The Raiders-Texans game in Mexico was such a success that the NFL might start holding an annual game in Mexico City.
Just before kickoff of the Raiders’ 27-20 win over the Texans on Monday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sounded confident that the league would be returning to Mexico in the near future.
“It’s been an incredible success so far. I’m optimistic we’ll be back,” the NFL commissioner told ESPN.com. “We’re going to get to work right away on this … This is a priority for us. We see the passion that’s happening here and the fan’s interest in this game continues to explode. We want to feed that. We want to continue that relationship and be back for more.”
Mark Waller, the NFL’s VP of international, said that the league’s goal with Mexico City is to make it the next 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,” Waller told NFL.com recently. “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.”
Although the league hasn’t officially confirmed who would play in the Mexico game next season, Goodell did offer a hint to a fan at the Raiders-Texans game.
Pedro Santiago was wearing a Tom Brady jersey at Azteca Stadium on Monday when Goodell approached him and asked how he’d feel about seeing Brady play in Mexico in 2017. The commissioner then added that it’s “probably” going to happen.
The Patriots playing in the game wouldn’t be a huge surprise. The Patriots are scheduled to play at Oakland in 2017, so all the NFL would have to do is move that game to Mexico, something the Raiders likely wouldn’t fight. Team owner Mark Davis has shown that he’s more than willing to relocate some of the Raiders’ home games due to their tenuous stadium situation in Oakland.
Don’t be surprised if there’s even more international games on the schedule in the future. According to Waller, the league will be aiming to put games in several new international cities over the next decade.