kept running down to the 2 minute warning. Was this another officiating mistake in last week’s game?

  2. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    TucsonTim —

    RE: Clock

    No. Clock runs after out-of-bounds plays until 2 minutes left in first half, 5 minutes left in second half.

  3. By Marcelof on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Brazil isn’t a nice place to play, not at all. But I’d be glad may Cardinals show up
    here in the near future.

    Football culture is growing fast, there are plenty of new-born-no-pads-small-town teams that are trying to have some fun (and lots of injuries); TV broadcasting is getting larger every year – although there’s no subscription here but NFL game pass – there’s also a professional football league, but it does hurt to watch it. And unfortunately it is still hard to find NFL’s products around.

    A massive amount of the population does not speak English, and there’re terms that simply cannot be translated making the game rather difficult to make out. I myself practice with a no-pad team in the south of Brazil, but that’s just a weekend leisure

    Brazilian infrastructure is far below an acceptable level, despite having the worldwide famous soccer, stadiums here are merely a draft if compared to the NFL’s show stages.

    It looks I’m putting brazil down but the bottom line is I’m just being realistic and there’s a long and tough road to football in brazilian lands.

  4. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Marcelof —

    RE: Brazil

    I appreciate the honest assessment.

  5. By Scott H on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Here’s what I would like to see – a polling of NFL fans in large numbers to see if this is something THEY really want to see. Because my sense if that they DO NOT. And, really, WHY WOULD THEY??? Why would fans in ANY city support having one of their precious home games being given to a city in Europe or Mexico or anywhere else? If I were a season ticket holder anywhere, I would be mad as hell about that.

    I am around football fans everywhere I go and any time I hear this issue being discussed, I rarely hear anyone saying that they like the games being played in London. Or, that they think globalizing the game is a good thing.

    I could be wrong but I really doubt that I am. I really don’t think the majority of NFL fans are in favor of games being played in other countries. So…who, REALLY, is driving this movement? Simple – and as always – the people who stand to make even more money from it.

    Seriously, at what point does a person have more money than they will EVER need?? Obviously, the NFL owners have no concept of when enough is enough.

    As far as I am concerned, the NFL can give London / Mexico / wherever pre-season games….they can give them the Pro-Bowl…..they can give them the Hall of Fame game… problem. Regular season games? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Those SHOULD belong to the fans in the hometown cities in this country. Period.

    Shoot, why NOT give them the Pro Bowl??? Clearly, no one else wants it. We can kill two REAL BIG birds with one stone.

  6. By LadyBird04 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    I know the profit margin for the NFL is the only thing they are considering. As a fan, I hate the games from outside the USA. It doesn’t do anything for the fan base and is not so nice for the players; long travel, BIG time differences, not necessarily optimum accommodations or even playing conditions. Security issues abound around the world are increasing and the league and owners should consider the safety of the players, refs and even the fans that go to these games. Just a money grab, IMHO

  7. By D on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    NFL is the biggest sport in this country, not as big in Europe or other parts of the World. No way should the NFL make a team play outside the country and give up a home game and cheat their fans if they have a history of selling out games. Which, basically would give the foreigner’s the Jags, Dolphins, Raiders and Chargers every year giving up home games, but heck, those Euro’s are not paying for season tickets and pre-season full price games.
    I say whoever the NFL chooses to give up a home game that year, should cut the 2 pre-season games prices in half for that year.

    Big week for the NFC West. Would be nice if Cards could beat the Lions and both the Rams and SeaChickens would lose. Both play tough games on the road. The AZ tackles better be on their game this Sunday, Detroit has 2 good Edge Rushers..

  8. By LadyBird04 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Bertrand Berry just on the radio. Said he personally is not fond of the idea of foreign games. He brought up the point that when they went to Mexico to play, none of the players, coaches etc., were allowed to go out and do anything because of the real threat of kidnapping as Mexico had a severe problem of people being kidnapped. How much has that improved?

  9. By Chuck 1 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Re: Playing the same eleven players on defense much of the game. (from an earlier blog)

    If Keim and BA love the fact that the roster is so “DEEP”, why is Bettcher playing the same eleven players for most of the game???

