Just one week after the NFL returned to Mexico City for the first time in over a decade, there are already reports suggesting a new contest for the 2017 season.
During last night's Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles, Sutcliffe mentioned on the ESPN Deportes broadcast that Pats owner Robert Kraft is very interested in the possibility of playing in Mexico City.
Having the Raiders return to Mexico City is also consistent with team owner Mark Davis telling ESPN Mexico's Toque Inicial that he was keen on the club making visits to the country a regular occurrence. Oakland has one of the largest fan bases for any NFL franchise south of the border.
Despite some concern that the NFL would be reluctant to return to Mexico following fan incidents during last week's contest between the Raiders and Texans, the league appears committed to the country as a consistently viable international destination in the vein of what it's done in London.
“My goal would be similar to the U.K., where we're able to go back at least once a year and create our piece of the Mexico City sporting calendar," said Mark Waller, the league's Executive VP of International in an interview with the NFL's official site. "Mexico City has the size of NFL fan base that would rival any city in the United States. The area is 22 million people. It's a huge and very passionate fan base."
As opposed to London, the piece notes, Mexico City offers the NFL some advantages as an international host. Located in the Central time zone, it eliminates the need for earlier start times. For teams closer to the U.S.-Mexico border, traveling to the city is also a much easier affair than having to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom.
Finally, Waller notes, Mexico's overall fandom for the game of football and recent stadium boom could mean other parts of the country could be considered to host. "I would love to think over time we could play in other cities in Mexico,” he said. I would love to think, 10 years out, in a season we were playing Mexico City, Vancouver, Berlin, three or four in London. That feels very inclusive."