    Bettcher’s no Bowles!!!

  10. By Steve on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Darren: Does the players association have any say over whether the players would or would not agree to play in international games on a regular basis? I get the feeling lots of players would just as soon not have to play in these games.

  11. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: International permission

    I’m not sure how that worked but I’m guessing, since it’s a game on the schedule, it’s baked into the CBA and the players don’t have a say (or agreed to it.)

  12. By JeffA on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t know is it has improved at all (as in if kidnappings have increased or decreased since when the Cardinals went there), but it is still very much a threat either way.

  13. By Sir60 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H has it right. I don’t know a single football fan who likes these international games. If they really want American style football, let them start their own league like Canada has done. Lets do a poll.

  14. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Sir60 —

    RE: Poll

    Scott has something else right — the league and owners want to grow the game so that the money continues to come in 15, 20, 25 years down the road.

  15. By Sir60 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Maybe, as fans, we should boycott overseas games just to get their attention. What’s the point of a business if they don’t cater to their clients?

  16. By Marlin on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    In any business…sometimes expansion leads to a lack of focus on core markets. NFL owners should carefully consider the negative impact of international expansion….. on their core U.S. market.

  17. By JR on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    If the NFL were to seriously begin playing a lot of international games, I would seriously consider canceling my Cardinals season tickets. We only have 8 home games as it is.

  18. By Dr. G. on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Not a fan of the “blackmail” tied to getting the Super Bowl, however, that is a moneymaker for the hosting city, but most home fans cannot afford it. ((Perhaps a pre-season game is better if it is a must.))

    I am burning some gray matter trying to figure mathematically how an out of conference NFC/AFC regular season game could be played with both teams on their “away” schedule. I’ll get back later. Suggestions welcomed.

    Surely, we don’t want a game in places like Beijing; lest our guys return with emphysema…

    Detroit got hosed…we cannot take this game lightly feeling sorry for them. The wounded cat does not yield…ever. GO CARDS…!!!

  19. By Chuck 1 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply


    Is there a way that fans can post comments to the NFL to object to international games?

  20. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    RE: Post comments

    Isn’t that what you are doing?

  21. By TucsonTim on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    I agree with everyone else. We buy our season tickets to watch our team play here. I don’t like the international games either. Wasn’t NFL Europe a failed experiment?

  22. By Cooper Brown on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply


  23. By Sean on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Croke park in Dublin would suit me as its a 10 hour flight to az, 7 hours to New York last year to see the boys rock. International series games are only a money making gimmick though, all the bird gangs home games need and should be played at HOME

  24. By Dominik on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    As a Cardinals fan from Switzerland, Europe, I wouldn’t want the team to give up a home game but I would love to see them play an away game in London or Germany.

    I’ve been to a London game twice and loved it, people from all across Europe go there and enjoy watching a REAL football game. Game Pass where you can watch every single game, live and on demand plus the international series are making football more and more popular over here. London games are sold out within days no matter what crappy teams are playing. When I started playing there was one league, now there are three leagues. There’s so much potential and a lot of money to be made for the NFL…

    But the NFL should keep it as it is.
    How it’s been for the last couple of season (2 or 3 games) is enough for me and most other European fans I know and a London franchise wouldn’t work for so many reasons. One of them being that the most part of fans already have their team and wouldn’t switch theirs. I can’t imagine rooting for the London Jaguars for example.

    Became a Cardinals fan about 10 years ago and forever will be, even if that means staying up all night to catch a game starting at 2.30am and maybe some day I’ll see them play live without having to travel to the US…

  25. By Nick Pepe on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    I am ok with a game here or there out of the country. I understand they want to establish fans and interest (income) from anywhere possible. But I am adamantly against a franchise in London or elsewhere. Logistically it would be a nightmare for traveling and playing short weeks. And most importantly this is America’s game. It needs to remain that way.

    Nick Pepe
    Lifetime Member

  26. By Scott H on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Wow, TWO people actually said I got something right! How the hell did that happen??

    I like what I’m hearing so far because what I’m hearing so far is support for the idea that regular season games should belong to the hometown cities where the teams play and where you have the fan bases that TRULY support the NFL and its product.

    I see the NFL going down a lot of roads under Goodell that I do not think the fans really like or support. That tells you all you need to know about who butters his bread and who he is going to serve the best interests of. And that AIN’T us. This league does not care about you ( the fans ) and what you want. But they sure as heck want you to keep spending your money ( soon to be THEIR money ) to go to their games and buy their merchandise. To THAT end, you are useful. In terms of what you want? They don’t give a rat’s you-know-what. How sad is that???

    Said it before and I’ll say it again – if people in other countries want to see regular season NFL games? They can come to this country to see them. Done. We have 16 of them going on every week in cities that are GREAT places to visit. Let them come here and support OUR economy. Let the NFL start coming up with ways to promote and accommodate that.

    I don’t see France sending the Eifel Tower over here so we can see it. If we want to see that, we have to go to Paris. And that’s fine. But the door swings both ways.

  27. By Chuck 1 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply


    The Cards’ organization or you don’t forward our fans’ objections to the NFL, do you?

  28. By Darren Urban on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Chuck 1 —

    RE: Objections

    No, I suppose not.

  29. By Chuck 1 on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Apparently, there are at least four fans who agree with Bettcher, who doesn’t want to use his vaunted DEPTH during the game and believe that he is at least as good as Todd Bowles.

  30. By Kevin S Mesa on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Obviously I’m in the minority (so I guess I’ll prepare in advance for the thumbs-down) but I don’t really have a problem with this.

    Some people are acting like we have a monopoly on American football. Well, baseball was invented here too… and yet it has become popular in other parts of the world. MLB teams have played regular season games in Australia, Japan and Mexico.

    Re: fans losing a home game, well, OK, but it’s not like they make you pay for the ticket for the game you’re missing. If (as an example) there were four games a year that were played overseas, you could rotate the games among all 32 teams so that each team played one home game and one away game every eight years. I don’t think that’s going to cripple any season-ticket holder or any team’s fan base, to lose one home game a little more often than once per decade.

    Is it about the money? Of course. But you’re also talking about making the NFL accessible to many more people worldwide who would otherwise never have a chance of attending a live game. You’re talking about generating more interest in the game. People act like money in the game is a bad thing, but money also supports state-of-the-art stadiums (does anyone want to go back to the Cards playing at Sun Devil Stadium after taking in a game at U of P), equipment, etc. Money is what motivates the players to train at levels far beyond the athletes of the past, and is why the game is therefore played at an ever-higher level.

  31. By TucsonTim on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Cooper –

    I lived in Frankfurt Germany when there was an NFL Europe. The games I went to were well attended. I think the problem was the other cities. There were a lot of Americans living in central Germany back then.

    Frankly, I can’t believe anyone would watch soccer over real FOOTBALL. God knows I’ve tried, having lived in Europe and having a son who played…briefly, soccer. Then my son grew up and played ourside line backer for his high school… ooh rah! Now he is headed for the Marines!

    Australia and New Zealand are far better situated for NFL style real football. I love Europe, visit almost every year; but they carry man purses and love bouncing funny shaped balls off their foreheads. They’re not going to embrace the NFL.

    From Rice to Brady you can see that this commisioner isn’t really too bright. Perhaps just saying to the NBA and MLB we can play games in London makes him feel important. Funny how we can see just how silly it is.

    Anyway,NFL please don’t take a home game away from UOP. I love my football and I love my Cardinals I don’t wan’t to watch them 0630 on a Sunday in London.

  32. By georgiebird on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Games in London and other European cities are very unfair to teams like the Cardinals. Let all the East Coast teams play games in Europe and the more Western teams can play in Mexico. All can play in Canada.

  33. By Dr. G. on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    ScottH… We have the original London Bridge right here in Arizona… an Eiffel Tower in Vegas…Just a reminder FYI…

  34. By Dr. G. on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Seems that American football was developed by our wonderful capitalistic society where more people can afford to go to the games. I cannot think of any country save Canada that could build a fan base that would sustain anything as such…been tried and failed…. It cannot be compared to any other sport…period… If others want to see a game…seems like everyone likes the “virtual” world these days…turn on the tube or go to a pub in town…

  35. By DGCards! on Oct 7, 2015 | Reply

    Come to Germany!!

  36. By Red Dead Redemption on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    If you have to keep the NFL international. London should be it and even that is a dumb idea. My friends over in the UK say the NFL is a novelty event. Like how Americans don’t like soccer mostly but like the world cup to a point.
    Their opinion is if they got a NFL team? You take the novelty away and it becomes a normal event and it’s boring. Most don’t even understand the NFL. They just go there to have fun. They don’t understand the rules and honestly don’t want to make the effort.
    The NFL is arrogant is they think they can achieve world domination. They make more than enough money and have three teams that can’t get new stadiums currently. I think it would be better to explore additional US cities for moves and expansion. Than to shift eyes overseas and really believe you can force other countries to love this game like we do.
    There is a point where several billion dollars a year, is more than enough.
    If you really want to bring football over there? Create a new league exclusively for over there, oh wait you did and it failed. But we got Kurt Warner from it.

  37. By Alex on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    I’d like to see one in the UK. Especially at the millenium stadium in Wales, as the uk isn’t just London. I’m guessing I’m in the minority here ;0)

  38. By Steve W. on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    I like the idea of seeing NFL teams play the occasional game in another country, especially in Europe. It’s nice to wake up on Sunday and have an early game on TV! And aren’t they setting up the schedule so that the two teams that fly overseas has a bye on the following week? That seems like it’d solve any problems so far as fatigue due to jet lag.

    I’m seeing a whole lot of negative posts and basically folks saying “we don’t like it, so the owners shouldn’t do it,” so yeah I’m guessing my opinion won’t be popular. But… isn’t it sort of the owners’ call? I mean, they do OWN the team, right? We pay to watch and enjoy the game from our seats (whether in the stadium, at home or in a sports bar), but the business decisions are theirs to make. Taking your team to another venue in another country is yet another way to make money. Which pretty much is, after all, what a successful business owner is looking to do.

    That said, I agree with the idea that having NFL teams actually based in other countries would be at the very least problematic and at worst a complete nightmare. Not until science solves the whole teleportation issue anyway. I suppose it could work if that overseas team had a schedule that lumped half of their away games into two sets of four or something. Even then, it’d be a pain in the rear for everyone I should think.

  39. By Marcelof on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    Kevin –

    I gave you no thumb down (nor up)

    “But you’re also talking about making the NFL accessible to many more people worldwide who would otherwise never have a chance of attending a live game”

    That’s the point, that’s the magic of the game, dude.
    It’s a dream of mine to head to US and watch a game THERE. Your gameday culture, the passion for the sport, the colours that wash the crowd, the way you take part of the game, the D-fence shouts. It’s not just about the game itself, it’s about everything.

    People who would love to attend a live game in their country might have no idea how different that would be to attend it in the US, you guys and your culture make it better, bigger, stronger.

    Again, it’s not just the game

  40. By Dr. G. on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    Taking a game over seas is just another way to make money????

    Some don’t get this. The home team ((especially)) will be giving up the income to subsidize a foreign game. Don’t we already have enough foreign aid? The expense is not worth it.

    Plus, for them it is just an excuse to get out from the tiny flat. Even soccer fans just sit there and produce a constant din and fight because there is very little to cheer about. When I try to watch soccer, there is more action in the stands than on the field… Yep…soccer is a novelty for them as well…

    Our NFL is truly action packed and exciting…no need to fake anything.

    Go Cards in Motown…!

  41. By Darren Urban on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Income

    The home team does not give up the income. The league makes sure the home team gets the money from the game, so they aren’t losing out.

  42. By Dr. G. on Oct 8, 2015 | Reply

    Got it, Darren, so you are saying the team is compensated, but how about for all the team shop sales, concessions, beer tappers, parking for some teams, etc., etc…. don’t think so…

    As a side effect, the nearby pubs, restaurants lose out on the after parties. Some cities use cabs, rail and bike peddlers, street vendors, and on and on….’tis a big deal.

    The NFL is far more reaching than some realize. Trickle down affects lots of enterprise…be well

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